Targeting quality in tourism

The environment and quality are the two key elements that define the government’s direction in tourism policy, said Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos yesterday, while also voicing his support for the creation of a separate environment ministry. Addressing the general meeting of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) yesterday, Spiliotopoulos referred to the debate on the national land-zoning plan, saying that even if future amendments are required, it will be better than having no plan at all. «The dilemma ‘yes or no to the zoning plan’ is a false one, a populist approach which is not appropriate to our sector and is incongruous with the future we envisage for our country,» said the minister. Drawing a comparison between tourism and other productive sectors of the economy, he underscored that industry barely amounts to 6 percent of revenues generated, while tourism accounts for 18.5 percent. Following last year’s environmental disaster caused by the forest fires, the ministry has created a Crisis Management Committee, Spiliotopoulos announced. Its members and staff will begin their relevant duties in the next few days. He expressed disappointment at the overlapping of powers and authorities among various ministries and bodies which often raise obstacles to the efficient implementation of decisions on tourism. His view was echoed by SETE’s new president, Nikos Angelopoulos, who said the prime minister should coordinate action by ministries whose competencies involve tourism.