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Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Greece depends on its picturesque islands, sunny beaches and ancient monuments for export revenue as it struggles to fix its fiscal woes and is implementing reforms prescribed by the EU and the IMF in exchange for bailouts. After two years of sharp drops, tourism industry bodies have seen a pick-up in arrivals and revenues by up to 10 per cent this year. “Data confirm our estimates for a 10 per cent rise in arrivals,” Andreas Andreadis, head of the Greek Tourism Enterprises Association (Sete) told Reuters. “We can only wait to see whether revenues also follow, as we expect.” About six million tourists travelled to Greece in the first seven months of the year, according to Sete and Athens International Airport data. Tourism receipts grew 12.6 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2011, the central bank said on Thursday. Greece has lost market share in what have traditionally been its top markets, Germany and Britain. However, due to the financial crisis, the number of visitors from Balkan countries and Russia is growing, Andreadis said. Tourism accounts for about 16 per cent of Greece’s 230 billion euro economy and employs one in five people. The industry has benefited from the political unrest in North Africa destinations but Andreadis warned sunny days would not last forever as rival countries, such as Egypt, would soon recover. “It is very important for the country that tourism maintains this growth trend in the following years,” he said, adding that the state had to push through much-needed reforms in the sector. “We have to activate the reflexes of this state, which in some cases can be very slow.” Source: Athens News
AIDEA is holding a large community meeting, it’s 30th in the outreach process ahead of preparing an Environmental Impact Statement. Earlier this month there was a tri-village meeting in Kobuk. (Photo by Zachariah Hughes, KNOM News)Starting Wednesday, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority—or AIDEA—is holding two days of meetings in Kotzebue about a proposed 200-mile road through the interior to the Ambler Mining District.“We’re pulling together community leadership from the stakeholders in the proposed corridor, as part of our community outreach. And we’ve had a lot of interest and are expecting really good participation,” said Karsten Rodvik, AIDEA’s head of external affairs. The agency is flying in representatives from almost all the communities along the road’s potential route from the Dalton Highway, through the Interior, and to the Kobuk Valley—all as AIDEA moves forward the Environmental Impact Statement for the road.But PJ Simon, second chief for the community of Allekaket, says leadership there isn’t sending anyone, out of protest. When AIDEA held it’s first and only meeting in Allakaket last year, Simon remembers leaders felt the agency and other representatives did not adequately listen to local feelings about the road.“You guys say you…are here to hear our concerns, but yet none of you even have notepads out,” Simon recalls, “and it doesn’t seem like you guys are going to listen to us.”Local leadership in the Koyukuk region opposes the road—and has issued resolutions saying so—and that’s why Simon thinks AIDEA’s holding the meeting in Kotzebue, which isn’t along the road’s propose route.“They never go to Allakaket because they know we have a firm stance against the road. So we feel that we’re not getting heard. And having a meeting in Kotzebue, of all places—nothing wrong with that—but it’s away from the road. It’s not ground zero. You won’t be able to see what is affected,” he added.Rodvik disagrees. He says Kotzebue has the facilities to hold a gathering of this size. Those facilities include conference rooms at the Nullagvik Hotel, which will also lodge many of the representatives coming to the meeting. The hotel is owned by the NANA Development Corporation; NANA, for its part, says it supports AIDEA’s environmental review of the potential road but hasn’t made a decision on the road itself.Rodvik explained that AIDEA has worked hard to connect with communities as the process has advanced.“This meeting is consistent with our community outreach,” he said. “We’ve had numerous meetings in communities and have publicized those meetings in the community. And through local tribal and city councils. So, we feel that we are reaching out.”Despite that outreach, few details about this week’s meetings were publicly available ahead of time. AIDEA has a websitedevoted to the Ambler Road, but nothing about the meeting or it’s agenda are posted there.Rodvik says the intention is not to shut anyone out, but to make sure the conversation takes place between what he calls the most “immediate stakeholders.”“Well there’ll be representatives from NANA and Doyan Regional Corporations, Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, National Park Service, and others. Again this is a meeting involving stakeholders—theimmediate stakeholders I should say—in the proposed corridor.”But the definition of a stakeholder isn’t so clear: while nine communities lie along the road’s proposed path, there are also business owners, wilderness advocates, and subsistence users claiming they’ll be impacted by any industrial road through the region.Wednesday’s meetings in Kotzebue starts at noon and last through Thursday.