International forums to attract investors in Greek tourism sector

The Ministry of Tourism Development and the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) have entered into an agreement with the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times to organize a series of international forums promoting investments in the tourism sector, Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos told a conference on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) last Friday. Until last week, nine such meetings have been scheduled to take place in London (November 15), New Delhi (December 5), Dubai (December 7), New York (February 25, 2006), Berlin (March 9), Paris (March 16), Moscow (March 23), Beijing (April 21) and Cairo (September 5). During these meetings, Greek and foreign experts will present to potential investors new opportunities created by the latest Law on Investment Incentives. They will also elaborate on why they think Greece is an attractive investment option. On the purely economic front, Avramopoulos said, Greece has a fast-growing economy with incentives provided for investment such a slow taxes and simplified bureaucratic procedures. Politically, the country’s greatest advantage is its security, a fact proven by last year’s Athens Olympics. Geographically, Greece’s climate and the proximity of its beaches and mountains provide for a variety of leisure activities. Not to speak of the country’s numerous historical monuments. Avramopoulos added that the government’s goal is to make the country’s tourism industry generate about 25 percent of Greece’s GDP within a decade, up from 17 percent now. Advertising campaign For the second straight year, Greece’s advertising campaign has been cranked up early. In 2004, it started in November; this year, it began in mid-October, with Great Britain and France being the first markets targeted. This year, Greece hopes to attract tourists that would normally prefer Turkey but who would hesitate because of the outbreak of bird flu there. The Tourism Development Ministry’s goal is to achieve, for the second straight year, a double-digit growth in the number of arrivals. This season, 49 new tourist offices will open in markets such as India, Argentina and Dubai. The ministry will also redesign all prospectuses and tourist offices. The government also plans to take advantage of events taking place in Greece, such as next year’s Eurovision song contest and the Champions League final, to promote tourism. It will also initiate bilateral cooperation with countries such as Libya, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, the Czech Republic and several Balkan states, or expand cooperation with countries such as Italy, with which it will coordinate strategy in long-distance markets, such as China, Japan and Latin America.