Greece: Attracting Tourism Development

Greece ranked 29th among a total of 139 countries in a survey conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) regarding competitiveness for the tourism sector.
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report is issued annually and grades countries on a total of 60 indicators, including policy regulations, resources, safety, prices and environmental protection. According to the survey, Greece benefits from its rich cultural resources (ranked 25th), excellent health and hygiene (20th), and a top-notch tourism infrastructure (5th). Further on, the report refers to the country’s strong national affinity for tourism (compared with many other European countries), including a generally open and positive attitude toward tourists (26th). The report ranks Greece 21st among European countries.
World Economic Forum: 2011 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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PM George Papandreou in “Foreign Policy” Magazine

Prime Minister George Papandreou in an in-depth interview in the American magazine Foreign Policy (July 19) explained the reasons behind the crisis and the measures taken by his government in order to tackle it.
He stressed that with the support of the European Union, Greece decided against defaulting, which would cause insurmountable problems especially for the banking institutions in Greece and Europe alike.
He recognized that there was a lack of transparency; there was a lot of money that was lost, wasted, through a huge bureaucracy and patronage. Nevertheless, he highlighted that “we’re committed to changing the situation.
My government, for example, has now brought in laws such as total transparency in all signatures in the public sector, putting more and more tax reform resources and contracts online.”
The premier empathised with Greeks’ sentiments of unhappiness and pain, but “the wide majority of the people realize that we needed to make changes that were long overdue in our country, such as making governance much more responsible, and running the country much more transparent.”
Finally, he debunked recent media stereotypes of Greeks being lazy and concluded saying that: “we’ve seen in this crisis is that we need more Europe, not less…[ ]
…We need to find global governance and we need to find it based on some common values on which we can agree – democratic values.”
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Greece: Solar Energy Systems Capacity Doubles

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The installed capacity of solar energy systems in Greece more than doubled within seven months by July 2009, according to the Renewable Energy Sources Centre,  largely because of legislative initiatives of recent years aimed at boosting the market’s development. The cost of solar panels has fallen over 35% within a year.  By harnessing solar and wind energy, Greece could meet the national target of getting 20% of its energy via renewable energy sources.   Kathimerini daily: Solar MW capacity doubled; Ministry of Development: Energy and Natural Resources; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece – Energy Policy of Greece & World Media on Greece – Science and the Environment:Renewable Energy Sources in Greece Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies: The Greek PV Market: New PV law passed in January 2009

Climate Change Conference in Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The impact of climate change as a challenge for the future generations with particular emphasis on the sensitive and vulnerable population groups of the Mediterranean countries, especially sick children, is the topic of the two-day international conference on “Climate Change and Challenges for the Future Generations.” The event opened Tuesday 2 june at the Athens Concert Hall and was organised under the patronage of UNESCO and in collaboration with the World Sustainable Development Forum. Speaking at the opening session, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis called for international effort, political intervention and coordinated action forward in order to save the planet’s environment. Karamanlis warned that if we do not act immediately, environmental degradation could become irreversible. Investment in a new economy, with respect for the environment, he stressed, was necessary. UN Intergovernmental Committee on Climatic Change (IPCC) President, Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rajendra Pachauri -one of the keynote speakers at the conference- said that “climate change is a challenge for the present and future generations” and referred to the decrease in water reserves, big droughts, heat waves, the risk of wildfires and the reduction of farm crops as its repercussions in the Mediterranean region. Other keynote speakers include UN Secretary General Envoy on Climatic Change and former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, and cardiac surgery professor at the Imperial College in London, Sir Maghdi Yacoub. See also: Programme of the Conference

Greece: RES – Photovoltaic

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis announced new incentives for households in order to install more photovoltaic (PV) systems which convert solar radiation into electrical energy.  2009 is designated by the government as year of Renewable Energy Resources and the ultimate goal is to proceed with legislative changes which will secure increased use of RES by cutting red tape and introducing incentives. Greek News Agenda: The Photovoltaic Market

Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis announced the first steps towards the implementation of the €1.3 billion worth financial support programme which aims at strengthening small- and medium-sized enterprises in the country. The support package is part of the “Competitiveness & Entrepreneurship” (EPAN II) programme set for the time frame 2007-2013.

Green Energy in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Mediterranean Sea comprises many diverse regions – islands, mountain, rural and urban areas – but many of these areas have common environment and development problems, such as the issues of management and development of water and energy resources. The necessity for covering energy needs reliably in urban and rural areas gave rise to the Emergence 2010 project launched under the European Interreg IIIB MEDOCC programme. The objective is “to ensure a reliable and continuous energy supply through decentralized production form Renewable Energy Sources leading to energy solutions with no contribution to greenhouse gases production.” The project partners involve several Mediterranean countries, including the Dodecanese Prefecture and the Center for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES) in Greece.  Center for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES): EMERGENCE 2010