NEWS

PM to focus on tourism

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met with his Inner Cabinet yesterday to finalize details of the keynote speech he will give at the opening of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Saturday, which will lay out his government’s vision for the Greek economy. Despite the positive mood that has carried over from the Olympics, the government must perform a tricky balancing act to ensure that public debt does not grow, while the pace of development increases. This was evident in comments made by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas after yesterday’s meeting. «As things stand with the economy, tough measures are not necessary but (government) contributions cannot be allowed either,» said Sioufas. The prime minister is likely to emphasize that the successful hosting of the Olympic Games should not be seen as the end of a marvelous effort but the beginning of a new era for Greece, especially after having improved its worldwide image over recent weeks. Apart from underlining the need for tighter controls on public finances, expanding economic activity outside Athens and attracting new investors, Karamanlis is also likely to lay out his plans for tourism. He is expected to announce that his government’s policy will be to encourage the upgrading of tourist facilities throughout Greece. One of New Democracy’s pledges during the election campaign this year had been to transform Greece into a year-round tourist destination by making use of the country’s natural and cultural attractions.