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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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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Vigla Hotel, Amorgos

The Vigla Hotel on the Greek island of Amorgos has announced that it will reopen its doors and welcome guests on April 10.

Located in the village of Tholaria on the north part of the island, Vigla Hotel offers high quality services and authentic hospitality in its recently renovated rooms, as well as stunning views of the Aegiali bay.

“We know that now, more than ever, travelers are looking for carefree safe holidays. We are here to make it happen,” Vigla Hotel Managing Director Despina Giannakopoulou said.

The village of Tholaria and the bay of Aegiali on Amorgos.

The hotel has maintained all its safety-conscious measures to ensure maximum safety for its guests and employees against the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

For example, the hotel offers disinfectant dispensers for guests in all rooms and public areas as well as contactless procedures such as online check in and digitalized menus supported by QR code or special links.

Photo source: Vigla Hotel

Meanwhile, Vigla Hotel provides its guests with the opportunity to experience new activities via the Dream Blue, its specialized travel agency promoting the beauties of Amorgos.

“Aiming to make nature-based physical activity accessible to all, we propose hiking routes and road trips to the amazing nature of Amorgos with our expert guides. In addition, we offer a number of indoor activities such as cooking and dance lessons,” Giannakopoulou said. More information is available on the website of Dream Blue here.

To celebrate its opening, Vigla Hotel has launched a special campaign with an exclusive offer of 15 percent discount for long stays.

In addition, the hotel continues last year’s #be_a_traveller_again offer with a 10 percent discount.

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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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Photo source: Kalamata Municipality

Construction of a seaplane port in the town of Kalamata is set to begin after local government and relevant ministries approved licensing, Hellenic Seaplanes announced this week. 

Once completed, the Kalamata port will be connected with a wider waterway network linking the Greek islands through seaplane transport. The project is expected to improve access, increase tourism to the region, boost revenues, and create new jobs.

Running the licensing procedures, Hellenic Seaplanes is aiming to be the first in Greece to offer hydroplane connections to the Cyclades and Dodecanese islands. The company said that it was now drawing up a tentative hydroplane flight schedule connecting Kalamata with the Ionian islands, Kythira, Patra, Lake Taka, Kyllini and Laconian Mani.

“This initiative is expected to support the region’s strategic plan for the support and further development of tourism in Kalamata and in the Peloponnese,” said Peloponnese Regional Governor Panagiotis Nikas.

Peloponnese Regional Governor Panagiotis Nikas.

Peloponnese Regional Governor Panagiotis Nikas.

“The establishment of a waterway in Kalamata creates an important development perspective as it strengthens the tourism sector, which is a key pillar of development for Greece, while creating a significant investment field with considerable benefits. In addition, the use of seaplanes is expected to strengthen efforts to meet the growing demands of travel as seaplanes can transport passengers and cargo as well as create hundreds of new jobs,” Nikas said.

“With its own waterway, Kalamata will have all the components in place to further strengthen its position on the tourist map of Greece, hosting thousands of travelers but also serving the locals and their commercial activities on a daily basis,” said Hellenic Seaplanes President and CEO Nikolas Charalambous.

Hellenic Seaplanes plans to launch its first flights from the islands of Tinos – where waterway infrastructure is already underway; Patmos with works near completion; and Sifnos, where works will begin immediately, the company said.

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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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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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