NO TRIVIAL DEBATE

I AM writing in response to Joe Riley's column (LIVERPOOL ECHO January 31) entitled "Sorry Stelios, but you can't have them back," a feature on the cultural debate surrounding the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles.

Mr Riley states that I am "sponsoring a Cambridge University debate" when it is in fact one of my companies, easyCruise.com.

On February 18, 2008 the Cambridge Union will host the following debate: "This House Would Return the Parthenon Marbles to the New Acropolis Museum in Athens". The reason easyCruise.com has a commercial interest in associating its brand with this debate is that we offer a Classical Greece Cruise.

Mr Riley rightly reminds the reader that I benefit by people travelling for cultural reasons. I see nothing wrong with this and at the same time to think of my brands first when doing so.

What people may not understand is that I am coming at this with a pretty good understanding of both the Greek and the British culture, having been born and raised in Athens and then having created many businesses and jobs in the UK. I can see both points of view and I would never trivialise this great debate.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, chairman easyCruise.com