ΤΟΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

The Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) is calling on the government to introduce measures that will support enterprises reliant on tourism from the Russian market and find ways to compensate for losses as a result of the war in Ukraine.

In a letter to government officials, including Finance Minister Christos Staikouras and Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, SETE is requesting that tourism operations doing business with Russia be allowed to suspend tax and insurance obligations (current and past installments); be given the option to suspend up to two-thirds of employment contracts (put staff on furlough); and suspend deadlines for the payment of issuance securities.  

Companies are eligible for support provided 55 percent of total turnover recorded in 2019 was generated from the Russian or neighboring markets. Though the Russian market is not a main source market, in pre-pandemic 2019, some 530,000 travelers from Russia visited Greece.

“As a result of the war in Ukraine, planning for these operations has been completely overturned. Russian and Ukrainian tourists are not expected to come to Greece this year, while we do not know what will happen to tourists coming from other countries,” said SETE.

“Given that it is objectively impossible shortly before the start of the tourist season for these companies to be able to fill the gap created by entering into new partnerships with other tourist markets, [these companies] should be supported in the near future, so that they can remain in operation and retain jobs.”

Follow GTP Headlines on Google News to keep up to date with all the latest on tourism and travel in Greece. ΠΗΓΗ GTP

ΤΟΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

Photo source: TUI Group (© Gregorschläger)

Leisure travel giant TUI Group is moving full speed ahead with plans to bring more than 3 million visitors to Greece this year – much earlier than ever before and exceeding pre-Covid 2019 levels.

Earlier this week on Crete, the company named a TUI fly Boeing 737-8 “Heraklion” after the island’s capital, where the group does business.

Irini Vasiliou, the godmother of the TUI fly “Heraklion” Boeing 737-8 aircraft. Photo source: TUI Group (© Gregorschläger)

On Sunday, also in Heraklion, TUI Cruises CEO Wybcke Meier launched the company’s “Mein Schiff 5” cruise ship with 1,650 guests which departed for a cruise to the Greek islands marking the start of the homeporting season.

In the meantime, TUI Fly Managing Director Oliver Lackmann said the group had added 62 new flights from Germany in April to Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, Kos and the Peloponnese. TUI will run some 40,000 flights to 19 Greek airports this year. About one-third of TUI fly flights from Germany to Greece will fly to the airports of Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, Kos and the Peloponnese. Lackmann added that apart from the daily TUI flights from Germany, TUI aircraft will fly to Greek destinations from Great Britain, Belgium, France, the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands. 

“This year, we offer a total of about 40,000 flights to 19 Greek airports. 9,000 take-offs and landings are planned throughout Europe from and to Crete alone. However, we have scheduled flights to smaller destinations such as Samos, Skiathos and Zakynthos,” he said.

Photo source: TUI Group (© Gregorschläger)

The TUI aircraft naming ceremony together with the cruise departure marked the dynamic launch of this year’s tourism season for TUI, which is the leading  tour operator on the Greek market expanding it services this year more than ever before.

Additionally, TUI has included more than 4,500 hotels at 24 destinations in its packages for Greece and holds a strong position in the local hotel sector with about 40 hotels operating under the TUI brand, including Robinson, TUI Magic Life, TUI Blue, TUI Suneo and TUI Kids Clubs. It has also added this year two 5-star hotels: the TUI Blue Sensatori Atlantica Caldera Palace on Crete and the TUI Blue Sensatori Atlantica Dreams Resort on Rhodes.

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias. Photo source: TUI (© Gregorschläger)

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias. Photo source: TUI (© Gregorschläger)

“We are delighted that TUI is aiming for a record number of visitors with over 3 million to Greece,” said Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, adding that travelers with TUI will be coming to Greece four weeks earlier this year.

“We have an excellent cooperation and a relationship of trust with TUI for more than five decades. We are optimistic and look forward to a successful tourism season,” he said.

Follow GTP Headlines on Google News to keep up to date with all the latest on tourism and travel in Greece. ΠΗΓΗ GTP

ΤΟΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt and Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias sign the Memorandum of Understanding.

Greece and the US are expanding their ties in tourism ahead of the season after Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt, at the Acropolis Museum in Athens on Monday.

The five-year agreement comes three decades after the previous MoU and foresees the enhancement of bilateral cooperation in tourism aimed at boosting trade in travel services between the two countries.

Under the deal, Greece and the US will exchange best practices in travel & tourism and tourism promotion, in innovation and digitization of provided tourism services, as well as information on investment opportunities, tourism statistics, data research, tourism policy and developments in the global tourism market, including new tourism products and services, know-how for the development of specific forms of tourism and for upgraded tourism education and training.

