It is considered one of the main pillars of the Greek economy with a strong export presence. The reason for the marble industry whose total contribution is estimated at 1.27 billion euros, in 6,130 direct jobs, and in indirect 17,796 jobs, while for every € 1 marble product its multiplier benefit for the Greek economy is 2,19 €.
Despite the impressive figures and the fact that during the crisis the industry increased its speed by tripling its exports, while investing in innovation and extroversion, unfortunately the lack of support from government agencies is evident.
In fact, the Marble Association of Macedonia Thrace (SEMMTH), headed by the Vice President of the Iktinos marble industry, Julie Haida, has set as a first goal for the promotion of Greek Marble, the elaboration of a strategic development plan for the brand. «Greek Marble».
Ms. Julie Haida speaks about the next moves of the Association and what has to be done, for the Greek Marble to be considered as a strong brand name.
Taking as a given that the Greek marble, which adorns emblematic architectural buildings in 120 countries, ranking Greece in the top 4 worldwide, it becomes clear that the move to promote it as a product with a Protected designation of origin, should have been made decades ago.
“We have already discussed possible cooperation with the organization Enterprise Greece, in order to actively support the promotion of Greek marbles, including Greek marble in all promotions, and campaigns around the world.
Of course, other collaborations with various organizations are being considered that could help create a strong Brand Name worthy of the presence and use of Greek Marble that is part of our Greek History and Cultural Heritage “.
Pandemic and digital transformation put businesses on alert
Asked how teleworking and digital transformation are expected to affect the way marble industries operate and whether it is possible to modernize a traditional industry, she said that for a purely extroverted industry such as the marble industry, the effects of the pandemic are particularly significant.
Ms. Haida explains that the adverse conditions prevailing in the world economy were logical to affect marble exports as international trade is plagued by the effects of the pandemic.
The huge changes, such as the restriction of movement, the uncertainty of consumers worldwide, etc., greatly limited the development of the industry and it was immediately understood that the appropriate mechanisms and procedures had to be found that would allow an immediate and effective response to the unforeseen situation.
The transition of many companies in the industry to the “Digital Age” in a short time was the first step. Of course, many companies had also invested before covid-19 in the digital transformation and upgrading of their technological infrastructure. Therefore, there was flexibility in business operations through a new business model and with such organizational structures enhancing their human resources with new, digital skills. “Even companies that were not prepared tried and” complied “by simplifying procedures, for” contactless communication “with customers through digital transformation,” she points out.
Rise of the real estate market in 2021
Referring to the area of the real estate market and the role played by both economic and geopolitical developments in the “thawing” of important projects, Ms. Haida confirms that real estate remains stagnant.
She adds that the geopolitical uncertainty that prevails throughout world maintains caution. As Greek-Turkish tension continues to grow, investors’ reservations about the real estate market are strongly reflected despite the fact that the domestic real estate market remains attractive.
“In the long run, the outlook is positive. I believe that in 2021 there will be a recovery of the real estate market as it is directly combined with dealing with the pandemic “.
The resources of the Recovery Fund and the action of SEMMTH
Since Ms. Haida took over as head of SEMMTH, significant changes have taken place and the industry has gained a voice. It is one of the strongest associations in the region in terms of actions, work, number of members and in general sectoral business activity and is undoubtedly one of the most important players for development, socio-economic cohesion and progress for the wider region.
Over time, it has shown important work as it is a very active association that has helped and supported all marble companies and it seems that in recent years it trusts its management in the hands of women.
“In February 2020, I had the honor of taking over the position of President and I am really trying to continue the work of my predecessors with dignity. At the same time, however, I am trying to highlight the issues we are facing, highlighting the most so that they can be heard by the competent state bodies. I can say that the competent bodies listen to our requests which are most often accepted, but usually delay in their implementation. “It is at this point that we, as SEMMTH, must do something and strengthen our voice,” said Ms. Haida.
Finally, regarding the participation of the marble industry in the resources provided for the support of the Greek economy through the Recovery Fund, Ms. Haida emphasizes that a relevant letter has been sent to the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis in order to set a meeting to discuss ways to support the Greek marble specific proposals, which have already been elaborated by the SEMMTH.
The proposals for the recovery of Greek Marble exports are fully in line with the interim report entitled “Development Plan for the Greek Economy” of the Pissaridis committee and as the head of SEMMTH says, the meeting must take place immediately.