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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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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Best Western Southeastern Europe has appointed Charis Brousalian as the new Business Development & Marketing Director at its Athens office in Greece.

In his new role, he will aim to increase the brand awareness of Best Western in Southeastern Europe, create attractive packages, increase sales for members and deliver exceptional services for existing members.

“I am more than happy to join Best Western a well-known Global Chain with a dynamic development, sales and strong international presence,” Charis said.

With a background that includes contracting, business development, product development, media, marketing and sales, Charis brings over 20 years of experience in the tourism industry to Best Western.

Between 2010-2015, Charis was part of the team of leading online travel agency (OTA) booking.com, holding the position of Account Manager in Greece and then as Global Account Manager at the company’s Amsterdam office. In Amsterdam, he managed accounts of international hotel chains including Accor, Melia and Choice to increase revenue for booking.com.

From 2015 to 2022 he was the Sales & Marketing Manager at the leading international travel media group GTP (Greek Travel Pages) in Athens. His role at GTP included developing new products, increasing sales, securing new partners, cultivating excellent relationships with companies and clients, and representing the media at local and international travel fairs and events.

GTP’s CEO, Maria Theofanopoulou, expressed her appreciation for Charis’ contribution over the last seven years as the Sales & Marketing Manager for Greek Travel Pages.

“Although throughout these years we faced unprecedented exogenous challenges posed by an economic crisis, a pandemic and a war, Charis’ determination, dedication and ability to work through unforeseen challenges contributed to the team’s effort to overcome any disruptions. I have no doubts that he will use the same impressive amount of determination towards his new endeavor, and I wish him best of luck,” she said.

Based in Athens, the office of Western Southeastern Europe is responsible for the group’s development in 13 countries, while it supports the operation of 35 hotels in its area.

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Photo source: Olympia Odos SA

After a series of long delays, construction on one of the country’s most dangerous highways in Greece, the 74.5km Patra – Pyrgos section of the Olympia Odos Motorway will be completed by the end of 2024 or early 2025, said Greek Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis on Thursday, during the launch of works on the project.

“The new Patra-Pyrgos highway demonstrates that we provide solutions in the interest of many,” said Karamanlis announcing the start of works at the Amaliada construction site. “The new roadway means road safety, new jobs, quality of life and a better daily routine for the residents and visitors of the area,” he added. 

The Olympia Odos Motorway connects Attica with the western Peloponnese and ports linking the mainland with popular islands such as Zakynthos and Kefalonia. Last year, the Commission approved under EU state aid rules Greek public funding of around 217 million euros for the construction of the motorway.

Greek Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis.

Greek Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis.

The new roadway will allow speeds of up to 120km/h and will include an Operation and Maintenance Center, a Traffic Management Unit and a police station. Two main and two regional toll stations are set to operate with charges of 0.063 cents per kilometer.

The project will be implemented by Olympia Odos Motorway which has been awarded the concession for a period of 23 years or to the end of 2044. Under the contract, the state will contribute 216.6 million euros and Olympia Odos will finance the project with a total of 116 million euros.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

The ambitious road project is expected to boost economic activities and support investment and job creation in Western Greece and the Peloponnese by improving the interoperability, accessibility and safety of the road network as well as securing access to these areas and thus contributing to tourism growth.

“The project will be completed by mid-2025. There will be close monitoring by the ministry and the region in order to meet the schedules. A state-of-the-art highway will now connect Patra with Pyrgos and we will meet our commitment for this road to reach Olympia,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who attended the event. 

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The Metaxa Hospitality Group recently held its “Staff Welcome” event for 2022, an annual event held right before the start of the summer tourism season.

The “Staff Welcome” event aims to warmly welcome the group’s employees back to its hotels on the Greek islands of Santorini and Crete.

Held online this year under the title “Ethos – Passion – Reason” – the three concepts that form the group’s philosophy – some 800 of the Group’s employees from Crete and Santorini participated.

Metaxa Hospitality Group CEO Andreas Metaxas welcomed the group’s staff and said he was optimistic that this year would be a good tourism season, despite the difficulties.

Referring to Group’s philosophy and vision, Metaxas said: “Our people are our strength and family. All together, we share a daily smile, devotion and love, creating special and authentic hospitality which we passionately offer to our guests,” he said.

During the event, the group honored the executives being promoted or awarded as “employees of the year” in 2022, as well as the group’s employees that are retiring.

Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis, Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki and the group’s executives also took part in the “Staff Welcome” event.

“In Greece, hospitality has a face, a character and a long tradition… All this thanks to its people who every day strive to offer quality experiences and authentic pleasure to visitors. Always with meraki* and creativity,” Zacharaki said.

Based on the Greek island of Crete, the Metaxa Hospitality Group operates three high-end resorts: the Creta Maris Beach Resort (681 rooms) and the TUI Magic Life (TML) Candia Maris on Crete; and the Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa (57 rooms) on Santorini.

*Meraki is a Greek word used to describe the feeling of doing something with passion – from the heart.

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Once in Mykonos Luxury Resort

Once in Mykonos Luxury Resort, a five-star hospitality property located on the Greek island of Mykonos, is getting ready to open its doors and welcome its first guests as of May.

Located on the beach of Ornos, the new hotel is a member of Louis Hotels and a joint venture with hotel management company Trésor Hospitality.

The new luxury resort offers the opportunity both to couples and families to enjoy the distinctive features of Mykonos.

Designed by architect Fivos Stavrides and F Studio Designers, the luxury resort features 59 suites of minimal chic style, modern architecture and eco design.

The decor of all the rooms are in complete harmony with the landscape of the Cyclades’ diffusing light, featuring friendly colors and combining the classic Cycladic style with boho modern decoration. Amenities include king-size beds and flat-screen satellite TVs complete the hospitality experience.

