Armed with a set of proposals centering around joint advertising campaigns to promote Greece as a tourist destination, the Chairman of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) Yiannis Patellis is preparing for a trip to the USA. Mr Patellis explains to Kathimerini how GNTO plans to promote Greece in America and sets out the organization’s entire advertising campaign for the next two seasons. GNTO will contribute a total of 2 million euros to a series of joint advertising campaigns to be undertaken with US tourism operators, says Patellis. Indeed GNTO will cover up to 50 percent of the preparation and execution of various advertising campaigns which will each play a part in the carefully planned promotion of Greece in the US market. A total of 15 US tourist enterprises have already been selected for joint campaigns whose cost will be subsidized by the GNTO at a rate of between 20 and 50 percent. Including the contributions of the US firms, a total of 5 million euros will be available for the campaigns which are due to begin this month and continue until next February. As regards Greece’s broader advertising campaign for 2003 – excluding the public relations program – investment is expected to equal, and possibly exceed, last year’s figure of 19 million euros. A total of 39 percent of the 2003 budget for promoting Greece abroad is destined for Germany and England – two crucial markets for Greek tourism, the GNTO president stressed. Specifically, Germany will get 22 percent and England 17 percent of the budget, with 9 percent destined for Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland), a total of 18 percent for France and Italy, 8 percent for Austria, 7 percent each for Switzerland and Italy, 5 percent each for Belgium and Spain, and 2 percent for Ireland. The competition for handling advertising campaigns is to be announced this month. Proposals can be made for campaigns in specific countries, groups of countries or for the entire portfolio. In any case, advertising activity will be underway in key markets – especially during high-profile events such as international fairs – before the central marketing campaign is launched. Clarifying the key penetration focus of the Greek tourism sector, Patellis stresses the need for maintaining a strong position in European markets while concentrating on establishing new markets in China, Russia and the Spanish-speaking world. Meanwhile, the tourism campaign promoting Attica ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games, will center on Britain, Germany, German-speaking countries, France and – to a lesser extent – Russia. «In this particular case, the State is way ahead of the private sector,» Patellis notes. «We appeal to private firms to join our efforts to give flesh and bones to the campaign to promote Attica.» Highlighting the relative «maturity» of advertising campaigns at conferences and sporting events, Patellis stresses that private sector support is just as important here as elsewhere. Cooperation with official Olympic Games sponsors and with the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee, which share the same aim of promoting Greece, will reap additional benefits, Patellis observes. GNTO’s November program includes an appearance at the European Parliament, hosting the World Tourism Organization’s annual conference, crucial contacts to be made by Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos with his foreign counterparts at the international «Hospitality» fair in Thessaloniki, and finally an international tourism fair in Shanghai where cooperation with Olympics 2008-organizer China will be discussed. Concluding, Patellis stresses that private tourist enterprises must pull their weight as they cannot rely on the government to polish up the image of tourism in Greece, tarnished by cases of profiteering at some tourist destinations this summer.