OPINION

Tourism officials wake from big sleep

…It is quite remarkable that just two weeks before the launch of the Olympic Games, it has been officially confirmed that tourism in Greece is suffering a serious slump and needs urgent attention. And it is quite impressive how swiftly the «competent» officials observed this unfavorable state of affairs in the Greek tourism sector. On the eve of the Olympics, attention is being drawn to an unrestrained form of profiteering which has already done very little to promote Greece abroad. Meanwhile, a range of tourism enterprises have suddenly started complaining in harmony, and the government has hastily announced its intention to organize a dynamic advertising campaign to remedy things (starting next year, of course). But this delay is outrageous when we consider that we have known for four years that Greek tourism is undergoing a crisis. And even the slowest «competent» official should have realized that, with the Olympics in the horizon, failing to tackle the problem would mean the situation would become critical by the summer of 2004. Now, after «the big sleep,» officials are saying they are ready to implement measures to boost the sector. Did we really have to wait until summer 2004 for the big brains of tourism to start suspecting that it was time for Greece to look beyond mass tourism for its income…?