ECONOMY

Plan to counter impact of crisis on tourism

Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis yesterday announced the formation of an emergency management team that will evaluate the situation facing Greek tourism and recommend remedies for the potential repercussions of recent events in the USA and the impending military operations on individual branches of the tourist industry. During a meeting with the associations of Greek Tour Operators (SETE) and Hoteliers, Christodoulakis unveiled a general plan for tourism policy designed to boost both supply and demand, under the slogan, Let’s Make Greece Fashionable. On the demand side, he said Greece should aim to form a common front with foreign tour operators which will benefit both. This would entail alliances in the form of long-term agreements, tour operators’ investment in large holiday complexes and real estate, joint advertising, and the development of off-season packages and special categories of tourism. On the supply side, the ministry plans to focus on the country’s relative security, to counter concerns arising from recent developments and turn the crisis to the country’s advantage. He said Greek hoteliers had so far reported no cancellations for 2002. Tourism entrepreneurs called for special support for the Athens hotel industry and measures to boost conference tourism and the cruise industry. SETE Vice-President T. Vassilakis urged strong promotion of the Flight Safety Foundation conference which is slated for Athens in November. Andreas Potamianos, president of Coastal Shipowners’ Association, stated last week that cancellations in the cruise industry, which is favored by Americans, had reached 30 percent and, more worryingly, there was a total lack of new bookings.