OPINION

Redesigning our policy on tourism

Despite the recurring pledges made by different governments to take steps to boost Greece’s economy, the actual prospects for further growth must be seen in the context of Greece’s feeble production structure. In Greece, tourism is the main, if not the only, sector that is currently open to profitable investment. It goes without saying that this extremely promising sector could lift Greece’s wider growth prospects – but only on the condition that it is redesigned according to a carefully drawn up national blueprint. Greece still has a much room for tourism development. First-class conference tourism, tourist packages that combine vacationing with quality cultural events, and guided visits to the country’s rich archaeological attractions are all additional prospects that must be exploited in order to enhance Greece’s image as a summer destination. Greece already attracts millions of foreign visitors but this could be improved further. Idyllic sea resorts are no doubt Greece’s top tourism asset, but there is still a great margin for better quality and stronger growth. Seaside resorts still constitute the dominant attraction for the majority of foreigners who prefer Greece for their holidays. But it also here that the biggest problems lie. The conservative administration must take swift measures to develop the necessary infrastructure – above all, regular sea routes and the enhancement of local transport. There is still plenty of margin for development in the tourism industry, but the sector will never take off without the requisite political will. An intensive, systematic policy in that direction is the only way to lift our troubled economy out of indebtedness. If the government succeeds in making tourism a political priority and a national policy, it will effectively ensure an important source of income for a country plagued by faltering production in crucial sectors and flagging interest from foreign investors.