Minister of Tourism Development Fani Palli-Petralia spoke at the 1st International Tourism Forum. New ad for Greek tourism presented
Athens.- Newly-appointed Minister of Tourism Development Fani Palli-Petralia said she is determined to succeed in her new post, speaking at the 1st International Tourism Forum held in Athens on Saturday, organised by the ministry and the Greek Tourism Organisation (EOT) in cooperation with the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Petralia, formerly alternate culture minister, said she would eliminate the bureaucracy and obstacles that stand in the way of the sector’s further development.
Referring to the ministry’s priorities, Petralia said she is in favour of upgrading Tourism Schools to higher-education institutions and also agrees with addressing the issue of town planning.
A new ad promoting Greece as a tourist destination in the international media for the 2006-2007 period was presented during a special event held in Athens on Saturday.
The concept, according to the ad’s creators, is that Greece is a movie in which visitors are invited to star in.
Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia expressed confidence that the new ad will be successful, noting that Greece must capitalise on its ‘brand name’ which it developed thanks to the 2004 Olympic Games.
On his part, former tourism minister Dimitris Avramopoulos noted that the new advertising campaign provides a sense of optimism at a time of international uncertainty.
The fact that the Greek tourism sector has great potential if certain obstacles are overcome was highlighted during the 1st International Tourism Forum. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which co-organised the forum in cooperation with the Greek tourism ministry and the Greek Tourism Organisation (EOT), Greece has only realised 15% of its potential in the tourism sector.
For 2006, WTTC estimates that the sector will employ 700,000 people while this number is likely to increase 1.5% annually over the next decade.
In 2005, tourism revenues stood at €28.6 billion and are expected to increase 5.4% yearly over the next 10 years, according to WTTC.
As for investments in the sector, the WTTC has forecast an annual growth rate of 5.4% until 2016. In 2005, investments in the sector amounted to €5.7 billion.
Newly-appointed Minister of Tourism Development Fani Palli-Petralia pledged to fight bureaucracy which has been a chronic obstacle in the sector’s further development.
On his part, Deputy Economy Minister Petros Doukas referred to the ministry’s efforts to clean up the country’s macroeconomics.
As for Olympic Airlines, he said that the goal is not to create a cheap airline that will compete with low-cost carrier EasyJet, but one that will be attractive to European travelers.
EasyJet founder and President Stelios Haji-Ioannou, also speaking at the event, criticised Athens International Airport’s pricing policy, saying that it is one of Europe’s most expensive.
According to Haji-Ioannou, major airlines avoid landing at Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos airport. He asked the Greek government to break the airport’s monopoly and to open up the military air bases of Elefsina and Tanagra to civil aviation.
Finally, the points highlighted during the forum as being key in strengthening the sector were boosting competitiveness on a regional level, cooperation between the public and private sectors, as well as the transfer of know-how from countries that have achieved remarkable results in tourism, such as Spain.