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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-10-24

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou opens SI meeting on Rhodes
  • [02] Papoulias in Thessaloniki for twin holidays
  • [03] Tourism revenues up greatly in last decade, report

  • [01] Papandreou opens SI meeting on Rhodes

    Greece's main opposition leader George Papandreou, president of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and Socialist International (SI), on Tuesday gave the opening address at a session of the SI Committee on Migrations that began on the Dodecanese island of Rhodes.

    The session is jointly organised by PASOK and Turkey's Republican People's Party (CHP) and will move to Marmaris, Turkey on Wednesday.

    The meeting will focus on the experiences of countries that have undergone a transition from net exporters of immigrants to net receivers of immigrants, the guarding of marine borders and illegal immigration. It will particularly focus on the experiences of Greece and Turkey as interim destinations for migrants.

    In his speech, Papandreou stressed the importance of the SI meeting and noted the fact that Greece and Turkey could discuss difficult issues, which indicated the intentions of the two peoples.

    He said that migration should be dealt with by addressing its root causes, such as inequality, poverty, war and violation of human rights, rather than by creating barriers. "We see every person as equal and we want them to have the same rights," he said, stressing that the voice of reason should be used to counter the "phobic syndromes" of conservativism.

    CHP leader Deniz Baykal also addressed the session, pointing to the important contribution made by immigrants and to Turkey's experiences with immigration, noting that Turkey had always received immigrants, while calling for measures to deal with xenophobia.

    Others addressing the meeting included SI Secretary Luis Ayala, who repeated a call for greater tolerance within the international community, Dodecanese Prefect Yiannis Maheridis and Rhodes Mayor Giorgos Yiannopoulos.

    The committee is headed by Amalia Garcia, governor of Mexico's state of Zacatecas that "exports" the largest number of immigrants to the U.S.

    On the sidelines of the session, there was also a one-on-one meeting between Baykal and Papandreou, during which they discussed the Cyprus issue, Turkey's European accession prospects and bilateral relations between Greece and Turkey.

    After the meeting, Papandreou said that they had exchanged views in a "joint effort to find solutions in many sectors" and that it was positive that such issues could be discussed - something that would have been inconceivable in the recent past. He also stressed that SI wanted to promote such meetings throughout the world, assisting cooperation and understanding between its peoples.

    [02] Papoulias in Thessaloniki for twin holidays

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias met with Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Tuesday, as the latter briefed him on the recent local government elections that concluded on Sunday.

    Earlier, Papoulias met with relatives of Greek servicemen killed during World War II on the Albanian front (1940-1941) who did not have a proper burial with military honors in the aftermath of the fighting.

    Papoulias noted that the Greek side is not to blame for the oversight, adding that previous Albanian governments have raised "obstacles and slowed the process down". He added, however, that current prospects are improved, with the problem expected to be solved in the near future, before noting that the current the Albanian government is well-disposed towards the issue.

    Papoulias will depart for Thessaloniki on Wednesday to attend events marking the 94th anniversary of the city's liberation from Ottoman rule and Greece's entry into WWII.

    Caption: President Papoulias meets with Pavlopoulos, left, on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2006. ANA-MPA photo / K. Mavrona.

    [03] Tourism revenues up greatly in last decade, report

    Tourism-related foreign exchange revenues significantly exceeded the inflation rate over the last decade, growing by 134.4 percent at a period when economic output grew by 44 percent, evidence of the tourism sector's increasing importance for the Greek economy, a report by EFG Eurobank stated on Tuesday.

    The report, signed by the bank's chief financial consultant, Gikas Hardouvelis, said Greece was a "mature tourism destination", but faced increased competition from emerging Mediterranean destinations, particularly in terms of price level.

    Greece's market share, in terms of tourist arrivals, declined in the last two years, from 1.9 pct in 2003 to 1.6 pct in 2005, while its share of tourism revenues remained unchanged at 2.0 percent.

    The report said tourism revenues per arrival grew to 862 euros in 2005 from 739 euros in 2003. The report underlined that the average size of a Greek hotel unit rose to 75 beds in 2005 from 65 in 1990, but remained smaller compared with other competitor countries.

    Tourism revenues per hotel unit and per bed significantly lagged behind other competitors, at 1.22 million euros in 2005 and 16,200 euros, respectively, in 2005. In Croatia, the figures were 6.1 million euros and 30,400 euros over the same period.

    The report also said that seven in 10 Greek households chose June, July or August for their vacations, with Attica (the greater Athens area), Cyclades islands and Halkidiki of northern Greece as the top destinations. Most households' overnight stays were at their private vacation home, or in friends' and relatives' houses.

    Annual tourism-related spending by Greek households totaled 1.54 billion euros, or 1.0 percent of GDP (in current prices). Including spending on travel abroad, the figure totaled 1.3 pct of GDP.

    Caption: A file photo shows the Acropolis in downtown Athens, Greece's pre-eminent archaeological site. ANA-MPA / O. Panagiotou.

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