OPINION

A push for tourism

Without a doubt, the Olympic Games in Athens next year represents a significant opportunity for our country to give a generous boost to its tourism sector for the years ahead. Indeed, it is a unique opportunity, but we must make sure we exploit it in a measured and careful way without giving in to fleeting moments of enthusiasm which throw us off course. With this in mind, Wednesday’s biministerial committee on the development of Greece’s tourism sector was very useful, even though a whole series of such meetings should have kicked off in 1997 when we secured the organization of the 2004 Olympics; and the measures and decisions adopted during these recent meetings should have been implemented long before now. But I fear that too much time has been lost and that, once again, we will be obliged to cobble together scrappy «solutions» and makeshift measures to adequately handle next year’s major event, devoting less effort to boosting our infrastructure so we can better deal with the anticipated influx of tourists, and so we can boost our tourism sector for the long term. And although we brag that tourism constitutes the basis of our «national industry» – and indeed, that should be the case – things are very different in reality. This was obvious in the analysis of the various endemic problems in the tourism sector which, although theoretically tackled years ago, are still very much in evidence.