ECONOMY

Athens Olympics could bring Greek economy extra income of 10.3 bln euros

The potential benefits to the Greek economy from the Athens 2004 Olympics in terms of extra income could exceed 3.5 trillion drachmas (10.3 billion euros), according to a study by the Center for Economic Planning and Research (KEPE). Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Christos Pachtas, who presented the state agency’s report yesterday, said the Olympics provided a golden opportunity for the country. KEPE warns, however, that the benefits cannot be considered as a given and that their extent will depend on the success of the Games’ organization and the policies that will be applied to take advantage of higher tourist inflows, as well as the expertise acquired in various economic activities by the personnel involved, directly or indirectly, with the Games. If all goes well, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow an extra 0.45 to 0.55 percent in the three years preceding the Games. During 2004, the GDP will grow by an extra 0.93 to 1.34 percent. The effect will not end there: an additional 0.3 to 0.5 percent growth per annum until 2010 is forecast. The Athens Olympics are expected to create an extra 170,000 jobs, not counting those directly involved in preparations. Of these, 38,000 to 50,000 will be created in the three years from 2002 to 2004, while an extra 20,000 will be created annually until 2010. Among the sectors most affected by the Games are transport, telecommunications and tourism. Regarding the latter, it is expected that the number of tourist arrivals will reach 20 million by 2010, from about 12 million currently. It is encouraged by recent statements by Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis, who said that the same regulations must apply in Greece as in other EU-members, where no such limits apply. EEA is also calling for greater freedom for operators to determine the composition of crews and for longer rest periods in the off-season.