“Today’s agreement with a duration of five years is another example of the seamless cooperation between our two countries in the field of tourism. It is at the same time, an essential step to make this cooperation even more targeted and efficient in specific areas, especially at this given time,” said the minister.

Kikilias went on to add that through the MoU, Greece hopes to boost bilateral trade in travel services. He underlined that cooperation between the two countries was already very strong as demonstrated by the record number of direct flights from the US – nine daily flights and more than 460,000 available airline seats.

Cooperation, said Kikilias not only concerns visitors but also investors, who have expressed interest in doing business in Greece “and we want to further strengthen the momentum between the two countries”.

“We are moving forward with sound steps towards the development of a sustainable tourism model with solid collaborations and care to address daily issues with the ultimate goal of creating added value for the Greek economy and for every household,” said Kikilias.

Photo source: @USAmbPyatt

Referring to the “updated” US-Greece MoU on tourism, Ambassador Pyatt said it “solidifies the outstanding relationship that we have with Greece as a tourism partner”.

“We saw Greece’s tourism economy rebound in unexpected ways last summer.  Americans, I am glad to say, flocked to Greece, thanks in part to the nine direct flights from Athens that American carriers added to their schedules,” he said. 

“This year, there will be a total of 14 direct flights from the United States to Athens.  Many of these will continue as late as October, ensuring that visitors have plenty of opportunity to take a well-deserved vacation and to enjoy the unique pleasures of this country,” said Pyatt.

The ambassador went on to add that cooperation in tourism between Greece and the US “go beyond just our airline carriers. US cruise companies, like Royal Caribbean and Disney, are ready to embrace the Greek summer… US hotel brands, including Best Western, Wyndham, Regency, Starwood, Conrad/Hilton and Marriott, have been present in Greece and are growing ready to open their doors for visitors from around the world… US firms linked to the tourism industry like Uber, Airbnb, VBRO, all contribute to the tourism economy creating jobs, bringing in revenue and providing an array of different experiences for visitors”. 

Follow GTP Headlines on Google News to keep up to date with all the latest on tourism and travel in Greece. ΠΗΓΗ GTP

ΤΟΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias. Photo source: Greek Tourism Ministry

Greece is ready to welcome visitors as the tourism season kicks off earlier thanks to ongoing efforts by the ministry and industry stakeholders, said Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias during the naming ceremony of a TUI fly aircraft on Crete on Monday.

Speaking during the event held at the Nikos Kazantzakis Airport, Kikilias reiterated the ministry’s goals for the year ahead which include extending the tourism season, expanding destinations, and moving ahead with the implementation of a sustainable tourism model.

Global tour operator TUI named one of its Boeing 737-8 aircraft “Heraklion”, after the capital of Crete, where the group does business.

Oliver Lackmann, Chief Flight Operations Officer TUI Airline, with godmother Irini Vasiliou, and the TUI fly crew of the new Boeing 737-8 on Crete. Photo source: TUI (© Gregorschläger)

Oliver Lackmann, Chief Flight Operations Officer TUI Airline, with godmother Irini Vasiliou, and the TUI fly crew of the new Boeing 737-8 on Crete. Photo source: TUI (© Gregorschläger)

“There is a positive trend in demand at the moment and that is why we’ve brought the first arrivals four weeks earlier,” said Managing Director TUI Fly Oliver Lackmann. He added that TUI Group is planning on bringing about 3 million visitors to Greece and that it had added 62 new flights for April to Crete, Rhodes and Kos.

In total TUI this year expects to operate some 40,000 flights to 19 Greek airports with 9,000 from European destinations from and to Crete alone.

The traditional water arch welcomed the new Boeing 737-8 of TUI fly at Heraklion airport. Photo source: TUI (© Gregorschläger)

The traditional water arch welcomed the new Boeing 737-8 of TUI fly at Heraklion airport. Photo source: TUI (© Gregorschläger)

Kikilas called on tourism stakeholders – hoteliers, travel agents, airlines and travel agencies – to make a coordinated, organized and strong effort every day, so that more visitors come to Greece.

The minister expressed his optimism about welcoming visitors earlier than ever before, adding that the goal in 2022 will be to attract “more travelers, more higher-income visitors, who respect customs and culture, love Greece and will come again and again, thus supporting the hundreds of thousands of people active in tourism”. 

On Sunday, also in Heraklion, Crete, Kikilias and TUI Cruises CEO Wybcke Meier marked the start of the homeporting season on TUI Cruises’ “Mein Schiff 5”. With 1,650 guests on board, the cruise ship departed the port of Heraklion for a cruise to the Greek islands.

Follow GTP Headlines on Google News to keep up to date with all the latest on tourism and travel in Greece. ΠΗΓΗ GTP

ΤΟΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

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”.

