ECONOMY

In Brief

Hoteliers fear promised new impetus may not materialize Attica hoteliers said yesterday the draft bill for setting up the Tourism Development Ministry lacked the boldness and clarity necessary to enable it to be a leading role in the industry, which the government has intended for it. Athens Hotel Association (EXA) President Yiannis Tsakiris warned the bill perpetuated the overlapping of responsibilities between the ministry and its surrogate agencies, such as the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO). The bill invests the ministry with responsibility for planning, formulating strategies for the upgrading of Greek tourism and the development of alternative and special forms of tourism, and setting a unified tourism policy and product identity. GNTO is assigned the task of promoting and implementing policies. Tsakiris said a letter calling for the designation of one of the Olympic installations as Attica’s major conference and exhibition center and signed by all the tourism industry’s associations has been sent to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos. «It has become more than evident that the supply of beds has exceeded demand and only opening up new forms of tourism, with conference tourism as the prime target, will enable Attica to meet competition and survive,» said Tsakiris. GSEE snubs IMF report, urges firms not to burden pension system The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) yesterday snubbed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, unveiled on Monday, which cast doubt on the ability of the country’s social insurance funds to meet their healthcare and pension obligations to the insured after 2010. GSEE officials described this claim as «dangerous» and said it was refuted by all actuarial studies carried out to date, most prominently by Britain’s Government Actuaries, on which the 2002 reform was based. «The existing framework guarantees the viability of the system for the next 30 years if the government meets its obligations to the funds,» said GSEE, which added that the IMF’s views on labor relations, such as a proposal to reduce compensation for layoffs, were «anti-social.» It further called on enterprises to stop burdening social security funds with voluntary retirement schemes. Klonatex The ailing Klonatex textile group’s Fanco subsidiary said yesterday it is closing its Tricolan clothing factory in Naoussa, Macedonia, citing accumulated losses which make it inviable. The firm said the closure, which will mean 98 layoffs, was decided after every effort had being made in recent years to save the concern, and that it is part of a business restructuring plan which will not affect its productive capacity. Deficit The budget deficit was up 23.1 percent to 9.05 billion euros in the January-July period, year-on-year, the General Accounting Office said yesterday. The budget targets an annual deficit of 6.26 billion. Rhodes casino Construction company Michaniki yesterday announced the sale of its 36.96 percent interest in the Rhodes Casino company to Aineias SA.