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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-08-11

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Tourism sector performing well, Tourism Minister says
  • [02] Karamanlis briefed by ND sec't; Meimarakis refers to local gov't election change
  • [03] Tatoulis tours museums, archaeological sites on Lesvos

  • [01] Tourism sector performing well, Tourism Minister says

    Minister of Tourism Development Dimitris Avramopoulos said that the Greek tourism sector is in good shape in comments he made after briefing Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the sector's performace during the 2005 summer period on Thursday morning. The positive results, according to Avramopoulos, are due to the comprehensive strategy and planning adopted and executed, while preparations for next year are already under way.

    According to the ministry and based on information gathered from international and independent authorities, tourist arrivals to Greece in 2005 are expected to rise by more than 10% in comparison with 2004.

    Avramopoulos says that this is the result of prompt preparations and a targeted advertising campaign.

    The ministry is planning on launching the advertising campaign for 2006 early in order to continue improving performance.

    However, he did emphasise that more needs to be done by way of radical changes aimed at upgrading the quality of Greek tourism and said that the ministry is cooperating with the private sector in this direction.

    Finally, among the ministry's immediate priorities is draft legislation regarding spa/wellness tourism. The bill will most probably be tabled in Parliament in September.

    [02] Karamanlis briefed by ND sec't; Meimarakis refers to local gov't election change

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday received ruling New Democracy party's secretary, Vangelis Meimarakis, for talks focusing directly on the premier's upcoming address at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) as well as local government issues -- the latter just more than a year before scheduled municipal and prefectural elections.

    Asked by reporters afterwards about the prospect of mayoral candidates being elected in the first round with 42 percent or more of the vote -- a proposal that has emerged on the political landscape over the past few months -- Meimarakis reminded that ND's pre-election positions plainly cited the prospect of a first-round election with less than 50 percent of the vote.

    In backing the idea for such an electoral change, the high-profile ND secretary and deputy said it moves towards a more representational system and precludes "political deals" in the second round.

    Finally, Meimarakis said it was inconceivable that a mayor cannot wield power with a 41 or 42-percent backing by voters when central governments in the country deal with much more complex and serious issues after winning elections with the same percentages.

    In a later reply to Meimarakis' statements, a main opposition PASOK spokesman said every party and local government entity, including the ND-affiliated mayors of the largest municipalities in the country, oppose the electoral change.

    Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis also called on the government to clearly state its position on whether it will pursue such a change ahead of next year's local elections, while reiterating PASOK's opposition to the proposal.

    On its part, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) again expressed its support for the establishment of a simple representational system in local government polls to elect municipal and prefectural councils, with mayors and prefects subsequently elected by a council majority.

    Moreover, KKE ruled out any discussion, by its cadres, over the proposal.

    Finally, a Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party spokesman charged that ruling ND was "tailoring an election suit to fit its needs, and in general, to fulfil the needs of a two-party system..."

    [03] Tatoulis tours museums, archaeological sites on Lesvos

    Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis began a visit of the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos on Wednesday for a tour of several of the islandās archaeological sites and museums.

    Tatoulis was at the head of a delegation of culture ministry officials, deputies elected from the large island and local government officials.

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