Steps promised to help vital tourism sector

Tourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos addressed a conference in Athens yesterday at which he promised that the government will take measures to help protect the sector from the global financial crisis. Representatives from the tourism industry, one of the country’s largest sectors, met with Spiliotopoulos and National Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis earlier this week where they put forth proposals to help offset worsening international economic conditions. Among the proposals put forth is earmarking 1.5 billion euros of the government’s bank rescue plan for loans to tourism enterprises. The sector accounts for some 20 percent of the country’s economy and employs, directly or indirectly, some 850,000 people.