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“Greece is Changing” campaign

Greece is Changing, is a campaign launched through international media, in four languages, English, French, German and Dutch, aiming to bring to the attention of a wider international audience, through a series of graphs and compact information, the changes initiated in Greece in the last two years.
It is a one-off public service initiative funded by a group of leading Greek business people, whose aim is to ensure that the sacrifices made by every Greek under the toughest austerity package in modern history, are not in vain.

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Local Elections Run-off

Following the second round of local elections yesterday, the ruling PASOK party won the majority of regional governorships (8 to 5).
In municipal elections and -despite a high abstention rate- there was a change of leadership in the three major cities.
In Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, the former Ombudsman, won the mayorship, with the support of Pasok, after defeating the incumbent New Democracy (ND) mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis.
In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, the independent Yiannis Boutaris, supported by Pasok, defeated ND-backed candidate Costas Gioulekas, while in Pireus, Vassilis Michaloliakos, supported by ND defeated Pasok candidate Yiannis Michas.
Commenting on the results, Prime Minister George Papandreou said that the citizens “rejected the sirens of destabilisation and gave the government a clear three years of work to enable it to continue the effort for the country’s salvation and recovery.”
The premier also called on all political parties to “assume responsibility” and work together with the aim of saving the country. Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras said that “the second round confirmed the political conclusions of the first Sunday” and gave the opportunity to his party to emerge “renewed, strong and responsible.”
For more information: Ministry of Interior, Decentralization and E-Government: Regional & Municipal Elections 2010 Results (in Greek); Kathimerini Daily: Pasok gets regional upper hand; YouTube: PM’s nationwide televised press statement (in Greek)
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

The destiny of Greek Tourism

» Expected Recovery

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) According to a survey conducted by the Academy of Tourism Research and Studies, Greek tourism will recover this year, with tourist arrivals expected to rise by 8.6%, compared to 2009.
The report by ATEM predicts that foreign tourists visiting Greece will reach 15.5 million in 2010, on condition that there is an upturn in world’s economy.

Greek National Tourism Organisation: www.gnto.gr

» Alternative Tourism

Exploring caves, rafting and trekking is just a small part of the activities offered to tourists who do not like crowded vacation destinations and choose alternative tourism.
More examples include medical tourism – which started in Ancient Greece – as well conference and wedding tourism (accommodations, transport, beauty treatments, flower arrangements, and much more).
A conference titled “New Trends in Tourism: benefits & prospects for women,” organised by the Thessaloniki Organisation for Women’s Employment & Resources (TOWER), aims at presenting and discussing various new trends in tourism. Topics to be explored include eco / agro-tourism, health & wellness tourism, and raising awareness about career opportunities available for women in tourism.
See also Greek News Agenda: Alternative Tourism

Greece in ECOFIN: Adding Numbers Up

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Minister of Finance George Papaconstantinou participated at the European Council Economic and Financial Affairs meeting in Luxemburg (October 19-20).  The minister acknowledged that the budget deficit for 2009 will creep up to 12.5% of GDP, a figure which has been also confirmed by the Bank of Greece.  One third of this significant increase can be attributed to the economic crisis – GDP contracted by 1.5%, investment dropped by 20%, tourism by 15% and shipping revenue by 20%.  The rest can be equally attributed to expenditure excesses, as well as the revision of the way by which the deficit is measured.  Papaconstantinou is ready to negotiate a three-year extension for deficit curbing with the possibility of a further one-year extension.  “The first step is to decrease the deficit to a single digit figure” for 2010, said the minister. The government has pledged to present the Commission with a revised three-year Stability and Growth Programme (2008-2011).Thirteen out of sixteen countries of the eurozone will be put under EU deficit supervision. The European Commission estimates that public finances for all eurozone members will begin to recover by 2011 at the latest.  European Commission: Driving the European Recovery