PM Papandreou introduces action package to boost Greek tourism


Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday announced an action package to boost Greek tourism, while addressing the 18th regular general assembly of the Federation of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron).

Responding in particular to the steadfast demand of tourist agencies for the lifting of cabotage, he announced that a dialogue will be held with all the agencies involved by the end of May, so that the lifting of cabotage for cruises can go ahead immediately.

In parallel, in order to protect working people in shipping and to increase employment in the sector, the government is planning, as he said, the upgrading of training and preparation for seamen of hotel specialties and the promotion of Greek seamen to positions of responsibility in cruise companies through government agencies.

The prime minister also made an announcement concerning company costs at Greek airports and which will lead to the attraction of low cost airline companies and tour operators/charter operators for the development of tourism.

Papandreou announced the exemption from the payment of aircraft landing and stay dues at all Greek state-run airports (with the exception of Athens International Airport) for this year’s summer period and the 50 percent exemption in the winter months.

With the exception of Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens, as he stressed, no aircraft at any airport in the country will be paying landing and taking off dues throughout the summer. The final release of the land service market at the country’s airports was also announced.

Papandreou also referred to targeted measures that decrease the country’s cost for the tourist and provide incentives for visitors to come to Greece. In this framework, he announced drastic decreases in the cost of obtaining a “visa” for tourists coming from new, dynamic and developing markets, such as those of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

In another development, two new programmes totalling 100 million euros will be proclaimed for the renovation of small tourist enterprises with small loans, as well as bigger tourist enterprises with loans of a larger budget.