Don’t sink tourism life raft
Tourism is one of the Greek economy’s most vital sectors and the government appears to be examining the problems it faces with a mind to finding solutions. The early results of a few reluctant measures introduced so far, such as lifting cabotage restrictions on cruise liners, are already looking positive. Meanwhile, a new generation of people in the hospitality sector is bringing a more professional tone to the country’s hotels, while also working systematically to promote the Greek brand abroad. These are all positive signs, but the government needs to tread very carefully because it could all go belly up if we see similar phenomena this year as we did in 2010, such as blockades at airports and ports and protest action staged outside hotels. If Greece does not see a significant rise in tourist numbers and revenues this summer, it will sink even deeper into this extremely difficult recession. It is therefore vital that the sector is protected and that the government, opposition parties and labor unions agree on the principle that over the next few crucial months, tourism will not be harmed in any way.