ΤΟΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

Ferry arrivals to the Cyclades islands showed signs of recovery during the third quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in both 2020 and 2019 – prior to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic – according to data by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

Covering the main summer months (July, August and September), Q3 is usually Greece’s strongest in terms of tourism arrivals and revenues.

Data analysis shows that many of the popular Cyclades islands managed to cover some of the lost ground between 2019 – 2021 while others – such as Serifos and Sifnos – exceeded 2019 levels with arrivals increasing during July-September 2021 compared to the same period in 2020 and 2019.

Paros ranked first in terms of arrivals (560,479),  followed by Santorini (368,027) in second place and Mykonos (310,969) in third.

Milos (147,513 arrivals) recorded the largest increase in 2021 compared to 2019.

On the other hand, Andros, Ios, Naxos and Syros saw arrivals decrease by approximately 20,000 visitors during the third quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in 2019.

Meanwhile, the islands of Santorini, Paros, Mykonos and Milos saw arrival numbers drop further due to the – usually – longer summer tourism season.

Photo source: European Commission / Photographer: Yorgos Karahalis

Photo source: European Commission / Photographer: Yorgos Karahalis

ELSTAT’s data for ferry arrivals in Q3, 2021, are as follows:

Amorgos: 42,986 arrivals, up from 18,394 in 2020 and 40,105 in 2019
Andros: 128,201 arrivals, up from 96,498 in 2020 and down from 149,032 in 2019
Antiparos: 232,564 arrivals, up from 133,030 in 2020 and down from 236,326 in 2019
Thira (Santorini): 368,027 arrivals, up from 165,654 in 2020 and down from 575,047 in 2019
Ios: 76,225 arrivals, up from 33,415 in 2020 and down from 96,403 in 2019
Kythnos: 63,350 arrivals, up from 48,455 in 2020 and 56,851 in 2019
Milos: 147,513 arrivals, up from 85,453 in 2020 and 140,030 in 2019
Mykonos: 310,969 arrivals, up from 146,323 in 2020 and down from 438,522 in 2019
Naxos: 306,805 arrivals, up from 158,016 in 2020 and down from 324,534 in 2019
Paros: 560,479 arrivals, up from 303,699 in 2020 and down from 613,305 in 2019
Serifos: 60,036 arrivals, up from 40,659 in 2020 and 54,238 in 2019
Sifnos: 89,186 arrivals, up from 55,497 in 2020 and 87,889 in 2019
Syros: 151,357 arrivals, up from 101,440 in 2020 and down from 173,630 in 2019
Tinos: 223,629 arrivals, up from 134,049 in 2020 and down from 277,551 in 2019.

Passenger traffic at Greek ports up by 34% in Q3, 2021

Source: ELSTAT

Overall, total passenger traffic at Greek ports in the 3rd quarter of 2021 increased by 34.3 percent compared to the same period in 2020, ELSTAT said.

The number of domestic passengers reached 13,937,997, and international passengers 636,065.

Source: ELSTAT

The total movements of goods in Greek ports in the third quarter of 2021 increased by 0.2 percent compared to the third quarter 2020.

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The Lighthouse Athens Hotel, a member of Brown Hotels, officially opened its doors and is welcoming visitors to the center of the Greek capital.

Located on Omonia Square, one of the city’s main squares, the hotel features 220 fully equipped rooms that combine baroque style with modern urban elements and pioneering design.

“The new hotel is a must-visit destination for local explorers and tourists,” Brown Hotels said in an announcement.

The Lighthouse Athens features an all day café bar-restaurant on the first floor; a rooftop bar-restaurant on the 10th floor with a pool and panoramic views; and meeting rooms for business travelers.

The hotel also aspires to attract fitness and wellness afficionados in its modern fully equipped gym and indulging spa facilities.

Lighthouse Athens is housed in the building of the former La Mirage hotel, which has been fully renovated by architect Stavros Peppas of SP Architect & Partners.

Shades of blue and green colors, with black and gold details, dominate its interior that includes marble and bronze elements as well as chandeliers, velvet sofas and mirrors.

With Lighthouse Athens, Brown Hotels aims to revive Omonia square and contribute to the area’s growth.

Aiming to bring back Athens’ famed nightlife of the ’90s, the group has plans to open an underground club in the near future.

Brown Hotels, this year is planning to open three more hotels in Athens: the Brown Spices, Domino House and House Sans Rival.

In addition, the group will soon launch new resorts in Corinth, Halkida, Eretria, Corfu and Chania.

