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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis confers with transport minister, latter on Olympic Airways
  • [02] Tourism minister: new model for growth targeted

  • [01] PM Karamanlis confers with transport minister, latter on Olympic Airways

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Wednesday with Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis, with whom he discussed measures concerning state-run public transports and relevant announcements that the minister will make on Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Hatzidakis said the government wanted qualitative, modern and citizen-friendly public transports, adding that they also discussed the national telecoms strategy due to be unveiled soon, as well as the issue of the debt-ridden national carrier Olympic Airways (OA).

    Regarding OA, the minister said the government's replies have been sent to Brussels regarding the matter of arbitration, with the European Union's response now awaited.

    Hatzidakis said a dialogue was in process at both political and technical level, and the government's intention was for a solution to be found.

    Replying to questions, the minister acknowledged that OA faced a number of problems, but added that an effort was being made to tackle them to the degree possible.

    He said the goal was to salvage the state-run company and carry on with its denationalisation, which he said was indicative of the government's understanding of the issue and of the fact that it was trying to give a solution that would take into consideration the interests of the taxpayers as well as the OA employees, and also the need for providing air links to the country's islands.

    Hatzidakis stressed that safety was a matter of absolute priority both for his ministry and the OA board of directors, in reply to questions conerning problems that arose recently on aircraft leased by OA, adding that it would be a mistake to allow panic to arise over the matter, given that OA has a long track record of high safety levels.

    To another question, the minister said there was no discussion of increases in public transport fares, on changes regarding OSE's (Hellenic Railways Organisation) management.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] Tourism minister: new model for growth targeted

    The creation of a modern, effective and attractive model of development for the country is the target of the tourism development ministry's leadership, Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos said in an interview with ANA-MPA, adding that the ministry's immediate priorities are a new international promotional campaign for Greece, and the adoption of a "new image" for the country abroad, and also noting that forecasts for 2008 were optimistic.

    He said this was an ambitious wager, "as every wager should be, where a vision of national importance depends."

    Asked what the ministry's immediate priorities were, and what its first legislative initiatives would be, Spiliotopoulos said the immediate priorities were based on two levels. The first concerned the country's new promotional campaign for 2008, while the second concerned the adoption of a new image of Greece.

    "And I'm not talking about the unequivocal 'sun and sea' model, which is an outdated cliche any way you look at it. I'm talking about the international identity today of Greece, a country with so many images and contrasts, a land where every visitor can live a true experience. In other words, I'm talking about aesthetics; the new aesthetics that overcome unequivocal models and outdated cliches," he explained.

    To a question on whether there would be emphasis on specific markets in the new promotional campaign abroad, and if so what kinds of advertisement would be selected, Spiliotopoulos said that the ministry was interested in all the markets, but given the effort to reach the largest number of prospective visitors on the budget it had, it would mainly target the so-called 'creative class', which comprises 10 percent of travellers who seek new, real experiences. Consequently, it would be investing not only in traditional forms of advertisement but also in new, creative forms, with the internet at the top of the list.

    There was no doubt, he added, that more people today book their vacations via the internet, and thus the ministry was obliged to promote its product in accordance with the conditions of the times, creatively but also aggressively.

    To another question regarding the information forthcoming from the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) offices abroad, Spiliotopoulos said that the messages were positive and, based on those messages, "I believe we'll do well".

    However, he added, "we're still at the start", and "we have much work ahead of us".

    Besides, he continued, the ministry's strategy was to forge a long-term tourism policy. "Only in this way will be able to impose Greece once again on the map of the top destinations, rendering it a global power" in the sector.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos.

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