Greece’s Civil Aviation Service under radical transformation

The Greek Civil Aviation Service is about to be split into two completely separate bodies, after the issue of the Presidential Decrees, following a Parliamentary Act passed two years ago.

The first new body will be APA, the Independent Agency to which all 44 airports of Greece, both private and state-run will be appertained to.

The second body will be the Civil Aviation Service which will be the responsible Authority for management of the state-owned airports in Greece.

Among the new responsibilities of the Independent Agency APA will be the air traffic management that is growing fast due to the boost of the Greek Tourism, the aeronautical information services as well as meteorological, administrative and security services.

According to information, the two new bodies will employ 3,000 people.

Source: Nick Kampouris/greekreporter

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Tourists Using Greece’s E-ticket for Museums, Sites

Convenience is important when traveling, and tourists visiting Greece have welcomed the introduction of an e-ticket for Greece’s museums and archaeological sites.

The e-ticket was just launched on July 5 in a pilot phase and is currently only available for 11 archaeological sites and museums in Crete, Athens and the Peloponnese.

According to figures from Archaeological Resources Fund (TAP) presented by the Culture Ministry on Thursday, the e-ticket, which can be purchased online at etickets.tap.gr, is gaining popularity among tourists.

Tourism at Greece’s archaeological sites and museum reached 5.5 million visitors and generated 9.3 million euros from July 5 to August 5. Also, in the two-week period from July 19 to August 5, e-tickets accounted for 145,000 euros, the Culture Ministry reports.

There are plans on the part of the Culture Ministry to expand the e-ticket program by the end of 2018 to cover additional sites around Greece’s mainland and islands. The Ministry are expected to make the announcement of all of the locations included on the final list at the Thessaloniki International Fair next month.

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Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi

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Greek islands in the south account for half of tourism’s spending

Despite a growing reputation as a trendy and hip place for young people, tourists are still choosing the Greek island over Athens. As the Greek Tourism Confederation (INSETE) reports, these tourists spend nearly half of what the entire tourist sector brings in on the Cyclades, Dodecanese, and Crete.

Citing 2017 data supplied by the Bank of Greece, INSETE said the regions brought in 6.91 billion euros.

That made up 48.6 percent of the total tourism spending in a record year that was on course to be broken in 2018, although there are fears the deadly July 23 wildfire and reports of government negligence in seaside towns negatively affect potential guests.

Athens accounted for only 2 billion euros, far less than even Crete, despite the city rapidly gaining positive reviews and upgrades to the port of Piraeus by the operators, the Chinese company Cosco, aimed at bringing more luxury cruise ships.
Western Macedonia was the area with the least interest, bringing in only 45 million euros ($52.53 million,) from visitors, although neighboring Central Macedonia had the highest numbers due to its bordering on Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which reached a deal with Greece to be renamed North Macedonia.

The area also was popular because of its proximity to the second-largest city and major port of Thessaloniki and the Halkidiki region, renowned for some of the best beaches in the country and world.

The next most popular area was the Southern Aegean, which accounted for 19 percent of all visits last year.

Each tourist visiting Greece in 2017 stayed for an average of 6.8 nights and spent 458 euros ($534.60,) or 68 euros ($79.37) per overnight stay. The average duration of stay grew by 0.8 percent from 2016, and average expenditure was up 1.9 percent, given that average spending per night increased 1.1 percent despite a new overnight tax imposed by the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition which promised to cut taxes but raised them.

The biggest rises in overnight stays and expenditure by foreign tourists were to be found in the Peloponnese, the Southern Aegean and Attica in 2017, with luxury resort Costa Navarino gaining big draws for the Peloponnese.

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Remains of Greek Soldier Killed in Action 44 Years Ago Identified in Cyprus

The remains belonging to First Lieutenant Giorgos Papalambridis from Ioannina have been found and identified by the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus 44 years after his death.

According to sources, his bones were found in the location of Aspri Mouti on the Pentadaktylos mountain — the highest point of the Alonagra peak — where the National Guard fought Turkish troops. The reason why only three bones were found, according to the CMP, was because he had been buried in a shallow, makeshift grave.

The location tallies with witness accounts, which stated that Papalambridis had led a company of soldiers in the area. Another 13 fallen soldiers were also found at the same location, some through only a handful of bones, belonging to Greek-Cypriot soldiers that had been declared missing.

His file includes shocking witness accounts of his last moments in battle, when he was shot by a sniper on the forehead and died instantly.

His brother Yiannis Papalambridis is expected to travel to Cyprus in October to receive his remains, which he will bury at the Papagos Cemetery with his parents Stefanos and Penelope.

