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Hunting for British brides and grooms

12 November 2009 / 16:11:14  GRReporter
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Angela Gerekou, deputy minister of tourism and culture, is attending the international tourism exhibition World Travel Market in London. There she said that it is essential for Greece to pay off all its debts to the advertising firms abroad.

Using the phrase “we are with our backs to the wall,” deputy minister Gerekou noted the tragic condition of the Greek tourism organization’s (GTO) finances and the mistakes done by the previous government. Despite all Mrs. Grekou said that by the end of February Greece will be able to advertise itself on different tourism forums abroad.

The debts of GTO, as the deputy minister herself said, reaches €128 million and measures for paying it back will be undertaken as soon as possible. This debt is due to the bad tourism advertising done in 2009 but all will be fixed with a new campaign. “No money will be spent for advertising, which does not promote Greek tourism services or products.” Quite the opposite, focused actions will be planned and Mrs. Gerekou herself got in touch with almost all big tourist organizations (TUI, Thomas Cook, Thomson). She also noted that there are great opportunities in Greece for alternative tourism as well.

The minister of tourism and culture evaluated the fact that alternative forms of tourism will provide one more advantage to the tourism product of the country and will contribute for attracting more British tourists. Greece attracted bride and groom candidates from England, stressed Mrs. Gerekou, but before hearing the Mendelssohn hymn they have to fight off Greek bureaucracy. This market niche accounts for more than 50 000 Englishmen, who every year get married outside of England.

Regarding her meeting with deputy minister of India, Mrs. Gerekou said that GTO offices abroad need to be reformed. Greece needs to gradually break the chains with the big tourism companies, at a moment when hotels are pressed to lower their prices. Five star hotels have lowered their prices to the ones of four and three star hotels, notes Hellexpo chairman Aristotelis Tomopoulos, who warned about the erosion in Greek tourism.

In her speech in London Mrs. Gerekou asked for the unification of the Parthenon marbles and their return to Greece from the British museum, where a big part of them is displayed. “The New Acropolis Museum gave new perspectives not only to the city of Athens but also to whole Greece. Melina Merkouri’s dream is slowly becoming reality,” stressed the deputy minister during the opening ceremony entitled “New Acropolis Museum and the city of Athens”. “Returning the Parthenon marbles is not a Greek whim but of the whole humanity. We know that the same feeling is among big part of the British people,” said Mrs. Gerekou.

 

Tags: Tourism in Greece Economy Markets Parthenon Marbles British Museum
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