Sunday, 19 May 2024
Athens
17
05
2024
It will also stay open longer, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., while the restaurant will be serving until midnight.  As on every weekend, visitors can enjoy the gallery tour “Saturday in the Museum with 20+1 masterpieces,” where archaeologists reveal the stories behind selected masterpieces.  To register for a spot on the English-language tour, which takes place at 10.30 a.m., click here: https://events.theacropolismuseum.gr/
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Athens
14
05
2024
As Kefalogianni emphasized, the Regional Tourism Council represents a significant new tool that will assist in planning and shaping Greece's tourism strategy. Kefalogianni stressed that the Regional Tourism Council serves as an advisory body in shaping and planning tourism policy with the aim of the qualitative and sustainable development of Greek tourism. She referred to recent legislative interventions by the Ministry of Tourism, specifically: Strengthening the operation of the National Observatory for Sustainable Tourism Development Establishing the Observatory for Coastal and Maritime Tourism in the Mediterranean and Turning the Wine Tourism Council into an institution. Apostolos Tzitzikostas, regional governor of Central Macedonia and president of the Association of Greek Regions, stressed that it is necessary to make it clear to everyone that "tourism and development are not possible without the participation of the regions." He also stressed that "over the years, we have demonstrated our ability to utilize our available resources and utilize them in a way that upgrades our destinations and promotes them globally."
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Thessaloniki
27
04
2024
Speaking at the conference “Greece Talks_Thessaloniki: Thessaloniki on the tourist map,” he referred to initiatives to increase the air connections between the US and Greece, and clarified that “We are pressing on this, not only to increase them, but to bring them to Thessaloniki as well.” He stressed that United Airlines would be the most likely candidate airline to do so, due to the connectivity that is necessary, that is, people coming from the US, going to Thessaloniki and then able to travel to the Balkans. Tsunis further noted that there are no flights from Miami, Texas, Seattle, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and the second largest market in the US, Los Angeles. He emphasized that continuous investments should be made in airports and further mentioned the prospect of strengthening the cruise industry. The US ambassador also noted that while Americans have discovered Greece as one of the most popular destinations in the world, but there is also a need to diversify the way they see tourism in Greece. Finally, Tsunis pointed to the need to diversify the tourism season and expand the tourism product, with investments in infrastructure such as golf courses.  
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Athens
25
04
2024
The limited-access visa will allow Turks to visit 10 Greek islands for up to a week without having to apply for full access to the European Union’s passport-free travel zone, known as the Schengen area. NATO members Greece and Turkey launched several initiatives last year to try and sidestep decades-old disputes — mostly over sea boundaries and mineral rights in the Aegean Sea— to focus on trade. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in December to sign a series of bilateral cooperation agreements in Athens. Mitsotakis will visit Turkey next month. “The express visa can be issued not only in summer, but all year round. The measure is designed to boost tourism in areas and at times of the year when there is not a lot of traffic, so it will help the local economies,” Mitsotakis wrote in a weekly online post Sunday. Granted at participating Greek ports, the new visa will cost 60 euros and will include a passport check and fingerprint recording, while visitors will not be allowed to travel onto other EU member states, Greek officials said. “The new system is ready and there is a lot of demand from Turkish visitors. But there were no boats scheduled to arrive today. We will have arrivals later this week,” Vassilis Vayiannakis, head of the Rhodes Port Fund, told the AP. The islands in the vacation visa program all lie near the Turkish coastline and also include Lesbos, Limnos, Chios, Samos, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, Symi and Kastellorizo, with the smaller islands due to join in June. Turkey has long sought more relaxed travel rules for its citizens visiting the EU in exchange for its cooperation with member states of the bloc that include efforts to curb illegal immigration. Tourism is a vital industry for the Greek economy. The country welcomed 32.7 million visitors last year, raising 20.5 billion euros, according to central bank data.  
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Athens
20
04
2024
Specifically, from 07:30 to 13:30, there will be gradual and temporary traffic interruptions along the road sections in areas of the Municipalities of Athens, Filothei-Psychiko, Chalandri, Agia Paraskevi, Maroussi and Nea Filadelfeia - Chalkidona.
