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"The Global Economic Crisis and its Impact on Greek Tourism" conference

Greek tourism sector facing difficult year, industry officials say

A climate of uncertainty and insecurity is prevailing in the Greek tourism sector as a result of a global economic crisis, industry representatives said during a Tourism & Property in Greece conference entitle "The Global Economic Crisis and its Impact on Greek Tourism", organised by Real Travel.

George Drakopoulos, director general of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), said it was still unclear how many hotels would open for the beginning of the season this year, while Makis Fokas, president of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels said lay-offs were inevitable in the tourism sector, and particularly in hotels this year. Drakopoulos said it was possible that tourist arrivals could fall by 20 pct this year, or two million tourists less than last year and 50,000 unemployed.

Aris Ikkos, chief executive in GBR Consulting, said there were two scenarios for this year, with the optimistic one calling for a 10-pct drop in tourist arrivals and a pessimistic one, projecting a 15-20 pct drop in arrivals. John Kent, chief executive in YouTravel.Com, said tourist arrivals would fall by 5-7 pct, while revenues would drop by 15-17 pct this year.

Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis said the government would announce more measures to supporting the tourism industry.

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