ECONOMY

SETE welcomes government focus on boosting tourism

The Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) yesterday gave thumbs up to recent measures proposed by the government to boost the tourism industry, one of two sectors bearing the brunt of the fallout from the September 11 events. The State has finally realized the problems afflicting the tourism industry and appears to have taken steps to resolve some of the issues, SETE said in a statement yesterday. It applauded the government’s decision to link quality with the cost of services provided and the move to mobilize all participants in the industry under its leadership in order to deal with the current crisis. The association also welcomed the State’s adoption of a three-year strategy but urged that it be tied to both quality and quantity. Together with the aviation industry, the tourism sector has seen bookings fall dramatically as travelers cut back on their travels in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Despite its substantial contribution to gross domestic output and employment, however, the industry has long suffered from government neglect and inefficiency. Since last year, the situation appears to be improving as the government announced measures to maximize the country’s tourism assets, notably by inviting the private sector to help upgrade state-owned marinas, casinos and beaches. In the meantime, plans to launch a pan-European advertising campaign as part of a strategy to lift the tourism industry out of its current doldrums received a substantial boost from the National Economy and Finance Ministry yesterday, which announced an allocation of 11 billion drachmas for promotion schemes this year. The funds, from the public investment program, marked a sharp increase from the 6 billion drachmas expended in 2000. Group assets in the nine-month period rose by 16.2 percent since the beginning of the year to 4.33 trillion drachmas (12.7 billion euros), while deposits increased by 16.6 percent.