GREEK TRAVEL BUSINESS NEWS
Issue 2 (June 15)

The Flame of Hope on its Way

The ceremony for the lighting of the torch for the Special Olympics World Summer Games Athens 2011 - sunrays concentrated by a concave mirror - took place at the Sacred Site of Pnyx Hill on June 9, the meeting place of the Athenian assembly during antiquity. On June 10, the “Flame of Hope” began its journey across the world carried by athletes and law enforcement officers from around the world, before returning to Athens' Panathinaic Stadium on June 25 for the official opening of the Games. With just 9 days to go, the Games will take place in Greece from June 24 to July 4. All sport delegations will stay at the Special Olympics Village (SOV).

The Herakleidon Museum is hosting the exhibition Special Olympics - Special Artists (June 7 – July 5) with paintings, drawings, watercolours and pyrographs created by the pupils of Workshops for Special Education and Vocational Training of Ιrakleio, Attica, especially for this exhibition.

GNTO Launches Cooperation with Google

The latest in internet tools will be employed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in an effort to promote Greece as a tourism destination more effectively, while an "in house ad campaign" has been underway since May 27 via Google to promote Greek tourism and the www.visitgreece.gr website. The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) inaugurated the cooperation with Google, as well as with Google search, Google Display Network and YouTube, within the framework of an initiative scheduled to last until the end of the year.

Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum

The 1st Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum is taking place on June 21-22 at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens. The potential for sea tourism and its significance as a key factor in the development of the economies of Greece, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea region will be examined in depth during this event – which will focus on three key areas: cruise, yachting and inter-island/coastal shipping. Touted as Europe’s most important sea tourism event, the Posidonia forum’s list of speakers includes government officials, business leaders, entrepreneurs and representatives of the region’s sea tourism industries. They will explore ways which can help develop this important sector and maximize the sea tourism potential of the region. The Ministers of Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries, Yiannis Diamantides and Culture & Tourism, Pavlos Yeroulanos will inaugurate the forum.

Tourism Investment Conference: Focus on Greece

The Tourism Investment Conference – Focus on Greece is taking place on June 29 in Athens.
This event will analyse and assess the emerging economic environment in Greece and the country's potential to attract foreign and local investment by creating and sustaining a stable and hospitable environment. Emphasis will be given on the new status of the tourism industry its effect on Greek economy and its role in competitiveness and sustainable development.

Rising Tourist Arrivals

According to the latest figures, tourist numbers in Greece are on the rise. While overall arrivals were up by 5.6% for January-April, compared to last year’s figures, April alone welcomed over half a million visitors to the country, mainly its islands. The most significant rise in numbers is at the islands’ airports: the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises collected data from 13 airports - Rhodes, Kos and Zakynthos in particular. April’s passenger figures for Rhodes airport were up 133% compared to 2010 which was a very difficult year for Greece on many fronts. Kos is up by 539% and Zakythos by 504% for April. Tourists from Germany continue to be in first place, followed by English, Swedish, Russian, French, Italian, Finnish, Dutch and Belgian tourists.

Clean, Blue Waters

Blue Flag is an internationally recognised standard for quality, rewarding sustainable development at beaches and marinas, relying on strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety. The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature - coordinator of the international Blue Flag programme in Greece - announced the awarded beaches and marinas for 2011, on May 25. Greece was awarded blue flags for 387 beaches and 9 marinas by the international non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), achieving second place among 41 countries worldwide. The
Visit Greece: Seaside in Greece [VIDEO]

Ferry Ticket Fares Down

A regulation introduced by the Maritime Affairs ministry on the abolition of duties and rights in favour of third parties for tickets for passengers and vehicles using coastal shipping ships has been ratified in Parliament. According to Maritime Affairs Minister Yiannis Diamantidis, the regulation will have an immediate affect on coastal shipping passengers, since fares will decrease by over 10%.

Vogue France: Stopover in Greece

The June-July issue of French luxury lifestyle magazine Vogue is in circulation, and it features Greece exclusively: "Stopover in Greece, its islands, its myths, its heroes, its pleasures." The special issue includes 40 pages of articles, with travel reporting on Monemvasia, Peloponnese, the Cyclades islands with a focus on Tinos, while the fashion photography took place at Hotel Costa Navarino. The journalistic report focuses on the decade between 1960’s-70s with Aristotle Onassis, Jacky O, Melina Mercouri. There is also a spotlight on contemporary personalities in the art world. Is it possible to read the magazine in electronic form from the website: www.vogue.fr

Scuba Diving in the Greek Isles

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is the world’s leading scuba diving training organization. With more than forty years experience, over 135,000 PADI professionals and more than 6,000 dive shops and resorts worldwide provide training materials and services to visitors so that they may experience scuba diving from nearly anywhere. Featured as a vacation spotlight is Scuba Diving in the Greek Islands, with diving information on Mykonos, Naxos, Santorini, Chios, and areas off the beaten track such as Kelyfos island, Alonaki, Koundouros Reef, and more.

Delphi Centre unveils Summer Events

Byzantium will be the central theme of this year’s summer events at the European Cultural Centre of Delphi (ECCD).The events scheduled to take place on June 28 - July 27 will include a painting and religious objects exhibition, an international symposium titled “Byzantium and Historical Continuity,” concerts of Byzantine music, ancient Greek language and culture seminars as well as theatre performances. ECCD board president and noted Paris-based Byzantologist and historian Helene Glykatzi-Ahrweiler underlined that this year’s events will focus on Byzantium, from a political, cultural and artistic point of view.

Athens Every Week

The initiative Athens Every Week promotes everything that Athens has to offer to our visitors every week of the year. It organizes the numerous events that share the same theme and take place in Athens at the same time, thus creating a so-called “week-identity” in a unique ambience in the city. Currently running is the Acropolis Rally Week (June 13-19), and next on the schedule is Urban Week (June 20 – 26). For more information, please see www.visitgreece.gr.

IN BRIEF

  • An extensive tribute to the Greek islands is posted on the electronic page of the Sunday Times (5.6): this month’s “big feature” in its travel section is: A Total Guide to the Greek Islands.
  • The Swiss newspaper Tribune de Genève has published a 2-page special feature (8.6) titled “Our tips for the summer to enjoy the strong franc” (Nos bons plans de l’été pour profiter du franc fort), urging travellers to visit Greece – among other European destinations - as the strong Swiss franc against the euro this summer can provide very competitive offers for travel to Europe and the US.
  • The Spanish newspaper El Pais published (4.6) a tribute to Greece titled “The place chosen by the gods” (El lugar escogido por los dioses) and focuses on Athens, Corinth, Mycenae, Delphi and Meteora.