OPINION

Is EOT afraid of hard work?

I am writing to express my dismay at the closure of the main Athens EOT [Greek National Tourism Organization] office at 2 Amerikis St. I write both on behalf of all tourists visiting Athens and as the research coordinator for Lonely Planet’s guide to Greece. The closure of this office is the most humiliating thing to have occurred in the history of the Greek tourist industry, yet it appears to have been handled with complete indifference by the authorities. I have known that the owners of the premises at 2 Amerikis have intended to reclaim the building for three years, so I assume that those responsible at EOT have known for even longer. Why then have they done nothing to organize an alternative office? Hundreds of tourists are wandering around Athens asking the same question. Unfortunately, the answer is to be found within the general organization of EOT – among staff who are too busy squabbling about the size of their desks to do any real work. I am sick of hearing about the steps being taken to prepare the tourist industry for 2004 and beyond, about multi-ministry brains trusts that are hard at work solving problems. The results speak for themselves: Rubbish multiplied by rubbish equals a lot more rubbish than anyone can handle. It’s time that the collection and dissemination of tourist information was put in the hands of professionals – people who actually deal with tourists and understand what they require. There are plenty of people within EOT with the skills to do this. Sadly, they are left wringing their hands in despair at the antics of their so-called superiors. So come on then Mr Georgakopoulos (deputy minister for tourism), Mr Tsochadzopoulos (minister of development), Mr Patellis (president of EOT) and all the others responsible for this farce. It’s time to stop talking and do something. The people of Greece expect – and deserve – better. The main hall in the Syntagma metro station would be the perfect place to set up a temporary office. Or is that too much like hard work? DAVID WILLETT, Athens.