New tourism policy expected to deliver results this year

Greece has to pursue deep institutional and qualitative changes in its tourism industry so as to become one of the world’s most popular destinations, Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said yesterday. «We have already taken the first steps, with a view to creating a hospitable and friendly environment for large investments,» he told a two-day meeting of the International Federation of Tour Operators (IFTO) in Athens. He said the meeting had been «very substantial» and afforded him the opportunity to set out the new way of thinking and strategy for Greek tourism for the next 10 years. IFTO President Martin Brackenbury said joint initiatives are being planned with the Tourism Development Ministry, with a view to making Greek tourism the most successful sector of the country’s economy. «The first steps for closer cooperation between the biggest tour operators and the ministry have already been made,» he said. On the whole, IFTO officials appeared upbeat about Greek tourism this year, expecting a rebound after the downturn of the last four years, and a further improvement in 2006 and 2007. They said they based their optimism on the wide publicity the country gained by staging the Olympics and its current energetic promotional campaign abroad.

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