OPINION

Ruined reputation?

One cannot deny that the state of the Greek tourism sector is problematic. Neither can one realistically attribute the drop in the number of visitors to fears of terrorism, as there has been a surge in neighboring Turkey where the risk of a possible attack is undoubtedly larger. The State certainly carries a significant part of the blame for the languishing course of Greek tourism over the past few years, certainly as regards organization and inspection. And indeed, the most significant achievement in the sector in the last few decades can be seen in the example of the Xenia chain of hotels with which Constantine Karamanlis established Greek tourism about 50 years ago. The first decades were full of hope as well as very lucrative. Since then, any development was left to the volition of the private sector. Tourists got to know the Greek sun, sea and fantastic beaches and fell in love with it all. But it seems that as demand increased, the hospitality that had characterized the sector was compromised for easy profit. Many resorted to outright exploitation… And although this might not be the overriding attitude in the tourism sector, the blow to our reputation has been dealt by those few opportunists who are usually based in the most heavily frequented areas, thus ensuring that many visitors – with high demands and incomes – end up disappointed…