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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Tourism minister's meetings in Washington
  • [02] Internet use on rise in Greece

  • [01] Tourism minister's meetings in Washington

    Washington (ANA-MPA/M. Tsivgeli) -- US president George Bush and the American government want the process of Greece's inclusion in the US Visa Waiver Programme, if possible, to proceed as speedily as possible, US under secretary of state for political affairs Nicholas Burns assured Greece's tourism development minister Fani Palli-Petralia, during a meeting on Wednesday, on the third day of Petralias' visit to Washington.

    Burns, a former US ambassador to Greece, made the announcement to the press after his meeting with Petralia at the State Department.

    "Greece is one of our best friends in the world. It's a long relationship that goes quite back in time, to the Greek revolution which we support. We found much on the Greek government's efforts to be by our side and support us. We support them too, on our party, in economic growth," Burns said.

    The two officials discussed promoting American tourism to Greece, and Burhs assured Petralia that the US government was doing everything it can to welcome Greeks to the US.

    "We are working on specific ideas to promote investments and tourism between the two countries and to bring them closer together," Burns said, and thanked Petralia for her initiatives.

    Burns hosted a working lucn for Petralia at the State Department, which was attended, inter alia, by Greek ambassador to the US Alexandros Mallias, the director of Petralia's diplomatic office A. Christopoulos, and newly-elected House of Representatives member for the state of Maryland, Congressman John Sarbanes.

    Petralias outlined Greece's tourism policy to Burns, as well as the post-Olympics utilisation of the Olympic properties, the prospect of a tourism cooperation protocol between Greece and the US, Greece's new developmental law and the prospects for tourism investments in Greece.

    "I asked Mr. Burns that we proceed with the signing of an inter-state agreement in the tourism sector between the US and Greece, and naturally discussed the visa issue, which is so important to the Greeks who wish to visit the US," Petralia told reporters.

    Petralia noted that there had been a very large increase in American tourist arrivals in Greece in 2006.

    "Following the meetings we (the Greek delegation) had here in Washington, we predict that 2007 will be an excellent year for American tourist arrivals in our country. We look forward to Mr. Burns' support, too," she said.

    Earlier, the tourism development minister meet with the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and executive vice president of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), William Maloney, who expressed optimism of an increase in American tourists to Greece in 2007.

    They agreed on commencing cooperation on matters of training tourist agents on Greek tourism products, the new forms of tourism available in Greece, and the projection of Greece in the US so that American tourism officials and travelers could get to know the country better as a tourism destination, and all that it has to offer to the tourist.

    After the meeting, Petralia said that she had asked Maloney for more systematic cooperation, "and for us to proceed to an agreement so as to make it known to all the American travel agents that Greece has many possibilities for new forms of tourism".

    Greece was awaiting ASTA's formal proposals she said, adding that "very soon this cooperation will be much closer, since we are beginning our advertising campaign in the US, which this year will be a focused one", explaining that "this is the reason for my trip to the US".

    On Wednesday afternoon, Petralia was the keynote speaker at an event organised by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation in Washington entitled "Tourism as a Bridge of Culture", during which she noted that the tourism industry was a dynamic part of the Greek economy.

    She said that the public and private investments completed in the framework of organising the Athens 2004 Olympic Games had radically altered the country's image.

    Greece, Petralia continued, was a European destination that combined may advantages, it was among the 10 best tourist destinations for European tourists, and the goal was to become the number one destination in the next frew years.

    Caption: Greece's tourism development minister Fani Palli-Petralia (L) meets with US first lady Laura Bush during her ongoing visit to Washington. (ANA-MPA/P. Stolis).

    [02] Internet use on rise in Greece

    Greeks may not be as familiar with surfing the Internet as most of the Europeans, but the numbers using the worldwide web are constantly increasing, according to the results of a survey conducted by AGB under the auspices of the Information Society Observatory released on Thursday.

    More specifically, 25 percent of the Greek population surfs the web for information, while 61 percent use it as a work tool, 64.1 percent for e-mail and chatrooms, and a smaller proportin for on-line purchases, travel and entertainment.

    According to the survey results, use of the Internet by women is relatively small (24 percent of the total Greek users) compared with men (76 percent).

    Use of the Internet by persons above 50 years of age is also relatively small (8 percent), compared with users in the 25-34 age bracket (41.3 percentO and 35-44 age group (26.8 percent).

    An overwhelming 90 percent of the net users go online on a daily basis, mainly from home (59.9 percent) and from the workplace (36.9 percent).

    As for mode of Internet connection, an increase was ascertained in ADSL connections from the home, although Greece remains behind with respect to high speek connections (above 512 kbps) in comparison with other European countries and the US.

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