Issue 5

GNTO and Aegean Combine Forces

Greece is a country of exceptional natural beauty with a highly varied landscape. In an effort to further maximize the promotion of Greece abroad, while showcasing the country's innumerable assets, collaboration has been forged between public and private sectors. Specifically, the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) – - and Aegean Airlines are cooperating on many levels, and the following are some of the initiatives taken. Interlinking the Aegean and GNTO websites sites one of them, as is linking them to all social networking sites. GNTO is also going to connect with Aegean's portal, with the aim of advertising Greek destinations and promoting suggestions for trails and getaways. Also, the site is already being advertised on three Aegean airplanes. And, since May, all aircraft on all international and domestic flights are screening a specially made GNTO video.

Culture and Tourism Minister Visits Moscow

Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Yeroulanos – accompanied by Secretary-General of Greek National Tourism Organisation George Kolestsos -  met in Moscow with Russian Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy Minister Vitaly Mutko (July 14), with talks focusing on bilateral relations in the sector of tourism. The Russian minister referred to the increased number of Russian tourists who choose Greece as their destination, a fact that confirms, as he said, the "historical and cultural ties between our two countries."  The two ministers' talks also focused on the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, with the Russian side expressing interest in bilateral cooperation during the preparations of the Games as well as during the event. 

Yeroulanos pointed out to a considerable increase in the granting of visas at the Greek consulate in Moscow during the first half of 2011. Specifically, Greece issued 58% more visas to Russians in the first six months of 2011 than in the year-earlier period, according to Yeroulanos. Multiple-entry visas for Russians have increased eightfold since Greece opened four visa centres in Russia to provide papers faster, Greece wants to attract more visitors from Russia, Israel, Turkey and Ukraine.

Services Upgraded in Museums, Archaeological Sites

The upgrading of 20 museums and archaeological sites services will be completed by the end of the summer. The remaining 149 – for a total of 169 - will be upgraded within the next three years. The Secretary-General of the ministry Lina Mendoni spoke about the excellent cooperation the ministry had with the Lighthouse for the Blind of Greece, regarding the issue of brochures in a Braille system, with which 110 archaeological sites will be equipped. Sometime in the near future - in collaboration with the Greek National Tourism Organisation - the 20 upgraded sites will be integrated into the digital convergence programme of the organization which means that their guests will have the opportunity to participate in digital tours through new generation mobile phones.

Thessaloniki, Cultural Crossroads

Mr George Koletsos, General Secretary of GNTO, mr Wibi Soerjadi, famous Dutch pianist and ms Skarveli, Director of Greek National Tourism Organisation Belgium-Luxembourg-Netherlands

The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki will host the first Friendship Camp, at the facilities in Kalandra, Chalkidiki from August 1 – 20, under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, through the “Thessaloniki, Cultural Crossroads” initiative. 80 Students from 10 universities and 7 countries of the Middle East (Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel and Jordan) will have the opportunity to live on the camping grounds of the University. They will meet each other, exchange ideas and participate in thematic workshops with the aim to create and present activities in the fields of Art and Science.

Hispanic Magazines Feature Greece

Mr George Koletsos, General Secretary of GNTO, mr Wibi Soerjadi, famous Dutch pianist and ms Skarveli, Director of Greek National Tourism Organisation Belgium-Luxembourg-Netherlands

The Hispanic National Geographic travel magazine “Viajes” features Central Greece in “Monastaries and Classical Myths,” in its July edition (Monasteria y mitos clasicos) a 12-page tribute (July), covering Delphi, Ossio Louka Monastary, Meteora, Messolongi, Ioannina, Parga and Preveza. Reporter Ana Puertolas travelled to these areas in collaboration with the Spanish office of the Greek National Tourism Organisation.

Historian Angel Carlos Pérez Aguayo has penned a 10-page article titled “Sir Arthur Evans, the last ‘king’ of Crete” (Sir Arthur Evans: el ultimo rei de Creta), published in the Hispanic Magazine of Architecture “Revista de la Arqueología” in its July issue, with a detailed account and analysis of the Palace of Knossos.

Naxos Island Cultural Summer

The 11th Naxos Festival – organised by AEON Non-Profit Cultural Organization - is taking place on the beautiful Cycladic island of Naxos; the event opened in July and continues throughout August. The festival is hosted at the renovated Bazeos Tower - built in 17th century. This year’s programme includes music concerts, drama productions and seminars in drama therapy – all relating to this year’s theme “Less is More.” 

Sani Festival

The Sani festival, staging jazz concerts in Halkidiki in the summertime, celebrates the twentieth anniversary of Jazz on the Hill, the precursor of the Sani Festival. This year’s musical programmes will have a distinctly Gallic flavour, with Jazz on the Hill, Sounds of the World and Classical Waves all featuring a number of French or French-speaking artists. New features in its programme include Avant Garde Theatre, and Fine Greek Music Talents.

Music Village, Pelio

Agios Lavrentios is a village on Mount Pelio, in Thessaly. Its preserved architectural style, the rich network of cobbled streets, the total absence of cars, and its natural location in a dense forest of beech, olive, and chestnut trees create the sensation of a place unchanged throughout the centuries. A cultural event known as the "Music Village" is held there annually, featuring workshops, numerous music performances, walking tours and extra-culinary activities.

The event is held under the auspices of the Prefecture of Magnesia, the Municipality of Artemida and the people of Agios Lavrentios. This year, the Music Village is taking place in two periods: the first one from August 18 to 24, and the second from August 26 to September 1.

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. Next on the schedule is Full Moon Week (August 8 - 14). For more information, please see


  • The Condé Nast Traveller online magazine features an article titled “Campana brothers design first hotel.” (21.7.2011). Humberto and Fernando Campana, took inspiration from traditional Greek themes: Karagiozis, a shadow puppet; the "evil eye" used to guard against ill-omen; and the Athens of years gone by. With the help of students from University of Thessaly, the Campana brothers wove these themes into the 79 rooms and public spaces of the hotel. Keeping some of the original features of the building, they have also integrated their handmade chairs and lamps, alongside floor-to-ceiling windows and solid brass washbasins.
  • Zurich online daily NZZ has published an article titled "Far from the crisis," (Fernab der Krise, 12.7.2011). Journalist Marc Tribelhorn’s writes a full page describing the favourite island of tens of thousands of Swiss, who have been visiting the island steadily since the late 70's, and who benefit from direct daily flights from Switzerland to Kos during the peak tourist season. He emphasizes that on the island, the economic crisis and its manifestations in Greek cities comprise a distant reality.
  • German Spiegel-Online has published an article titled "The anti-crisis summit" (Der Anti-Krisengipfel, 12.7.2011) by Stephan Orth, who extols the virtues of Mount Olympus. From its summit, at the highest point in Greece, hikers look at a beautiful country, with tiered mountain ranges and a glistening lake in the morning sun to the horizon. Forgetting for a moment the fiscal troubles of the country, onlookers enjoy “a divine view.”
  • German Merkur-Online hosts an interview in its travel section with Michael Karavas, Director of Attika Reisen - Greece-Attica travel specialists based in Munich - titled “Greece- the Blue Wonder” (Griechenland: Das blaue Wunder, 8.7.2011). Michael Karavas, who stresses the fact that a considerable part of Greek holidaymakers return to the country because they have had good experiences there before, adding that Crete, the Cyclades islands are some favourites of German tourists, but also Epirus, Pelion, and Southern Peloponnese.