ΤΟΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

Aiming to support events and activities that promote Greece’s tourism product and highlight its growth potential, the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) this month has put two major tourism events in Athens and Thessaloniki under its auspices.

TCB Crossroads – Thessaloniki

On April 5 the GNTO supported the “TCB Crossroads” MICE event held by the Thessaloniki Convention Bureau (TCB) in Thessaloniki.

TCB Crossroads is the first of a series of meetings focusing on Thessaloniki’s MICE industry and its contribution to the area’s economic activity.

Titled “Α MICE experts & professionals meetup”, the first event saw its organizers open a discussion on the development of professional and MICE tourism in Thessaloniki and the wider Central Macedonia region. The TCB Crossroads event also gave tips to local tourism professionals and executives on how to further grow their businesses.

The event’s speakers included GNTO Secretary General Dimitris Fragakis.

TCB Crossroads brought together representatives of pubic and private bodies, tourism business executives and students as well as local officials, university professors, communication experts and more.

Choose Greece 2022 – Athens

On April 29, the GNTO will support the “Choose Greece 2022 – The Greek Regional Hospitality Plan” tourism conference at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.

Organized for a second year by the Olympia Forum, the event’s speakers will include GNTO President Angela Gerekou, regional governors, mayors, tourism business executives and more.

The “Choose Greece 2022”event will highlight the strategic tools needed to achieve tourism growth and focus on spatial planning, the development of special forms of tourism and promotion tools.

Furthermore, participants will discuss on the new circumstances that have emerged as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war crisis.

They will also seek for effective and viable solutions to enable Greece to remain a safe destination for travelers.

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Nemea, Peloponnese. Photo source: @Visit Greece

After Santorini and Western Macedonia, the Greek Tourism Ministry is heading to the Peloponnese to Nemea, where the 3rd Wine Tourism Conference kicks off today. 

On the initiative of Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki, the event is part of the ministry’s wine tourism road show series which kicked off in July 2021 in Santorini and was followed in November by an event in Western Macedonia.

The three-day conference titled “A Trip to Wine Through Time” is jointly organized by the tourism ministry, the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), and the Peloponnese Region and aims to showcase the dynamic prospects of wine tourism and ways it can be integrated into the overall tourist experience.

Nemea is one of the key wine producing regions in Greece, boasting dozens of high quality labels.

Among others the event will include tours of wineries in the Nemea and Mantineia regions, tasting sessions and workshops.

Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias will address the event to be attended by Director – Regional Department for Europe at World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Alessandra Priante and Greek officials.

During the conference the tourism ministry will present Greece’s first wine tourism portal, which among others will include an interactive map offering information on the location of over 90 wineries across Greece and aimed at promoting the country’s wine tourism industry abroad.

A roundtable will also be held with the participation of local producers and tourism stakeholders as well as younger generation entrepreneurs. 

Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki.

Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki.

“With the valuable experience gained from the two previous events in Santorini and Western Macedonia, we continue with even greater intensity, creativity and enriched programing our effort for the international promotion of fine Greek wine production and the establishment of the Greek brand name in wine tourism internationally,” said Zacharaki, adding that the “priority now is to focus on the authenticity and multidimensional character of the experience that the visitor acquires, as well as reminding the local community of its comparative advantages which make it unique”.

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Delphi

Delphi, Greece. Photo: GTP

The recovery efforts and challenges of the 2022 tourism season will be discussed during the 7th Delphi Economic Forum 2022 that is scheduled to take place in the town of Delphi, Central Greece, during April 6-9.

Politicians, tourism officials and entrepreneurs will discuss on ways to maintain safety and accelerate tourism growth amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia – Ukraine war crisis.

The forum’s tourism agenda includes the following topics:

– growth and competitiveness opportunities for Greek tourism
– improving education, skills and employment
– investment in hospitality and tourism
– overtourism and efforts to achieve sustainable tourism.

Furthermore, during the forum, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) will present the results of its ongoing survey titled “Greek Tourism 2030 | Action Plans” that is jointly conducted by Deloitte – Remaco on behalf of its research body INSETE.

Among the forum’s speakers are Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias; Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki; Greek National Tourism Organization Secretary General Dimitris Fragakis; Tourism Policy Secretary General Olympia Anastasopoulou; SETE President Yiannis Retsos; Marketing Greece CEO Ioanna Dretta; Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos; Crowne Plaza Director of Experience and Communication Emmanouela Moussama; HotelBrain Founder Panos Paleologos; SWOT Hospitality President Stelios Koutsivitis; Leopard Hospitality Leon Avigad and many more.

The theme of the 7th Delphi Economic Forum is “New realities”.

