ECONOMY

In Brief

GNTO reassures UK holidaymakers against impact of bankruptcies The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) said yesterday clients of UK-based tour operators Golden Sun Holidays and Airglobe Holiday Ltd, which have declared bankruptcy, can stay in their accommodation and continue their holidays regardless. Holidaymakers are advised «to accept the reassurance, expected today, from the guarantor of the tour operator as regards his coverage of the expenses of tourists already in the country until the completion of their planned holidays and their return home, at his expense.» «The above obligations arise from EC Directive 314/90, which has been incorporated into all national European legislations,» said GNTO. The two tour operators are estimated to have sold about 200,000 packages to Greece and Cyprus and their debts to Greek accommodation providers – mainly in Crete – are put at as much as 9 million euros. Yesterday, the Confederation of Rented Room Owners appealed to the government for exemption by its members affected by the bankruptcies from paying the VAT related to the bookings and for credit facilities to help them cover costs. Unemployment estimated sharply up in Q1, largely due to revised methods The National Statistics Service (NSS) is projected to announce an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent for the first quarter of the year, against 10 percent a year earlier, and despite booming construction business during the period in question. The NSS has completed processing about 90 percent of the sample and final results will be announced on October 6 or 7, its general secretary, Manolis Kontopyrakis, said. Asked to explain the sharp jump, he noted that the methodology and sample collection are improved and based on the 2001 census. The new data was discussed at yesterday’s meeting of the National Action Plan for Employment 2003-2006, chaired by Labor Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos. The plan will be sent to Brussels tomorrow. Bulgarian power exports Bulgaria’s electricity exports will grow by around 8 percent to 6.1 billion kilowatt hours this year, from 5.45 billion kilowatt hours in 2003, the financial daily Dnevnik reported yesterday. The rise will bring the EU candidate state, the leading energy exporter in the Balkans, back to its normal level of electricity sales abroad after the closing of nuclear reactors and a cancellation of Turkish contracts cut exports in 2003. The director of state power export monopoly NETC, Vassil Anastasov, was cited by Dnevnik as saying Greece was taking most of the Bulgarian power, at a rate of around 500 megawatts a day. Romania came next, with some 100MW, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was taking between 50 and 100MW a day, Dnevnik said. Separately, it was announced yesterday that Austrian power firm EVN signed a deal yesterday to buy 67 percent of Bulgaria’s Plovdiv and Stara Zagora electricity distributors for 271 million euros. EVN won a tender in July to buy the power utilities, which Bulgaria is selling alongside five other distributors. The government has said it wants to complete the sales by the end of the month. (Reuters) HELPE tender Greek refinery Hellenic Petroleum has issued a tender to buy a 30,000-ton cargo of low sulfur straight-run fuel oil for November delivery, Mediterranean oil traders said yesterday. The tender comes amid a spate of planned refinery maintenance. (Reuters)