ECONOMY

HATTA to rally tourist bodies for action

The Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) yesterday said it plans to mobilize the entire tourist industry around the goal of taking measures to counter the government’s inertia in the face of the problems confronting the sector following the events of September 11. HATTA said the decision received the backing of air travel agencies, congress organizers and the Panhellenic Federation of Tourist Enterprises (POET) which met to discuss the situation early this week. The organization said it will set up a committee which will draw up an action plan. It intends to invite other tourist bodies to join up. «We have been driven to this step by our disappointment in the state’s attitude, despite our repeated and substantiated proposals,» HATTA President Yiannis Evangelos said in a statement. The body’s proposals include deferring insurance and tax payments and launching internal staff training programs to be subsidized by the State and Brussels. He argued that the majority of the proposals would not burden the state. Separately, Greece expects more tourists from Spain this year despite the crisis which hit the industry in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the General Secretariat of Tourism forecast yesterday. Reporting on meetings between Deputy Development Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos and Secretary-General Dimitris Georgarakis with Spanish tour operators during the officials’ current visit to the Fitur tourism exhibition in Spain, the body said that Spanish tourist companies plan to expand their activities in the Greek market this year. Iberojet, one of the biggest tour operators in Spain, told Georgakopoulos that it aims to introduce charter flights to Myconos and Santorini as well as adding two more flights to Greece to its weekly schedule. The Greek National Tourist Organization and the South American federation of travel agents also agreed to jointly air an advertising campaign on Greece in Latin American countries.