“Greek entrepreneurship in Europe promotes tourism and consequently tourism reinforces the entrepreneurship in Europe” underlined to “In-On” magazine the member of the Coordinating Board SAE of the periphery of Europe and in charge of the committee for the Greek entrepreneurship and the promotion of tourism in Europe, Mr. John Epitropakis.
Tourism –he continued– is important actually, it constitutes a kind of heavy industry for the Greek economy.
Greece has an important position in the international market of tourism, compared of course to its size. Greece constitutes one of the most famous international tourist destinations hosting more than 14 million tourists. This fact gives it the 15th position on an international basis and the fourth in Mediterranean (it receives the 30% of global tourism).
According to the findings of the Coordinating Board SAE, “Greece has unique geographical characteristics. There is no other country that gathers s such a variety of advantages that have to do with a coastline of more than two thousand of kilometers, with mountains that cover the 75% of the surface of the country της, with 7500 caves, half of which are located in Crete. There are also 750 registered hot water springs and 6000 different kinds of flora where 1000 kinds are self-sown that grow only in Greece. In Greece there are more than 8.500 hotels whilst there are about 30.000 enterprises activated in the field of rooms to let, allowing the total number of beds to be over than 1.000.000. Furthermore, the field of tourism annually contributes more than 18% in the formulation of the Gross National Product, creates about 700.000 working positions and vitally contributes to peripheral development. Based on the evidence of the Coordinating Board of Europe, 90% of the tourists that visit Greece are European meaning that nine (9) out of ten (10) come from European countries”.
Question: In which way can the Coordinating Board contribute to the reinforcement of tourism to Greece?
Answer: Greek people abroad can function as the best ambassadors of Greece. Greek organizations in Europe that cooperate with the Coordinating Board realize open cultural events. This and contacts with services and friends in the host countries promote our country in best possible way.
– Cooperation with the Ministry of Tourist Development and with the offices of the Greek National Tourism Organization that function in Europe
– Coordination with the business people that run tourist enterprises in Europe
– Contacts and common projects with the Greek Local Government
Ways to promote our tourist product are:
– Through upgraded Greek restaurants that function in Europe. The Greek restaurant can become a spot that promotes profitable tourist destinations
– Through demonstrations and cultural events regarding diet issues, health and culture
– Through projects that promote Greece in special places for instance in public universities by experts in the selling of the tourist product
Question: How many Greek entrepreneurs are activated in Europe?
Answer: According to the records of the website of the General Secretarial of Greek people abroad, the Greeks abroad regarding the 34 countries that the Coordinating Board is activated in the periphery of Europe comes to 748.203 people. The findings from various sources refer that in Germany there are 28.000 enterprises of Greek interest, which offer 110.000 working positions in the German Market and have an overturn of 10 billion Euros while in Romania there are 4.000 enterprises of Greek interest. In Europe, outside our national borders, enterprises of Greek interest come to a total of about 50.000.
Since its foundation in 1995, the Coordinating Board SAE tried to promote Greek entrepreneurship. It can be referred that in the framework of the third international assembly of the Coordinating Board in 1999, the first international organizing conference of entrepreneurs was realized. However, various conferences were organized in the periphery as well as business fora. In the end of 2000 in Berlin the first symposium of the Greeks living in the European Union was organized by the German-Hellenic Financial Link DHW in cooperation with the Technical Chamber of Greece (ΤΕΕ). In the process more symposia were organized solely initiated by DHW. All these efforts focus on the formulation of business networks. The new Law 3480/2006 article 4 § 9 refers to the function of Hellenic networks. During the first session of the Board of Directors of the Coordinating Board SAE realized from the 9 th until the 11th February 2007 in Thessaloniki, the organization of the Board of Directors was put forward, viewing the following four years. Through Coordinating Councils, the Board of Directors will take over a detailed registry of the problems, of the proposals and the suggestions of the members of SAE and in general of the Greeks living abroad.
Among specific actions the following are immediately directed: 1) The project e-learning “Speak Greek–Live Greek”, 2) “Networking of the business people” in cooperation with the Technical and Industrial Chamber of Athens, 3) Foundation of the Museum of Greeks living abroad and 4) Initiative for the return of the Parthenon Marbles.
Determination of five (5) goals:
– Linking of the Greek entrepreneurs of Europe to the economic activity in Greece
– Encouragement for cooperation and action between Greek business people abroad as well as the business community in Greece
– Promotion and encouragement of Greek entrepreneurship in Europe
– Participation of Greek business people in European and international constitutions that have a business profile
– Attraction of investment interest in Greece
Question: What initiatives did you take to achieve these goals?
Answer: In order to materialize these goals, cooperation with the Greek Ministries of Development (especially ΟΠΕ) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (especially with the departments of Financial and Trade Affairs) is required. The above constitute departments of diplomacy and their prime duty is to ensure, support and promote Greek financial and trade interests abroad. There should also, be cooperation with the Greek local government, the Trade and Industrial Chambers and the Links of Export Businesses.
Steps to achieve the goals:
– Registration of companies and business people per country and per activity (charting)
– Registration of Technical Chambers or links if they exist
– Registration of networks or Fora
– Creation of a data base. Today due to new technologies and the internet, there is a possibility for business people to be informed for matters of their interest
– Event organization – seminars – conferences – business Fora concerning Greek business people abroad as well as business people from Greece and Cyprus
– Registration of the problems entrepreneurs whose businesses are located in Greece face
– Networking of the Greek business people of Europe with those of Greece.
John Epitropakis was born in Kalyvia in the prefecture of Asterousia in Heakleion, Crete and grew up in Kalami in the prefecture of Viannos in Herakleion.
He finished Primary school in Crete and later graduated from the Α΄ six-form High School in Herakleion. He is a qualified expert in finance from the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki and in Germany he graduated from the Teachers’ Training College of Ludwigsburg.
He has worked a) as an officer of the mercantile marine, b) as an official of the Ministry of National Economy and c) as a bank clerk in ΑΤΕ bank and later as a bank manager ΑΤΕ bank in German.
Since 1986 until today he lives in Germany.
Since 1997 until today he is the chairman in the Pan-Cretan Association of Europe ΠΟΕ. From 2004 till today he is the vice-president of the World Council of the Cretans (ΠΣΚ). Since 2006 he has been a member of the Coordinating Board (SAE), in the periphery of Europe. He is also in charge of the committee regarding Greek entrepreneurship and the promotion of Greek tourism in Europe.
Source of publication 9th issue In-On