Greek culture

The forum will also attempt to highlight the challenges and opportunities for Greece’s cultural heritage with discussions focusing on the following issues:

– climate change and its impact on cultural heritage
– preservation of cultural and natural heritage
– culture innovation and systemic change
– arts and investments
– culture and gender equality.

Archaeological Museum of Delphi. Photo source: Ministry of Culture

Among the forum’s speakers are Culture Minister Lina Mendoni; British Novelist Victoria Hislop; Europa Nostra Secretary General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović; and Principal Advisor to the Greek PM George Kremlis, among many others.

The Delphi Economic Forum 2022 will take place as a live event in Delphi during April 6-9.

The forum’s sessions will be available online free of charge at www.delphiforum.gr (registration is required).

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Herod Atticus Odeon Photo source: aefestival.gr / Thomas Daskalakis

The Athens Epidaurus Festival unveiled its artistic program for 2022, during a press conference that was held in Athens earlier this week.

In its 67th edition, the festival will feature some 70 productions and 2,000 performers, both Greek and foreign. Concerts and performances are scheduled to run from the end of May until August at the Herod Atticus Odeon, the ancient theater of Epidaurus, the little theater of Epidaurus and the festival’s premises on 260, Pireos Street in Athens.

The program will feature world renowned artists such as Max Richter, John Eliot Gardiner, Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, Ivo Van Hove, Ross Daly, Philippe Quesne, Christiane Jatahy, Leonidas Kavakos, Maria Farantouri and many more.

Athens Epidaurus Festival Artistic Director Katerina Evangelatos. Photo source: aefestival.gr / Ioanna Chatziandreou

According to Athens Epidaurus Festival Artistic Director Katerina Evangelatos, the organization was severely affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic during the past two years but it never stopped its activity.

“We aim for the festival to be a place of freedom always ‘in dialogue’ with our era and hive of creativity,” she said, during the media event.

New visual identity

Evangelatos also presented the festival’s visual identity for 2022 which highlights the festival’s locations – Athens and Epidaurus – through multi-color designs.

The new visual identity was co-created by G Design Studio and Jannis Varelas.

In addition, during the media event, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni announced that the premises of 260, Pireos Street will permanently house the administrative services of the festival and the Fund of Archaeological Proceeds (ODAP).

“We anticipate that within the next 12 months the festival will acquire its own space to house its offices and host its performances,” Mendoni said.

For the complete program of the Athens Epidaurus Festival 2022 (in English), press here.

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The Delphi Economic Forum 2022 is returning to the historic town of Delphi in central Greece for its seventh edition that will take place as a live event during April 6-9.

The forum in 2020 was held online due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, while in 2021 it took place in hybrid form in Athens.

This year, the forum returns to Delphi with some confirmed 760 speakers from 36 countries.

“We are happy to return to Delphi after the unfortunate events of the last couple of years,” Delphi Economic Forum President Symeon Tsomokos told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday.

“We have 314 speakers coming from abroad… This means that Delphi Forum is not a Greek event any more… it has taken an international dimension,” he added.

Delphi Economic Forum President Symeon Tsomokos

Under the title “New Realities”, the 7th Delphi Economic Forum will host prominent personalities from the field of politics including European presidents, prime ministers, EU commissioners and ministers as well as scientists, university professors, entrepreneurs and many more.

Among them are United Nations Secretary-General in Geneva Tatiana Valovaya; European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis; OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann; and International Energy Agency Deputy Executive Director Mary Burce Warlick.

Furthermore, the forum will host Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Hellenic Republic President Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

The agenda of the four-day forum includes panel discussions on the global impact of the pandemic as well as on the consequences of the Ukraine – Russia crisis for Europe and the rest of the world.

Discussions will evolve around the following topics:

– International security
– Global economy
– Climate crisis
– EU: The future of Europe
– Technological change and economic transformation
– Greece: The course towards strong and stable recovery
– People and society

Tourism and culture

Tourism and culture will also be on the forum’s agenda with discussions focusing on the recovery efforts, growth opportunities and ongoing investments.

Furthermore, during the forum, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) will present the results of its ongoing survey titled “Greek Tourism 2030 | Action Plans” that is jointly conducted by Deloitte – Remaco on behalf of its research body INSETE. The first part of the survey was released to the public in December 2021.

The Delphi Economic Forum will take place in accordance with the latest health protocols announced by Greek authorities.

The forum’s sessions will be broadcast online free of charge at www.delphiforum.gr (registration is required).

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French tour operators and agents met in the coastal town of Loutraki over the weekend for their annual “Forces de Ventes” conference inaugurated by Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias.

The event was organized by French tour operator Selectour – France’s leading network of independent travel agencies – with the support of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO).

