The culture and tourism ministry plans to turn the world’s attention to Athens through a new promotional program, called “Athens every week”.

The presentation of the program was made by Culture & Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos during the annual general assembly of the Association of Athens-Attica Hoteliers on Tuesday.

The hoteliers’ world of Athens welcomed the project saying it would contribute to restoring the capital’s reputation while it was also a good starting point for a fundamental and constructive cooperation between the public and private sectors.

Addressing the general assembly, Geroulanos said the program would renew interest for Athens offering a chance to extend the tourism season and created a single platform for all actions and events happening in the city.

“It is a program capable of promoting with some fantasy, a little effort and some money, all the things making Athens a special city, a lively city. A program offering answer to a question set by foreigners again and again during our trips abroad. Where have you been?” the minister said. He also announced that the ministry would use money from a National Framework Reference Fund to support tourism and cultural actions and said that a tender for creating a congress centre in the Tae Kwon Do facility would be launched in the next 10 days.

Yiannis Retsos, president of the Association underlined the necessity of promoting Athens’ tourism and presented a series of actions aimed at boosting hotel reservations. He also presented a report on 2010 figures so far, saying that room occupancy in Athens-Attica hotels surpassed 90 pct during the October 29-31 period, because of the Athens Marathon 2010 event, highlighting the benefits of such large-scale events on Greek tourism.

GBR Consulting also presented a survey on customers’ satisfaction rate, showing that more than 90 pct of respondents saying they would visit Athens again, despite the fact that several indexes (cleaning, security, transportation) showed a worsening since 2009. The survey showed that revenue per available room fell 6.9 pct in the January-September period for hotels in the Athens-Attica region, compared with a 12.2 pct increase in western Europe and a 5.9 pct rise in southern Europe.