During the next three years, the group’s investment plan includes the opening of 40 hotels and resorts that are already in the process of construction and development.

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The Kālesma Mykonos luxury hotel has received two gold honors as best boutique and fine dining hotel for 2022 at the Greek Hotel of the Year Awards.

Organized annually by Boussias Communications, the event honors many different types of accommodation facilities for the prime hospitality experiences they offer to guests.

Kālesma was announced “Best Boutique Hotel for 2022”, winning the gold award in this category. Furthermore, the hotel received the gold award in the “Fine Dining Hotel 2022” category for its Pere Ubu restaurant.

The awards were received by its owners Sofia Kousathana and Aby Saltiel during a ceremony that was held in Athens on March 30.

“Kālesma Mykonos and Pere Ubu Mykonos stand out for the authentic Mykonian hospitality they offer to guests as well as chef Kostas Tsigkas’ unique gastronomy approach… highlighting Greek cuisine,” Kousathana said after the awards ceremony.

On his part, Saltiel thanked K-Studio and Studio Bonarchi-Vangelis Bonios for designing the resort’s architecture and interior areas, respectively.

“Kālesma Mykonos wishes to make guests feel at home. With the help of K-Studio and Studio Bonarchi’s Vangelis Bonios, we’ve managed to breathe life into our vision and ultimately, gain this distinction,” he said.

A paradise of privacy in the Cyclades

Kālesma Mykonos is a boutique hotel designed to resemble a summer home on Mykonos, brimming with warmth and good company. The owners’ philosophy relates to the feeling of authentic Mykonian hospitality they want guests to experience from the moment they first arrive until the day of their departure.

The new one-bedroom villas, in operation from this year, ensure absolute privacy and comfort as well as a space within which guest can enjoy premium services, such as private dinners and al fresco barbecues, with views to the infinite blue sea.

Fine dining and incredible views

In addition, the Pere Ubu Mykonos restaurant with chef Kostas Tsigkas at the helm, is a frontrunner on Mykonos’ gastronomic scene. Dishes bursting with imagination, color and the aroma of Greece, refreshing cocktails and premium wines provide the perfect pairing to all meals.

The unique view of the pool and the nearby island of Delos in the Aegean sea are some of the visitors’ favourite elements.

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The new luxury “Superstar” vessel of Greek ferry operator Seajets on April 8 will begin itineraries from the port of Rafina to the Aegean islands.

Formerly known as “SuperFerry II”, the vessel will conduct daily evening itineraries from Rafina (departure at 4.45pm) to the islands of Andros, Tinos, Mykonos and Paros.

The passenger ship can travel at a speed of up to 21 knots and carry 1,480 passengers and 240 vehicles.

“Superstar is the ideal solution for short getaways but also long stays on the islands,” Seajets said in an announcement.

The company offers a 20 percent discount for passengers, private cars and motorcycles on return tickets that will be issued until April 12 for trips with Seajet Superstar until the end of the season.

Passengers must be members of Seajets Seaclub and issue both their departure and return tickets with their membership card.

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Culture Minister Lina Mendoni at the Ottoman bath in the castle of Ioannina.

The Greek Culture Ministry has announced a strategic plan to restore and promote the landmark Ioannina castle in Western Greece.

“A set of projects and studies carried out in the area, are expected to change both the castle and the city,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said during a recent on-site inspection visit.

Among the projects run by the local Ephorate of Antiquities is the restoration and promotion of the Ottoman bath, budgeted at 1.25 million euros and funded by the Epirus regional operational program 2014-2020; the unification of the two fortresses in the northeast (Aslan Pasha mosque) and the southeast (Its Kale) sides; and the launch of studies for the renewal and modernization of the exhibitions of the Municipal and the Byzantine museums.

The ministry’s program also includes the launch of studies for the restoration of the Ottoman library and the Medrese, which is part of the Aslan Pasha mosque.

“The Castle features excellent spaces with rich history that should open to the citizens and visitors of Ioannina for sustainable use in collaboration with city organizations and private bodies,” Mendoni said.

While in Epirus, the minister met with Epirus Governor Alexandros Kachrimanis and Ioannina Mayor Moeses Elisaf.

The ancient theater of Dodoni.

Mendoni also visited the archaeological site of Dodoni where the ministry is carrying out restoration works worth some 4.79 million euros.

It should be mentioned that the region of Epirus is carrying out works in the area worth a total of 16 million euros and funded by the National Strategic Reference Framework 2014-2020.