Speaking during the event, Kikilias said he expects a good year ahead backed by strong tourism flows from France. He added that based on feedback, the rate of bookings from the French market was “dynamic” and in many cases exceeded pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

Over 3 million available airline seats from French market

Kikilias went on to highlight the importance of the French market for Greece adding that this year there are more than 3 million available airline seats to Greece.

“The French have a lifelong relationship with Greece as they visit our country an average of four times in their life: as a child, as a student, as a young couple and as a parent,” he said.

Kikilias also thanked French tour operators and agents for their vote of confidence in Greece over the last two years. He noted that the French, one of Greece key source markets, are repeat visitors, which makes the tourism ministry’s strategy to extend the season and promote lesser-known destinations all the more relevant.

Lastly, addressing “Forces de Ventes” delegates, the minister announced plans to establish Greece into a leader in sustainable tourism.

“To achieve this goal, we are investing in research, utilizing new financial tools and scientific methods. The challenge is great. The sector’s response to this challenge should include tourism enterprises that will provide quality services with a genuine environmental footprint and respect for the particular local identity,” he said.

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that its 78th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit will take place  in Doha, Qatar, during June 19-21.

Both events will be hosted by Qatar Airways. This will be the second time that the global gathering of aviation’s top leaders will be held in Qatar; the first being in 2014.

Originally, the 78th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit were planned for the same dates in Shanghai, China, hosted by China Eastern Airlines. The decision to change the venue reflects continuing Covid-19 related restrictions on travel to China.

“This year’s AGM will be an important opportunity for aviation’s leaders to reflect on the shifting political, economic, and technological realities facing air travel as the industry’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic gathers pace,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

IATA  represents some 290 airlines comprising 83 percent of global air traffic.

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Hotel Grande Bretagne and King George at Syntagma Square in central Athens.

The Hotel Grande Bretagne and King George Hotel in Athens, will go dark for one hour on March 26 to support the Earth Hour 2022 initiative and raise awareness on climate change.

The hotels will join millions around the world in turning off their lights at 8:30 p.m. local time to “illuminate” a powerful message about environmental awareness and action. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) created the annual global environmental awareness event 15 years ago to emphasize the threat of climate change.

“Our partaking in Earth Hour aligns with our organization’s sustainability and social impact philosophy aiming to practice year round and ‘do good in every direction’,” said Hom Parviz, general manager of Grande Bretagne and King George.

Both hotels will participate with several activities which include: turn off exterior signage lighting; dim or turn off non-essential interior lighting; use candlelight in appropriate public areas such as restaurants and bars; and use in-room voicemail messages and in-room television messages to inform guests about Earth Hour observances.

In efforts to encourage hotel associates to take part in this action, the hotels have created two events titled “Your Earth Hour” and “Make a Meaningful Promise” in which winners and participants will be rewarded for their efforts.

The hotels’ manager, Marriott International, is also celebrating Earth Hour as a great opportunity to engage with guests and raise awareness about environmental issues across the world.

The company has launched the “Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction” sustainability and social impact platform which guides its efforts to deliver continuous positive results and affect global change.

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Photo source: Parnassos Ski Center

The Parnassos Ski Center is inviting skiers to enjoy night skiing activities at its premises during the March 25 long weekend.

The ski center will be open on Friday and Saturday, and possibly on Sunday, if weather permits.

The center’s manager Public Properties Company (ETAD) has announced that a special night skiing event will be held on March 25.

“Get ready to share unforgettable skiing moments as March has offered us a rare phenomenon for Greece: amazing temperatures and plenty of fresh snow,” ETAD said.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the center’s ski runs for longer during the day but also after dark for night skiing.

Photo source: Parnassos Ski Center

The Parnassos Ski Center is located at an altitude of 2,457m in the areas of Kelaria and Fterrolakas near the town of Delphi in Central Greece. It offers 23 ski runs 34km in total, a renovated chalet and eating areas.

The center’s staff, medical services and chalet will be available to skiers and visitors throughout its operation.

More information is available on Parnassos Ski Center’s social media (Facebook, Instagram) and at https://parnassos-ski.gr/?lang=en.

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The Athens Photo Festival 2022 has extended the deadline for the submission of works by artists and photographers until March 25.

Exploring a variety of cultural, artistic, social, and political perspectives, Athens Photo Festival is committed to providing a diverse and inclusive platform for the exchange of ideas, artistic expression and engagement through photography and visual culture.

The festival will feature the work of over 100 artists from all over the world. It will host works from the entire spectrum of the photographic medium ranging from fine arts, conceptual, documentary photography and photo-journalism to other media including video, performance and installation.

Selected works will be on display from June 6 until July 24, at the Benaki Museum in Athens.

Photo source: Athens Photo Festival

In addition to the exhibitions, the festival will feature a multi-layered program of events including learning activities, networking and talent development opportunities, community outreach and public programs.

More information is available at www.photofestival.gr.

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