06 February, 2007
Tourism is exclusively a developmental industry and comprises a powerful tool for eliminating regional inequalities, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said Monday, addressing the inaugural Forum on Tourism at the Athens Concert Hall.
The forum also serves as the venue where the government's comprehensive po-licy for the expanded tourism sector will be detailed.
In opening the Forum, which is organised by the tourism development ministry, Karamanlis spoke of a model of tourism development revolving around the individual and aiming at generating prosperity.
"It is necessary for Greece to become competitive in the tourism sector as well, so that it can develop even further," the premier stressed.
Outlining the government's accomplishments in the tourism sector, Karamanlis said that Greece, for the first time, was acquiring a goal-oriented advertising campaign and specialised planning that ensured transparency in its tourism policy.
On her part, Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia announced that the government would accelerate work to transform coastal Athens' seafront -- from the Peace and Friendship indoor stadium of Faliro southeast to the upscale resort of Varkiza -- into a single 35-kilometer bike and pede-strian way next to the sea, what planners hope will turn into the congested Greek capital's "grand esplanade" and a magnet for out-of-town tourists.
Moreover, Palli-Petralia said the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) approved of plans for 22 conference centres, two golf courses, a ski resort and eight thalassotherapy spas over the past two years.
Finally, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas called on local hoteliers to treat domestic and foreign tourists in the same manner, warning that discounts extended to foreign tour agencies and out-of-country holiday-makers should apply to Greek tourists.
"The Internet, in fact, now allows Greeks to book reservations via foreign countries, so that they can now enjoy the same prices as, say, a German tourist," Sioufas added.
Source: Athens News Agency