Greece to launch e-registry for leisure boats

Greece will launch an e-registry for leisure boats via an amendment to the legal provisions, thus the modernising the current legal framework. The amendment is expected to be attached to a bill on central depositories submitted on Thursday.
Legislation establishing an e-registry was initially passed in 2014 but was never put into force. Finance ministry officials said the e-registry will be part of the Independent Authority of Public Revenue (AADE) and will be updated with the cooperation of citizens, the Merchant Shipping ministry and AADE.
The officials note the e-registry will simplify procedures for boat owners and will offer statistical data to support the development of sea tourism in the country.

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3.154 “golden visas” issued in Greece during 2018

A total of 3.154 “golden visas” have been issued by the Greek state to third-country investors or buyers of real estate this year and up until August 31, 2018, according to the migration policy ministry.

Holders of the “golden visa” acquired a residency permit in Greece and have access to other European Union countries.

The initiative commenced in 2013, with 2.493 such visas issued last year.

Chinese nationals have received the most visas, at 1.521; followed by Russian nationals with 438 and Turkish nationals with 337.

Source: tornosnews

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Why Santorini Urgently Needs a Sustainable Tourism Plan

By Michael Ermogenis*

Europe is the undisputed travel ‘destination of choice’ in the world. Almost half of all global travel is destined for Europe and a number of its countries have the highest number of annual visitors in the world.

All indicators show that this trend is only going to increase and in some cases at alarming rates. Europe is like a living museum and its many historic and culturally significant destinations are magnets for global travellers. Travel and tourism (TT) is also a very significant element of the European economy, contributing €669.5 billion ($762.4 billion) (3.6 percent of total GDP) in 2017, and is forecast to rise by 2.8 percent in 2018, and to rise by 2.4 percent per annum from 2018-2028, to €873.3 billion (3.9 percent of total GDP) in 2028 (source: World Travel & Tourism Council).

These are significant numbers and it is no wonder the EU is so focused on TT through numerous programs and initiatives.

Greece, as a member of the EU and one of the cultural icons of the continent, benefits greatly from Europe’s pre-eminence in the global TT industry. While the figures for Greece do not quite match those of France, Spain or Italy, they are still significant given the total size of the local economy.

In fact, TT is a whopping 19.9 percent of the Greek GDP, compared to single digits for other leading European countries in TT. This means that tourism is not only important to the country, it is absolutely vital.

In Santorini, tourism’s economic contribution to GDP is likely in excess of 90 percent. So in following from the previous statement about the importance of tourism to the Greek economy being ‘vital’, logic tells us that the tourism sector is the very oxygen, the lifeline on which Santorini almost totally relies on for its existence.

Logic then, would also tell us that governments (local and national) should have it working like a high-precision Swiss watch.

Alas, in reality it is more like a plastic Mickey Mouse watch.

So this brings us to the inevitable question: “How is it possible, in a country where tourism is the biggest sector, on an island that is almost totally reliant on tourism for its existence there is no formal, sophisticated, technology savvy, environmentally sensitive, community sensitive, culturally protective, forward looking, sustainable destination management plan?”

Perhaps we can ask the same question in another way: “In an era where global communication is at the speed of thought, an era where social media is the engine behind travel and tourism growth and Santorini’s enormous social media footprint through shared photos is the biggest daily global advertisement for Greece…. how is it possible in such an era where Oia is the second most photographed place in Greece (behind the Acropolis)… there is no strategic plan in place to protect it?”

Most would argue its totally illogical, in fact it is downright irresponsible (bordering on criminal) to have such travel destination treasures and simply leave them to their fate. Yet, this is essentially what is currently taking place.

Local, regional & national authorities have systematically failed to produce comprehensive, sustainable tourism plans for Santorini and by association Oia. Its like saying ‘we have one of the Top 3 island destinations in the world… and probably the world’s most picturesque village, but we can’t think of anything we can do to protect them… so we are just going to sit back and watch them being slowly destroyed year by year’.

It is the kind of the strategy you have when you have no strategy at all.

To make things even worse, its not just the potential decline of the Santorini global brand that’s at stake here. There is also an enormous opportunity cost. You see, Santorini is not just a travel destination, it is a ‘dream destination’. There is a big difference between the two. One is a stop-over on a travel list… a tick in a box if you like.

The other is the fuel that makes you want to travel in the first place. Its the dream destination you think about constantly, it fuels your imagination and your mind travels to it at night or in conversations. You scour social media for photos and you can never get enough of it. Its the stuff of dreams, where imagination feeds motivation. Its the dream destinations that people plan their holidays around. Its the starting point, the ‘must do’ destination and then they look at what else they can do while they are in the region.

From a strategy perspective this makes a dream destination a potential feeder source. It’s a gateway that has superior gravitational pull to any other place near it. While that sounds ominous, that superior gravity can also, with the right strategy, be used to increase the profile of lesser known destinations around it.

Many of the surrounding islands, as well as other regions of Greece that have only two-three month seasons (at best), could potentially greatly benefit from Santorini but only if planned properly.

There is no doubt that Greece already greatly benefits by having Santorini inside its borders. The spin-off effect would be hard to quantify accurately, but it would be enormous. Yet, it could be far greater with some proper planning and strategies.

At the moment there are unscrupulous players who are taking advantage of Santorini’s global gravitas, by selling excursions from other islands and flooding Santorini on a daily basis making it unbearable for those paying to stay and spend a few days on the island.

