ECONOMY

In Brief

Christodoulakis upbeat on World Tourism Day World Tourism Day today finds Greek tourism in a phase of growth which will allow it to successfully face the repercussions of the crisis resulting from recent events in the US, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said in a press release yesterday. Factors justifying optimism for Greek tourism include the drive to implement a quality strategy, conditions of security, a rising standard of living and political stability, and the ongoing modernization of transport infrastructure and improvements in hotel capacity and services. We are at a good level and must strive to become better, he said. The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises said in a related message that the industry is an invaluable segment of the Greek economy and requires a national strategy, particularly through the collaboration of the public and private sectors. Meanwhile, the Greek tourism industry today is awaiting the decision of the 131 members of the World Tourism Organization in Osaka, which will be voting on the venue of its next conference in 2003. Greece has submitted a candidacy for Rhodes, while the other two candidates are China and Panama. New problems for privatized Softex The Development Ministry has decided to unilaterally terminate the agreement for the privatization of Athens Paper Mill (Softex), once Greece’s biggest, sources said yesterday after a meeting of deputy minister Alexandros Kalafatis with workers’ representatives. The Business Restructuring Organization, which oversaw the privatization of problematic firms, has filed for an injunction against the company – due for adjudication on October 1 – after Softex decided to suspend the jobs of 380 workers at the Drama plant. The company was privatized three years ago. NBG upgraded. Schroder Salomon Smith Barney said it was upgrading National Bank of Greece to outperform from neutral, and lowering its price target for the shares to 27.3 euros from 32.3 previously. Analyst Albert Coll said in a research note Greek banks had suffered the biggest selloff among their European peers since the attacks on the USA. (Reuters) SchlumbergerSema. Multinational information technology firm SchlumbergerSema, the main IT sponsor for the Olympic Games of 2004, is projected to announce the setting up of a Greek subsidiary in coming weeks. The company, the product of Schlumberger’s acquisition of Sema, specializes in system integration and has undertaken to implement projects worth $210 million for the Games, in the frame of a long-term contract with the International Olympic Committee. Schlumberger in the past has participated in tenders for OTE telecards in partnership with the Intracom group, while Sema has collaborated with Intrasoft and Planet business consultants. Energy conference. The Hellenic American Union and Britain’s Euromoney Training Group are holding a four-day international meeting on energy at the former’s conference center in Athens, starting October 1. DRY CARGO