OPINION

Rescuing Greece’s image

Just when a large number of Americans and Europeans were beginning to make their plans for their summer holidays, news networks across the globe were overwhelmed yesterday with the not-so-flattering images coming from this country. The passengers on an old cruise ship could be seen waiting in their purple life jackets to be evacuated from the vessel, which had run aground. At a time when Greece is trying to become a major tourist attraction for high-income US and EU holidaymakers, the local tourist industry is exposing the weaknesses that damage the country’s image – either with incidents like the tragic accident at the Corcyra Beach Hotel on Corfu or this week’s cruise ship. It should be noted that ships like the one that ran aground off the coast of Poros have been exempted from the 35-year age limit because their use is limited to the Saronic Gulf. The problem is that such embarrassing incidents eradicate any progress made by the costly advertising campaigns of Greece’s Tourism Ministry and take a heavy toll on its leading industry.