There is “no way” Greece is going to abandon the Euro and Greek hoteliers should ignore Tui’s request for them to renegotiate contracts in anticipation of them ditching the currency.
Speaking at World Travel Market on Tuesday, secretary general of the Greece National Tourism Office (GNTO), George Koletsos said: “I think the Greek hoteliers should come together and create a position on this.”
Referring to the move, reported this week, by Tui Nordic to request hoteliers agree to new contracts in case the country exits the Euro, Koletsos added: “It is very negative – I don’t know why this has happened.
“There is no professional in Greece who is going to sign such a contract. They are going to lose a lot of big and longstanding partners with this approach.”
He also reaffirmed Greece’s commitment to the Euro, and pointed to the latest bailout package being worked on by the other EU member countries as a sign of how committed the Eurozone was to keeping Greece as a member.
“There is no way Greece is going to go out of the Euro,” he said, adding: “There is a new Greece, a new culture being born out of the ashes.”
Despite all the upheavals in the country over the last 12 months, as a result of the economic downturn and the government’s programme of austerity measures, Koletsos also referred to 2011 as Greece’s “comeback year”.
“This year was the comeback year for Greek tourism,” he said. “Despite the very adverse incidents that have taken place this last year in Greece, this year we’ve experienced an all times best ever, with 16.5 million inbound tourists.
“If we’d had a normal year I can’t begin to guess what could have been – it would have been much, much bigger.”
Koletsos also pointed out that the GNTO had achieved this growth, supported by a tripling in the number of fam trips the it ran for travel agents, tour operators and press in 2011, on a budget that had been reduced by 45%.
“We’re the number one country in Europe for delivering return on investment right now,” he said.
For UK agents he had the following message. “Greece offers the widest range of tourism experiences in Europe. I invite them to come and to discover the undiscovered Greece.
“We can help them provide their clients with a unique experience. And we are very affordable; we can match any pocket.”
For 2012 the GNTO aims to diversify its tourism offering – and lengthen the tourism season – by having a bigger focus on city breaks, active and adventure breaks, food and culture, and events like the Athens Marathon, he added.
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