ECONOMY

Tourism talks get under way

Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos is scheduled to discuss problems needing urgent attention and a long-term strategy for the sector with industry representatives today. Tourism entrepreneurs are particularly concerned about negative projections for the industry this year, even for popular destinations, and despite the Olympics. According to sources, the ministry is studying a priority promotion plan in the main country markets from which Greece draws most of its visitors. It is also preparing a domestic tourism campaign under the slogan «Greeks, get to know your country.» In today’s meeting, Avramopoulos is expected to set 10-year qualitative and quantitative targets for the industry. These include raising tourism’s share in the Greek gross domestic product over four years from 18-19 percent today to 25 percent. The pursuit of this target would involve collaboration with the various agencies and political parties with a view to reaching a consensus. The reconstituted Tourism Ministry’s organizational plan is projected to include two secretariats for specific sectors of the industry. Avramopoulos and his deputy, Anastassios Liaskos, are said to be determined to fight bureaucracy in the sector, which has led several large investment projects to serious delays and even cancellations. Speaking at a hoteliers’ conference in Thessaloniki, Liaskos said the ministry’s structure will include a department for simplifying procedures and ridding tourism businessmen of unnecessary red tape.