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Samaras' Tourism Expansion Plans

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Prime Minister Antonis Samaras believes Greece could experience a major growth in the tourism industry, with 50% more international travelers arriving in the nation.

The premier stated his beliefs at yesterday's yearly Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE) meeting, held at Athens Concert Hall. He also declared governmental plans to invest 500 million euros annually, for the next six years in the tourism sector, with the private sector investing 3 billion euros per year.

Samaras stated, "Such investment rates are necessary for our investment plan and are seen by the tourism sector as being feasible...we will gradually head toward lower tax rates...this will be as slow as required in order to avoid a return to deficits." The Prime Minister is confident that Greek tourism this year, will surpass last year's 20.1 million visitor mark.

The Prime Minister discussed the government's criteria for promoting tourism, that includes raising yearly demands by 10 billion euros within five years, and by 25 billion within ten years. A 50% visitor increase allows for the possibility of adding 18 billion euros to the economy's gross added revenues, and the creation of 220,000 job positions in ten years.  It also included adding a 9 billion euro trade balance, with 3 billion euros in state revenues each year.

Samaras did add that an instrumental element for the tourism industry to flourish, is a completely stable Greece. He touched upon plans to create grand Athens and Thessaloniki conference centers and cruise ship mechanisms. The Prime Minister spoke of the cruise ship industry's, potential revenues in the nation. He declared that Greek marinas will increase to 70 from 32 in the next couple of years, with a total of 100, within the next ten years.