Greece sets up crisis team to save tourism from impact of violence

08:08, May 07, 2010      

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Greek National Tourism Organization proceeded urgently on Thursday to the creation of a special crisis management committee to counter the impact of the negative image of Greece broadcast recently around the world.

Greek officials and representatives of the tourism industry which accounts for 16 percent of GDP, according to estimates of the World Tourism Council, fear that the death of three citizens during Wednesday's protest against austerity measures, could scare tourists away.

As the tourism season has just began and Greece bets a lot on revenues from this sector to overcome a severe debt crisis, Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos and Deputy Minister Angela Gerekou held a series of meetings with heads of various organizations and industry officials to decide on a strategy to reduce the damage.

With the support of the Citizen's Protection Ministry the aim is to convince international tour operators for the safety of foreign visitors to Greece, so that no more countries will warn their citizens to avoid traveling to Greece.

After Wednesday's tragedy, Britain, Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia made such official suggestions to their nationals.

According to the latest data from the Greek Institute of Tourism Research and Projections, there has already been a 10 percent drop in bookings from Germany and a seven percent decline from British tourists.

Expressing fears that foreigners could cancel their vacation plans due to the continuing strikes, demonstrations and images of chaos, destruction and deadly violence, Nikos Aggelopoulos, head of the Federation of Greek Tourism Enterprises voiced on Thursday pain for the death of three innocent and called for calm so Greece will avoid the worse.

"Politicians should cooperate to solve unitedly a crisis created by all and business people should show a different image of a Greece which has a vision for progress, social justice and prosperity. Otherwise the effects will be destructive," Aggelopoulos noted.

Source: Xinhua


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