Greece steps-up MICE efforts

The Greece minister of tourism has called for an improvement in standards at the country’s international tourism offices if it is to continue to capitalise on the success of the 2004 Olympics. Outlining Greece’s tourism strategy at World Travel Market, Fanny Palli-Petralia said the aim was to make Greece a “centre of excellence” for international conferences. Responding to the question of recent changes at the Greek National Tourism Organisation, Palli-Petralia said that Greece’s tourism offices would be upgraded and staffed by managers who were equipped to deal with global enquiries. “Our insistence in upgrading the quality and competitiveness of Greek tourism is not a theoretical concept and does not end after a number of policy announcements. It is a continuous and strenuous effort,” she said. As well as bolstering of its NTOs, Palli-Petralia said plans had been approved for 26 new conference centres in Greece as well as 19 spas and three golf courses. Other initiatives include encouraging more public-private partnerships, a new hotel category ranking system and a £613m government grant, much of which will be assigned to hotels and new refurbishments. News also emerged at WTM that the Athens Convention Bureau would be re-launched by January next year. Yannis Evangelou, Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (Hatta) president told C&IT it would open as a separate division within the Athens Tourism & Economic Development Agency.

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