The resort’s Design Room Suites, which include a private terrace and pool, are considered ideal for guests that seek for absolute privacy.

At the Once in Mykonos Luxury Resort, guests can enjoy unique Mediterranean flavors, crafted by Chef Nikos Skordakis, at the resort’s pool restaurant; and signature cocktails by talented mixologists.

The resort will soon announce the arrival of an international luxury restaurant brand to its premises.

Once in Mykonos Luxury Resort features facilities available for private corporate events as well as including weddings and christenings, anniversaries, birthday parties.

The resort also offers wellness experiences and its spa facilities include a jacuzzi, an indoor and an outdoor pool, signature spa products created with organic products, a gym and an outdoor yoga stage overlooking the sea.

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Cultural Affairs Ministers of Bangladesh and Greece signed a cultural sgreement in Athens.

Following the anniversary of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Greece and Bangladesh, a bilateral agreement to boost cooperation in the fields of culture and education was recently signed between Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni and Bangladesh State Minister of Cultural Affairs K.M. Khalid.

“Our bilateral relations are exceptional and will be further enhanced through the signing of this Cultural and Educational Cooperation Agreement,” Mendoni said, adding that cultural relations between Greece and Bangladesh are based on mutual respect

“A deeper, coherent, strategic cooperation will contribute to opening new perspectives for even deeper cultural exchanges,” the Greek minister said.

According to the agreement, Greece and Bangladesh will cooperate in the fields of cultural heritage and modern culture and particularly literature, music, visual and performing arts, crafts and cultural activities. The agreement also encourages the exchange of manuscripts and other publications, works of art, music programs, as well as the organization of modern and contemporary art exhibitions.

In the field of cultural heritage, the agreement foresees the exchange of archaeological exhibitions.

Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni and Bangladesh State Minister of Cultural Affairs K.M. Khalid.

“This agreement will further expand the cooperation between our educational and cultural institutions on issues related to archeology and contemporary art, and contribute to the exchange of knowledge and knowhow for the conservation and preservation of archaeological sites,” KM Khalid said.

The two countries are already cooperating – under the UNESCO conventions – for the prevention of the illicit trafficking of cultural property as well as for the management of cultural heritage and the promotion of cultural diversity.

The cultural cooperation between Greece and Bangladesh will be implemented with the signing of a three-year cultural exchange program.

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Blockchain technology can ensure safety and transparency in tourism, according to Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) President Angela Gerekou.

Speaking during an event titled “Blockchain Technology: A Bridge to ‘Smart Tourism’” at the recent Global Tourism Forum in Dubai, Gerekou underlined the importance of bringing the Greek tourism sector up to date with global digital technologies. The GNTO’s president said Greece had taken strides particularly prompted by the pandemic and stressed the need for more actions involving the integration of digital technologies into tourism.

“This includes promoting competition and incentives for interoperability in digital markets, increasing the availability of digital and complementary skills, and enhancing access to funding for innovation,” she said.

In this direction, Gerekou also referred to blockchain technology which she said has “revolutionized many parts of our daily lives”. 

“I firmly believe that tourism and blockchain have the potential to become a powerful combination as this technology offers security and transparency in many critical issues and especially in the way we travel,” she said, adding that “technology should serve the people”.

Gerekou went on to note that blockchain is expected to impact millions of people. “The key features of transparency, trust and variability can improve people’s lives by increasing the efficiency, security and verifiability of how organizations operate with a positive social impact. It is up to us to ensure the ethical use through the Blockchain Ethical Design Framework,” she concluded.

The Global Tourism Forum in Dubai was also attended by the former President of France, François Hollande; the former Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Taleb Rifai; and leading executives of international tourism organizations.

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Greece’s second ‘Moxy’ hotel recently opened its doors in the center of Athens, aiming to offer “fun hunter travelers” a playful stay in a city bursting with ancient history, vibrant culture and a thriving social scene.

Moxy is Marriott International’s experiential hotel brand. The new Moxy Athens City hotel follows the opening of Moxy Patra Marina, the first ‘Moxy’ hotel in Greece and in the Mediterranean.

Located on Stadiou Street in the city center, Moxy Athens City is located in the building known as the historic Saroglion Megaron, where the city courts of Athens once stood.

The architectural firms Kokkinou-Kourkoulas and Divercity Architects have injected innovation and creativity into the historic building. The exterior of the property has drawn inspiration from Goddess Athena’s gift to the city: the sacred olive tree. The interior is dominated by bold colors seen in various furniture accents and wall art by Athenian, Street Artist B.

Another innovation of Moxy Athens City is the LEED Gold certification, as it is the first “green” hotel in Greece that will receive this distinction.

Signature playful touches

Moxy’s signature playful touches can be found throughout the hotel. Upon arrival, guests are instantly welcomed into an immersive stay with check-in at Bar Moxy, complete with a complimentary “Got Moxy” cocktail.

The hotel includes 200+1 tech-savvy rooms with walk-in showers, LED lighting and smart technology; a 24/7 self-service grab-and-go concept; lightning speed Wi-Fi; a fitness center; and meeting event space. Moxy Athens City is also a pet friendly hotel.

Moxy Athens City is in close distance to a number of cultural attractions, including the popular Plaka district and the Acropolis. The hotel is just a short walk to Syntagma Square and Ermou Street, where guests can find shops, trendy restaurants and bars.

Dimand SA and Prodea Investments are the companies behind Moxy Athens City. SWOT Hospitality has undertaken the management of the hotel.

Moxy Athens City marks Marriott International’s ninth hotel opening in Athens.

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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.

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