ECONOMY

A real mythology park

Hellenic Tourism Properties (ETA) is due to issue a tender on Tuesday for the creation of a mythology theme park in Anavyssos, on the coast south of Athens. The project, in which ETA will retain an interest, is to be developed on a 160-hectare area and is estimated to cost from 50-80 billion drachmas. Already, three foreign bureaus (Italy, France and Denmark) have submitted draft architectural studies which are to be considered by Fuji Bank- ETA’s financial advisor on the project – for the drafting of the final investment plan to be sent to interested investors. According to the general plan, the salt works in the area will be turned into a lagoon; there will be an environmental education park which will include, among other things, a botanical garden, biological cultivations, an open-air Natural History Museum and a mythology theme park. Moreover, the Anavyssos beach will be developed to include various sports facilities which will be open to the public. The project is planned to be ready in two phases by 2006 and is estimated to attract more than 1 million visitors annually. ETA is also scheduled on Tuesday to issue the tender for a 180-hectare area concession to tourism entrepreneurs in Afantou, Rhodes, in which ETA will also retain an interest. It will include an extension of the existing golf course (in 18 months) and two four- and five-star hotels (in three years). The investment is estimated to cost 35 billion drachmas. Procedures are also underway for the construction of a conference center on the site of the old Athens airport at Hellenikon. The tender will be issued on December 15 and the winner will be known by May 2002. Meanwhile, on Monday bidders are expected to submit offers for the extension and operation of the Zea, Alimos and Floisvos marinas near Piraeus. Also on Monday, the auction bulletins will be forwarded to groups interested in the acquisition of a 51-percent stake in the Mont Parnes Casino, owned by ETA. The thorny issue of social security reforms also came up during the discussion, Polyzogopoulos told reporters after meeting with the minister. He suggested that the state earmark more budgetary funds for social security and that the government increase its contribution in line with GSEE’s planned tripartite funding scheme. The GSEE head also aired a long-time grudge, notably the 1.3 trillion drachmas owed by the state to IKA (the social security foundation). Payment of the arrears would enable IKA to pay its dues to the State Employment Organization (OAED), which would in turn help it stretch out unemployment benefits, he told Christodoulakis.The trade unionist said that proposed tax reforms should seek to reduce the tax burden on workers and pensioners.