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The European Commission recently launched the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) competition for 2023.

EDEN recognises and awards smaller destinations applying successful strategies to boost sustainable tourism through green transition practices.

The competition also promotes the development of sustainable tourism destinations that bring value to the economy, the planet, and the people.

To compete for the 2023 European Destination of Excellence title, the Commission is asking destinations to demonstrate their best practices in sustainable tourism and green transition.

The deadline for applications is on June1, at 5.00pm CET.

The current 2022 European Destination of Excellence, Middelfart in Denmark, serves as the inaugural holder of the new and improved initiative and as a sustainable tourism pioneer throughout Europe.

The competition covers EU countries and non-EU countries in the COSME programme. First, a panel of independent sustainability experts will evaluate applications.

In the second step, three shortlisted cities will present their candidature in front of the European jury. The European jury will select one winner, the European Destination of Excellence 2023, to be announced in November 2022.

The Commision will position the winning destination as a sustainable tourism pioneer committed to the European Green Deal objectives and provide expert EU level communication and branding support throughout 2023.

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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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The Greek National Tourism Organization’s (GNTO) branch in Scandinavia has been named Norway’s Best Foreign Tourism Office for 2021 at the annual Grand Travel Awards (GTA).

The awards are organized for the last 25 years by the Norwegian and Swedish editions of Travel News, a leading travel magazine in Scandinavia.

Travel News recently presented GNTO and all the winners in its online edition.

“Greece is one of the best tourism destinations for the Scandinavians,” the director of the GNTO service in Scandinavia Pavlos Mourmas said.

He also referred to Greece’s successful handling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

“We tried to meet the needs of people and inspire them by publishing new travel stories through our advertising campaigns ‘Greece from Home’ in 2020; ‘All you want is Greece’ and ‘Greece does have a winter’ in 2021,” he added.

After two years of absence due to the pandemic, the GTA awards ceremony will take place in Sweden on April 26.

The awards will be handed over to the winners by Travel News CEO David Kurtz.

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Accor, a world leading hospitality group, on Thursday announced the opening of its Niko Seaside Resort, a member of the MGallery Hotel Collection, on Crete as of April 10.

“The second MGallery property in Greece and inspiring boutique hotel, opening its doors this April, will be a wonderful chance for guests to experience the unique and inspiring character of the island,” said Cristina Ramos, COO Franchised Hotels Southern Europe at Accor.

The new resort combines the unique design aesthetics of the MGallery Hotel Collection with the cosmopolitan character of the island of Crete, creating a remarkable adults-only seaside destination.

Situated in the coastal town of Agios Nikolaos in eastern Crete, the resort offers panoramic views of Mirabello Bay.

Visitors are within walking distance from the historical sights of the island, the legendary Voulismeni Lake, and the cosmopolitan centre of the area that offers a variety of activities and experiences.

Niko Seaside Resort MGallery features 141 rooms and suites with private plunge pools and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and the historic town.

The newly renovated building features wood and marble as primary materials as well as a colour palette of grey, green, and blue shades that complement the space and its surroundings.

For those who appreciate refined flavours, the creative chefs of the hotel’s two on-site restaurants provide guests with a special culinary experience that melds the flavours of Crete with international influences.

It should also be mentioned that the resort uniquely intertwines water as one of its central features offering a truly ethereal experience.

As with every MGallery property around the world, Niko Seaside Resort MGallery has its own unique character and story to share, expressed through its Iconic Object and Memorable Moment. The resort shares the Cretan spirit of hospitality, having the Cretan Lyra as an Iconic Object and a visit to the uninhabited island of Spinalonga as a Memorable Moment .

Accor established a partnership with with Knossians Group and Hines for opening the second MGallery resort in Greece.

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Naxos Airport. Photo source: Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority

A project to improve and expand the infrastructure at the airport on the Greek island of Naxos has secured funds of 23.07 million euros by the “Transport Infrastructure, Environment and Sustainable Development 2014-2020” operational program.

According to an announcement by the Greek Investments Ministry, works include the expansion of the runway and the aircraft parking area; the improvement of the maneuvering area; the widening of existing taxiways; and the construction of two new ones.

Furthermore, funds will be allocated for security projects, as well as for archaeological research and expropriations.

Photo © Municipality of Naxos and Small Cyclades

According to the ministry, this project will create the appropriate safety conditions and improve the level of service for larger aircraft and direct flights from abroad.

It is also expected to improve air connectivity to/from Naxos and facilitate travel for the island’s residents and visitors.

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