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A positive move at last?

Fri, 27th Apr 2012

IF this is true, does it mean that someone is actually listening, and has realised the overwhelming importance of tourism in Greece, and understood how much difference it can make - and that we are no longer in the 1970s when Greece was at its tourism peak? We live in hope.

From a newspaper article.......

ATHENS, APRIL 26 - As part of efforts to restore Greece's disastrous state accounts to health, the country's Parliament a few days ago ratified the creation of a company that states that its sole objective is to promote tourism in Greece, both with foreign and national audiences.

The first stage in the company's development will see the opening of five public relations offices in the UK, Germany, France, Russia and the United States. These offices will be followed by another five in countries considered of particular significance to Greece's tourism market. A website in 10 different languages will also be created, providing all sorts of information to potential visitors.

The Greek National Tourism Organisation (OTE) will maintain responsibility for the organisation of traditional advertising campaigns (such as those in outdoor spaces) and will continue to oversee Greece's participation in international fairs and exhibitions. (possibly not such good news in view of their past, fairly useless track record)

In the near future, strategists at Marketing Greece say, utmost priority will be given to issues such as the rise in the number of Schengen visas granted by Greek consulates abroad and the downscaling of VAT rates on tourism sector products. As far as Schengen area visas are concerned, Andreadis estimated that Greece loses between 3 and 5 million tourists every year because of the procedure of issuing permits to enter the country, which he says is overly bureaucratic and results in a loss of revenue for Greece's tourism business of 3-5 billion euros every year.

The chair of SETE also said that an increase of 3 million visitors would lead to the immediate creation of around 60,000 jobs in the country. Citing figures in a report produced by an international consultancy company on behalf of the UK, Andreadis underlined that all countries that have reduced the total of VAT on tourism packages have been repaid by a significant rise in revenue.

The next step would be to change the illogical and onerous EOT requirements for rental licences to encourage independent tourism and investment, and we might be getting somewhere!