The Greek Parliament a few days ago ratified the creation of a company that states that its sole objective is to promote tourism in Greece, both with foreign and national audiences.
The new company, which has been set up in line with an amendment to a draft bill proposed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, will be called Marketing Greece SA and will be 70% financed by the private sector through the Greek tourism company association (SETE), with the remaining 30% provided by the state. Some 700,000 euros of the new company's social capital of one million euros will be covered by SETE and the remaining 300,000 by the state.
As the chair of SETE, Andreas Andreadis told the newspaper Kathimerini, the first stage in the company's development will see the opening of five public relations offices in the UK, Germany, France, Russia and the United States. These offices will be followed by another five in countries considered of particular significance to Greece's tourism market. A website in 10 different languages will also be created, providing all sorts of information to potential visitors.
The Greek National Tourism Organisation (OTE) will maintain responsibility for the organisation of traditional advertising campaigns (such as those in outdoor spaces) and will continue to oversee Greece's participation in international fairs and exhibitions. Andreadis said that Marketing Greece would eventually draw on a budget of around 6 million euros per year, with 4 million coming from private sector participation to promotional ends.
In the near future, strategists at Marketing Greece say, utmost priority will be given to issues such as the rise in the number of Schengen visas granted by Greek consulates abroad and the downscaling of VAT rates on tourism sector products. As far as Schengen area visas are concerned, Andreadis estimated that Greece loses between 3 and 5 million tourists every year because of the procedure of issuing permits to enter the country, which he says is overly bureaucratic and results in a loss of revenue for Greece's tourism business of 3-5 billion euros every year.
The chair of SETE also said that an increase of 3 million visitors would lead to the immediate creation of around 60,000 jobs in the country. Citing figures in a report produced by an international consultancy company on behalf of the UK, Andreadis underlined that all countries that have reduced the total of VAT on tourism packages have been repaid by a significant rise in revenue.