Practices such as hijacking the Santorini name to sell ‘dodgy’ excursions, as well the total lack of development plans for villages other than Oia, uncontrolled daily cruise passenger invasions, lack of adequate infrastructure, almost non-existent town planning enforcement and many other issues, which can leave you perplexed as to “what are they doing?”

As if all this wasn’t enough, we are expecting continued EU tourism growth of minimum 4 percent per annum through to 2025 (a figure which will be doubled on Santorini) and there is a Chinese visitors’ wave underway that is unprecedented. If we think we have problems now, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

So we return to the original question… does one of the top travel destinations in the world, a place considered by many to be one of the most iconic natural wonders of the world, deserve protection? Does it not deserve to be managed in a sustainable way? Does this natural wonder not deserve to be preserved for future generations of locals as well global travellers? Do we not have an obligation as the island’s citizens, as Greeks and as Europeans, to ensure that Santorini not only survives but thrives in the decades ahead?

These are of course rhetorical questions. The answer is obvious.

* Michael Ermogenis: Principle Management Consultant – over 25 years for Fortune 500 companies, Creator of ‘Customer Delight’ standard for enterprise customer service, Strategic advisor to Santorini Chamber of Commerce, Lived in Oia (full time) for 12 years,
Founding member of the Mediterranean Alliance (Venice, Oia, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Rhodes & Crete), Founding member of “Save Oia” Campaign

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36-Foot Waves Expected as Greece Braces for Cyclone Hit on Saturday

Greek meteorologists said on Friday that the eye of the Mediterranean cyclone is expected to reach the south shores of the Peloponnese between 15:00 and 18:00 local time on Saturday.

The National Observatory of Athens’ weather service meteo.gr, released models of the cyclones’s expected course and rainfall intensity over the next 48 hours.

The series of four photos show its projected position at 15:00 on Friday (top left), at 21:00 on Friday (top right), at 9:00 on Saturday (bottom left) and at 15:00 on Saturday (bottom right).

The meteo.gr models have also predicted waves exceeding 11 meters (36 feet) in height between the Peloponnese and Crete.

You can watch here live the path of the cyclone

Schools in the Peloponnese, Attica and other areas of Greece will be shut on Friday as a precaution though ferries in the Saronic Gulf were running normally on Friday morning.

Passengers are advised to contact port authorities or their travel agents before departure to ensure that scheduled journeys will be taking place.

In a presser on Thursday night, along with the director of Greece’s National Meteorological Service Thodoris Kolydas, General Secretary for Civil Protection Yiannis Tafyllis said that state mechanisms were on full alert ahead of the arrival of the cyclone expected in the next few hours.

Kolydas said that reasonably accurate predictions could only be made for the next 48 hours and warned that the public should expect winds of 9-10 Beaufort and strong rain and storms, especially in the southern Peloponnese, Crete and western Cyclades islands. The phenomena will also affect south and eastern Attica on Saturday, he said.

The civil protection agency has issued a list of instructions to the general public on how to protect themselves from the storm, calling on them to:
– Secure any objects that might be blown away and cause damage or injury
– Ensure that building drainpipes are not blocked and in working order
– Avoid crossing streams or torrents, either in vehicles or on foot, during storms, rain and for some time after rainfall has stopped
– To avoid working outdoors and activities at sea or in coastal areas during the storm.

(With information from AMNA)

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Tsipras attends a gathering of Greek Americans in New York

New York.- ANA-MPA

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sent messages about Greece and its role on Wednesday during his speech at a reception held by the Greek consulate in New York.

“Thanks to the efforts of the Greek people, we managed to exit the regime of harsh surveillance. Today we are all determined to turn a page,” Tsipras stressed.

Expressing his gratitude to the Greek Americans for their important ceaseless efforts, Tsipras said that since 2016 he remembers their deep faith and their confidence that Greece could overcome the great difficulties and stand again on its feet.

The Greek people leave behind the difficult period that started in 2010, he said. He added that the country has left behind the eight-year period when it lost a great part of its economic sovereignty and managed to become a normal country again.

Moreover, he said, Greece regained its lost geopolitical role and its importance as a country of stability in a more destabilized region. “Greece is playing a leading role in the Southeastern Mediterranean and Europe,” he stressed.

Honored by the

Global Hope Coalition

“In very difficult times, the Greek people have proved that they can show solidarity with those in need,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said late on Thursday at the Global Hope Coalition’s Annual Dinner, where he was awarded for Greece’s stance on the refugee crisis.

The prime minister noted that he accepted this award on behalf of the Greek people, because the citizens of Greece are those who deserve credit and praise. Especially on behalf of the people of the Greek islands, he stressed, as they raised the heavy burden of all Europe on their shoulders in the difficult times of the refugee crisis.

“We are proud because at the time when other countries in Central Europe were building walls and fences, the Greeks opened their hearts,” he underlined.

“We are very proud of our history and the ideals it represents. But we are also proud of our present and the future,” the prime minister said. Because, as he added, “we have succeeded in demonstrating that solidarity and respect for human rights are always the right answer, even in the most difficult and demanding moments.”

“And if we choose to go on the opposite side, choose fear, hatred and xenophobia, then we are doomed,” because, as he added, “history must not be ignored and treated with a lack of respect.”

“We must act in harmony with the values that fueled the collective progress of each nation separately and of humanity as whole,” he said and added: “We owe it to our citizens, but especially to the next generations.”

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