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Government unveils ambitious eco tourism plan

An ambitious eco<.>logical tourism destination project worth some 154 billion drachmas was presented to Greece`s local and regional authority leaders on July 6. The 20-year plan foresees a unique scenic and cultural trail network that runs through four regions, 12 provinces and 113 communities.
Antonis Angelides, a special advisor to Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, opened the day-long presentation. He said Greece has an environment richness that is not even known to Greeks: Our mountain villages, each with its specific beauty, conveys not only a pure Greek culture but also its own unique flavor.
But because both local environment and culture is very sensitive,
he added, we will not rush (the project) but rather proceed slowly with careful, quality changes and along the way educate the local populace on the importance of environment and culture.
So, for the next two decades, the development ministry here will work to develop a scenic-cultural trail that will run from Prespes in northern Greece to Nafpakto in the southern Peloponessos area. The project requires the cooperation of both the private sector and local authorities.
The private sector will be asked to develop traditional-type lodgings and special tourism products, all with the help of government subsidies.
Local authorities will be asked to coordinate much of the plan, as well as programs to instruct their inhabitants on the importance of maintaining their area`s unique environment and culture. After the projects presentation, local authority leaders were asked to submit any proposals for changes by the end of September.
Evgenios Yianakopoulos, secretary general of the Hellenic Tourism Organization, was also on hand for the presentation. He explained that tourism development throughout Greece`s mountain areas offers new opportunities for them and will utilize a tourism product that up until now has not been exploited.
He added that we must take advantage of and exploit all available tourism opportunities as Mediterranean destinations are facing stiff competition from long-haul destinations, and because Europe as a whole was losing its market share as an international destination. According to the World Tourism Organization, he said, Europe`s market share will shrink from its present 58% to 45 to 47% in the near future.

An ambitious eco<.>logical tourism destination project worth some 154 billion drachmas was presented to Greece`s local and regional authority leaders on July 6. The 20-year plan foresees a unique scenic and cultural trail network that runs through four regions, 12 provinces and 113 communities.

Antonis Angelides, a special advisor to Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, opened the day-long presentation. He said Greece has an environment richness that is not even known to Greeks: Our mountain villages, each with its specific beauty, conveys not only a pure Greek culture but also its own unique flavor.

But because both local environment and culture is very sensitive,
he added, we will not rush (the project) but rather proceed slowly with careful, quality changes and along the way educate the local populace on the importance of environment and culture.

So, for the next two decades, the development ministry here will work to develop a scenic-cultural trail that will run from Prespes in northern Greece to Nafpakto in the southern Peloponessos area. The project requires the cooperation of both the private sector and local authorities.

The private sector will be asked to develop traditional-type lodgings and special tourism products, all with the help of government subsidies.

Local authorities will be asked to coordinate much of the plan, as well as programs to instruct their inhabitants on the importance of maintaining their area`s unique environment and culture. After the projects presentation, local authority leaders were asked to submit any proposals for changes by the end of September.

Evgenios Yianakopoulos, secretary general of the Hellenic Tourism Organization, was also on hand for the presentation. He explained that tourism development throughout Greece`s mountain areas offers new opportunities for them and will utilize a tourism product that up until now has not been exploited.

He added that we must take advantage of and exploit all available tourism opportunities as Mediterranean destinations are facing stiff competition from long-haul destinations, and because Europe as a whole was losing its market share as an international destination. According to the World Tourism Organization, he said, Europe`s market share will shrink from its present 58% to 45 to 47% in the near future.

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