Tourism Biz in Play

The Greek National Tourist Organization is seeking an agency to promote the 2004 Olym pic Games in Athens.

Eleven unidentified Northeast agen cies, primarily in New York and Con necticut, have returned RFPs, confirmed George Tambakis, director of GNTO in the U.S.

Though spending was not disclosed, Tambakis said the organization plans to ramp up its ad efforts substantially. “We want to be very aggressive with our marketing,” he said. “We want to promote tour ism, culture and the Olympics.”

Until now, the bulk of GNTO’s marketing has been aimed at overseas markets and handled in-house or by agencies abroad, he said.

A final decision is expected soon after an 11-person committee from the organization’s Athens headquarters visits GNTO’s New York office the week of Nov. 26 and assesses the contenders, Tam ba kis said.

The assignment involves creative and media duties in the U.S. The new effort, which could break as soon as Jan. 15, will consist of print and online ads that target consumers and the travel industry. It will include cross promo tional work with cruise lines and airlines, among other companies, Tamba kis said.

Late last month, GNTO handed its estimated $25 million international account to Adel Saatchi & Saatchi in Athens, which will handle strategy and account management, and Team Saatchi in London, which will be responsible for creative.

According to CMR, GNTO spent about $2 million in U.S. measured media last year.