Source: AMNA

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Tasos Kokkinidis

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Tourist Arrivals in Greece Up in June

Tourist arrivals travelling from air and road grew in June 2018 compared with the same month last year, Greek Tourism Confederation SETE said in a report released on Tuesday.

The report said that international airport arrivals grew 14.6 percent in June (up 18 percent so far this year), led by Athens (+27 percent), while regional airports recorded an 11.7 percent increase.

The report said that according to Bank of Greece’s statistics, average consumption spending by foreign visitors grew both in May (travel receipts were up 34.7 percent compared with May 2017) and in the year (21.7 percent).

SETE said that according to trivago data, hotel room prices moved up but remained at competitive levels compared with hotel room prices in rival destinations abroad.

Greece (with the exception of Mykonos and Santorini) is cheaper in all hotel categories -with the exception of Turkey.

Source: AMNA

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Tasos Kokkinidis

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The “Greek Freak” invites the world to vacation in Greece (VIDEO)

No matter who you are of where you come from, if you ask Giannis Antetokounmpo where you must visit he’ll tell you his home country, Greece.

Antetokounmpo was born in Greece to Nigerian migrants and is famous worldwide for his athletic skills in basketball which he regularly shows off playing on the Milwaukee Bucks team of the NBA in the United States. Due to his talent, he has been dubbed the “Greek Freak”.

On Friday, Giannis, the tourism ambassador to Greece, posted a new tourism video from the latest campaign promoting his beloved country on his Instagram page – and within hours it had over 65,000 views!

“I tell my team mates: Guys, if you haven’t been to Greece you’re missing out,” Antetokounmpo told reporters on Friday, Reuters reported.. “I’m calling on people to come and get to know our country and see its beauty.”

The Milwaukee Bucks forward said that “the most important part of our Greek culture is solidarity and philanthropy,” and to this end he and his brothers are organizing a run to benefit the charity Kivotos tou Kosmou on July 7, from the Sepolia neighborhood to the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro).

Watch Giannis’ latest video promoting Greece:

Source: Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi/greekreporter

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Travel Greece: Where to go in Argolis, Peloponnese

Located at just under a 2-hour drive from Athens, the Argolis peninsula in the Peloponnese region offers many different historical sites, culture and beauty to tourists looking for a spectacular vacation in Greece.

Argos is considered to be the longest continually inhabited town and the first municipality on Greece. It is dotted with ancient ruins of citadels and theaters denoting one of the town’s greatest legends as being the home base of the Mycenaean empire which ruled over Greece from 1600 to 1100 BC.

The nearby seaport town of Nafplio is also located in the Argolis region and is a must-see on your vacation in Greece. The first capital city of Modern Greece was Nafplio and until this day you will see ruins of the fortress walls up high overlooking the town from the mountain side.

Castle of Nafplio
Photo Courtesy of Trip in View

This charming and romantic town has small streets that wrap around neoclassic buildings and squares and is the perfect place to visit anytime of the year.

Wondering where to eat? Here’s a travel tip: While visiting this historical town, be sure to check out Fish Tavern Savouras; established in 1841, it is one of the oldest restaurants in Nafplio.Next on the list of places you must visit while you travel Greece’s Argolis peninsula, is Epidavros. Here you will find everything from ancient ruins and an impressive ancient Greek theater to a quaint town with tavernas serving up local treats.

Epidavros is a must see on any trip through the Peloponnese and during the summer months there are weekend shows at the ancient theater of Epidavros, that draws in crowds of 1,000s of spectators from all around the world.

Just when you thought you have seen all that the region has to offer, you realize there is so much more history and beauty to explore when you visit . This small village was first written about by Homer, who referred to it as Asini in the Iliad which was one of the cities whose fleet took part in the Trojan War – now that’s history.

Be sure to visit the ruins of are located just outside of Tolo on top of a hilly cape. This small fishing village has become a top destination for tourists.

The place to stay while visting the region is Drepano, a village close to Tolo and next to Ancient Asini. Here you will find the located on the beach of Plaka. It’s perfect for families, friends and couples to relax and unwind. Learn more about where to stay here.

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Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi

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Top 5 Greek Investment Ideas for Santorini Holiday Businesses

The economic crisis that hit Greece in 2008 destroyed many businesses, big and small, leading hundreds of thousands of Greeks to bankruptcy and unemployment. The austerity that followed the bailout programs led to tight household budgets, making most sectors of the economy shrink to horrendous levels.