Follow GTP Headlines on Google News to keep up to date with all the latest on tourism and travel in Greece. ΠΗΓΗ GTP

ΤΟΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ
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).

Follow GTP Headlines on Google News to keep up to date with all the latest on tourism and travel in Greece. ΠΗΓΗ GTP

ΤΟΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

Greece hopes to bring together Mediterranean countries for cooperation in tourism, according to Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias.

Speaking on Wednesday with his Israeli counterpart Yoel Razvozov, on the sidelines of the International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) trade show in Tel Aviv, Kikilias said Greece plans to initiate a “regional cooperation in tourism” between Mediterranean countries. Razvozov applauded the idea and said that Israel supports the Greek initiative.

Among others, the two ministers discussed strengthening mutual actions in tourism with a focus on marine tourism. 

While in Tel Aviv, Kikilias met with airline executives EL AL Airlines CEO Avigal Soreq and Arkia Airlines CEO Gadi Tepper. Israel’s two largest carriers agreed to increase flights to Greek destinations for 2022. Arkia also announced a flight to the coastal town of Volos.

Moreover, the minister’s agenda included meetings with major Israeli tour operators and travel agents as part of the ministry’s efforts to increase tourist flows between the two countries as well as introduce Israeli travelers to historic Jewish sites and to alternative tourism options (medical tourism, gastronomy tourism, winter tourism) in an effort to extend their stay in Greece

During IMTM, Kikilias also met with Israeli investors, who expressed interest in Athens and mainland Greece.

Lastly, during his visit to Israel, Kikilias spoke with local media through which he extended an invitation to readers and viewers to visit Greece all year round.

Follow GTP Headlines on Google News to keep up to date with all the latest on tourism and travel in Greece. ΠΗΓΗ GTP

ΤΟΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

Greece is seeing a strong tourism and investment interest from the Israeli market, according to Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias.

In Israel on an official visit, Minister Kikilias attended the opening ceremony of this year’s International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) trade show in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

While inaugurating the stand of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), the Greek tourism minister said that following meetings at IMTM 2022, the Israeli market is showing a “strong tourism and investment interest” for Greece.

“We are a safe country that our Israeli friends will visit this year to multiple airline destinations from Tel Aviv. We will welcome them in our cities and islands and they will have many possibilities and opportunities to visit magical destinations,” the minister said.

Kikilias’ agenda in Israel includes meetings with Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov, Israeli investors, executives of the Israeli tourism market and representatives of airlines and tour operators.

On Monday, Kikilias met with Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem at the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

In its 28th edition, IMTM is Israel’s largest annual professional trade show that aims to promote incoming, domestic and outgoing tourism and to strengthen cooperation among the sector’s bodies in the country and over the world.

Follow GTP Headlines on Google News to keep up to date with all the latest on tourism and travel in Greece. ΠΗΓΗ GTP

ΤΟΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

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.

Follow GTP Headlines on Google News to keep up to date with all the latest on tourism and travel in Greece. ΠΗΓΗ GTP

ΤΟΥΡΙΣΜΟΣ

The Greek Tourism Ministry is moving closer to employing a data driven approach when formulating policies, especially for Athens, with the aim of ensuring targeted and farther reaching actions for the sector’s development, according to Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias

Referring to the Greek capital in an interview to Ready2 Board magazine, released by Athens International Airport (AIA), Kikilias said that based on demand and feedback, Athens was evolving into a top tourist and remote work destination.

The minister said “the city was being transformed” thanks to the enhancement of its coastal front with significant investments and the upgrade of the city center with the creation of new hotels and modernized facilities.

Athens is also emerging as an attractive destination for digital nomads and has a dynamic tourism startup ecosystem, he added.

Kikilias added that AIA has contributed to the overall traveler experience as the first image of Athens and Greece upon arrival. 

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias

In addition to hotel investments, the minister also referred to infrastructure upgrades, the diversification of the tourist product, actions for the protection of the environment and sustainability initiatives as well as updated professional training and support of entrepreneurship, which are key ministry priorities and which will in large part be funded by national and EU resilience funds.

In this direction, Kikilias said together with an action plan tabled by the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), the initiatives, projects and investments will contribute to creating a new tourism model for Greece. 

According to a recent INSETE study, revenue from Greek tourism can increase to 27 billion euros annually by 2030 from the previous record of 18 billion euros in pre-Covid 2019.

Lastly, Kikilias said actions were being taken to develop ecotourism. In this direction, he announced the establishment of specially trained rescue teams for the mountainous regions of Greece according to standards of Switzerland, France and Italy. “We want people to get to know nature, to enjoy it with respect and, above all, in safety,” he said.

Follow GTP Headlines on Google News to keep up to date with all the latest on tourism and travel in Greece. ΠΗΓΗ GTP