Yet, the sector that kept the Greek economy on its feet, as it has always done, is tourism. The political turmoil in Turkey that culminated in the 2016 coup attempt has deterred millions of tourists who chose the safety of Greece as a destination in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This year Greece is expected to attract a record 32 million visitors, following a record-breaking 2017, when the number exceeded 30 million. Popular destinations such as Santorini, Mykonos or Corfu received unprecedented number of tourists to the point that they could not properly host all of them.

Increased tourist arrivals mean there is a great potential for investment on particular islands. Santorini, for instance, with its incredible natural beauty tends to become a year-round destination, offering more than swimming and tanning in the summer sun.

It is a great time to start a small, profitable business in Santorini, based on the state of tourism on the island:

Limousine services

Many affluent travelers visit Santorini every year and, naturally, they demand luxury services outside the ones offered by hotels. A limo service that would pick up travelers from the airport and back, or offer luxurious rides on the mountainous island would be a great idea. Other than the archaeological sites and the beautiful beaches, limo services can offer tours to the island’s fantastic vineyards.

Wedding planning

Being one of the most romantic locations in the world, many couples choose Santorini as the place to hold their wedding ceremony and combine it with a honeymoon. Santorini is a favorite place for mass weddings, especially by Chinese and Indian couples. A wedding-planning business would be a good investment on the Cycladic island.

Yacht leasing

Other than the typical boat tours and mini cruises offered around the island, a yacht-leasing agency would be a lucrative business. Many Santorini visitors would like to tour the island’s beaches, surrounding areas and nearby islands such as Ios on their own.

Laundry and dry-cleaning services

Many visitors to Santorini stay in rented rooms and they don’t have the services a hotel offers. As extended stays on the island are frequent, a laundry service would be very convenient and affordable to tourists on a tight budget.

Private tour guides

Santorini has several places to explore, off of the beaten tourist path. The island has many vineyards that produce exceptional wines due to the volcanic mountainous terrain. Many visitors are unaware of that and this is a service that a private tour guide can offer. An agency with multilingual personnel can offer custom-made tour guide services that cater to the particular needs of visitors.

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Philip Chrysopoulos

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Greece’s ‘Little Paris’ Takes on France’s Eiffel Tower (photos)

Travelling along the west coast of Peloponnese one will come across a Greek replica of the Eiffel Tower, the iconic Paris monument.

Built in the 1960s, it is situated at the entrance of the small town of Filiatra in the Messinia prefecture.

The 26-meter replica is much smaller than the original and was built with funding and backing from Greek-American doctor Haralampos Fournarakis.

The Filiatra tower isn’t a true replica, however, since its design differs in a few major details.

As an article on the Wonders of the World points out, Fournarakis used light grey metal to construct the tower, which he shaped “a little too long.” He also placed the second floor of his tower too low, compared to the original, and changed the shape of the third floor.

But to a tourist driving by, Fournarakis’ version looks like a convincing, shorter copy of the real thing.

Filiatra locals are proud of their tower, but visitors take a different view.

One was totally unimpressed with the tower: “Helps me cut my highway speed before entering town,” he commented on the TripAdvisor web site.

Another said: “It could be clever if there was something else to do here, but that’s it guys.”

In 2012, Greek media reported that the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, incensed by the Greek tower, sent a letter of complaint to UNESCO requesting the immediate removal of the replica.

“It is an obscure caricature and represents an aesthetic attack on French civilization and global architectural heritage,” he was quoted as saying.

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Tasos Kokkinidis

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Athens Chosen as Europe’s Best City Break Tourist Destination for 2018

Athens has been unveiled as Europe’s best city break destination for 2018, with its famous Acropolis also being chosen as Europe’s best tourist destination.

The World Travel Awards (WTA) Europe Gala Ceremony 2018 was held in the Greek capital over the weekend and saw Greek hotels and resorts win in other categories too:

  • Europe’s Leading Beach Destination 2018 – Peloponnese
  • Europe’s Leading Beach Hotel 2018 – Porto Zante Villas & Spa
  • Europe’s Leading Boutique Hotel 2018 – Kivotos Mykonos
  • Europe’s Leading Luxury Island Resort 2018 – Grand Resort Lagonissi
  • Europe’s Leading Luxury Lifestyle Resort 2018 – Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Porto Heli
  • Europe’s Leading Luxury Villa Resort 2018 – Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas
  • Europe’s Leading New Resort 2018 – Lesante Blu Exclusive Beach Resort

The Greek National Tourism Organisation was also recognized as having the best national tourist strategy and campaign in 2018.

WTA was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.

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Tasos Kokkinidis

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