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Athens
20
04
2024
At an event presenting the Tourism Ministry’s strategy to attract more LGBTQ+ visitors to the country, Kefalogianni said that Greece is the first country in Europe to open its arms to the community, and this agreement reflects the values Greece wants to promote as a tourism destination. The community represents over 10% of global demand and nearly 16% of total expenditures in the tourism sector, which in absolute numbers exceeds $195 billion. Greek initiatives include connecting the ministry’s national strategy with those of local destinations; amending the framework regulating hotel-customer relations; rating tourist accommodation on the degree of staff awareness and services to the LGBTQ+ community, and building relationships with specialized travel agencies and organizations abroad. Queer Destinations has a presence in 14 countries and trains tourism professionals to cater to the needs of LGBTQ+ travelers. It networks with over 300 partners, including hotels.
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Athens
19
04
2024
According to an announcement by SOS Children's Villages, these are gifts and candles that will delight young and old and decorations that will highlight every corner of the house, garden and terrace and will give an Easter touch of joy to all areas. The entire Easter collection is also available in the SOS Children's Villages e-shop, where those interested can choose from a variety of Easter gifts, candles, and electronic Easter cards to wish their loved ones. With every purchase, small or large, from the Easter bazaar or from the Organization's e-shop, the announcement points out, we send our own message of love, supporting the important work of SOS Children's Villages.
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19
04
2024
Activities for the whole family, fine gastronomy and customs that are revived in the truest Greek celebration, accompany the charofolio of services that visitors will encounter. Those who choose Corfu Imperial and Eva Palace in Corfu, in addition to the custom of Botis, will have the exclusive opportunity to experience a magical Resurrection and an unforgettable feast for Easter Sunday at Danilia, as it only happens in Corfu. In Kyllini and Mandola Rosa Easter is combined with sports activities, while for those who want an authentic Cretan feast, in Rethymno the Creta Palace, the boutique Plaza Beach House, the Club Marine Palace & Aqua Park in Panormo and Amirandes in Heraklion have started to accept bookings for the Easter period. Finally, the custom of "Kiss of Love" will be revived at Cape Sounio, with chugging and filets. For this Easter, Grecotel, as highlighted in the announcement, is offering free accommodation for children up to 12 years old.
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04
04
2024
In 2023 the group introduced a new hotel concept, the Amyth Hotels, on Mykonos island. The first hotel began operation in April 2023 in Agios Stefanos, while a new Amyth Hotel will open in the popular Super Paradise area in May 2024, at  fully renovated complex consisting of 50 rooms, suites and villas. At the same time, the group will provide the Greek market with upgraded hotel management services through partnerships with asset owners as well as with existing hotel owners.
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Athens
31
03
2024
A lack of male pygmy hippos in captivity had complicated breeding efforts, so zoo staff were “absolutely thrilled” the baby was a boy, Noi Psaroudaki, the zoo’s wildlife veterinarian, told Reuters. “This is the first birth in the zoo in 2024, and what a birth!” Psaroudaki said. “Every captive birth of pygmy hippos is extremely important. We’re very happy to see this baby grow into a healthy adult hippo, and hopefully one day reproduce,” she said. Pygmy hippos are native to swamps and rainforests in western Africa. They are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and it is estimated only about 2,000-2,500 still live in the wild. Weighing 7 kg (15.4 pounds), the male calf – whose name will go to a vote – was born on Feb. 19 and joins his parents Lizzie and Jamal as the only pygmy hippos at the zoo. The hippo, solitary and nocturnal by nature, will remain with its mother for a couple of months until it ventures into the outdoors enclosure. [Reuters]   Pygmy hippo: Not only cute, but extremely important The birth of a male pygmy hippopotamus at Athens’ Attica Zoological Park on feb. 19 was viewed as an important development for the survival of its species. The hippo belongs to one of the rarest and most endangered species. It is estimated that only 2,000 – 2,500 live in the wild and more specifically in the Ivory Coast, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Their main characteristic, as evidenced by their name, is their size. It is five times smaller and 10 times lighter than ordinary hippos, while they also have a smaller upper jaw. This particular hippopotamus – still unnamed – has now reached 18 kilograms. The experts who monitor its health say that they are particularly happy with his development, adding that the fact that it is a boy is a positive development.  “The ratio of female to male pygmy hippos in zoos is 7 to 1, so you understand that the birth of a boy is important for the evolution of his species,” zoo founder and CEO, Jean Jacques Lesueur, tells Kathimerini. The young mammal’s parents, Lizzie (named after late Queen Elizabeth II, as she was born on her birthday) and Jamal, are in their 20s, and hippos of this species reach around 30 years of age in captivity. The important thing is that both have a registered family tree, as in such rare animals there is always the risk of inbreeding. “Consider that in 2023 we had a total of 12 births in zoos and about half survived. Lizzie had previously given birth to four other babies, three of whom survived. We don’t have them here in the park, just like we won’t keep the baby hippo that was just born,” he adds. The Attica Zoological Park is a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) which monitors and records the genealogy and reproduction of endangered species through special programs. For each species there is a corresponding coordinator, who will decide where the little hippo will continue its life. “As soon as it reaches the age of three, its species coordinator will tell us which park to send it to, so that it can be paired with a suitable mate, thus avoiding even the slightest possibility of inbreeding,” Lesueur explains. Dimitris Posantzis, the zoo’s veterinarian, along with a colleague and the caretakers, monitored Lizzy throughout her pregnancy, but without any particular stress. “We did not have to intervene, as these animals usually give birth easily and do not require any help from us. Of course, we watched Lizzie from the first stages of her pregnancy, we did ultrasounds for the development of the fetus, while during the days when she would deliver there was additional monitoring through the cameras. Although Lizzie is now used to human presence we didn’t want to burden her by being around her all the time. Fortunately, everything went well and we are very happy,” he tells Kathimerini. Both Lesueur and Posantzis point to the contribution of zoos to saving endangered species. “There are many cases,” Lesueur says, giving as an example the Bali myna, also known as Rothschild’s mynah, a beautiful white songbird, which fell victim to the uncontrolled rare animal trade in Bali. “In 2001 there were very few left in the wild, the number recorded was 6! At the same time, however, in zoological parks the species has successfully been reproduced and through repeated reintroductions the species is beginning to recover. The current population in Bali comes from zoos. But it is still in danger.” Another example that comes up for discussion is the scimitar oryx (Oryx dammah), a species of antelope that, although it was one of the most common large mammals in the Sahara, was in danger of extinction in the 1980s-90s, as its huge horns had made it a target for hunters. It was declared “extinct from the wild” in 2000, but has now been reintroduced throughout North Africa.  “Thanks to zoo breeding programs, the species survives today,” Lesueur says, closing our discussion with the story of the Rodrigues fruit bat, also known as Rodrigues flying fox, that lived in Rodrigues, an island in the Indian Ocean. “In the 1970s, after a devastating cyclone, the population of this species dwindled to less than 100. Then the Durrell Wildlife Park on the isle of Jersey began a very successful breeding and reintroduction program. Now their population is considered safe, even in the event that disaster strikes again in nature,” he says.
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Kasos
18
03
2024
Since 2019, the National Research Foundation’s research team, in collaboration with the Culture Ministry, has conducted four research missions on the island, using archaeological and historical evidence, sources, and references ranging from Homer’s Iliad to recent years. The shipwrecks date from 3000 BC, the Classical period (460 BC), the Hellenistic period (100 BC – AD 100) and the Roman years (200 BC – AD 300) and the Byzantine period (AD 800-900).
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Athens
17
03
2024
Where the Greeks will have a Clean Monday Starting with the carnival destinations, which traditionally star with high occupancy, Patras, Xanthi, Skyros, Rethymnon, Naoussa, Kastoria, Tirnavos, Kozani, Ioannina, Kefalonia, Rhodes, Amfissa, Kalamata, Galaxidi and Corfu will attract Greek visitors from every corner of the country, the president of the federation of tourist offices in Greece Lysandros Tsilidis notes. The 3-day carnival always has increased traffic mainly in the areas where the carnivals are held with great success, notes Mr. Tsilidis and adds that the main characteristic of the 3-day carnival is the fact that the visitors come from the urban centers near the carnival areas. At the same time, organized travel once again prevails in the planning of travelers and for this reason travel agencies pre-purchased seats on ships and planes in order for consumers to buy budget packages. From the above, it can be concluded that the carnival destinations do not "drop a pin" from the visitors, as occupancy exceeds 90% in open accommodation. At this point, Mr. Tsilidis speaks of an increase in sales this year in excursion packages of more than 10%, compared to 23, when last year there was a 30% increase compared to 2022. Regarding the prices of the packages given to Greek travelers, they were competitively priced and for this reason there was a great response, explains Mr. Tsilidis. Specifically, a 3-day stay in Patras starts from 115 euros per person (2 nights - transport and accommodation). A five-day stay in Xanthi starts from 135 euros per person, a 5-day stay in Skyros costs 310 euros, in Rethymno 3 nights will cost 375 euros per person, while in Kastoria for 2 nights the person will spend 175 euros.   Clean Monday Vs March 25th Given the great appeal of the well-known traditional carnival destinations, it is interesting to see how the destinations of the Central Greece region will move over the two or three days. Speaking to APE-MPE, Sofia Flega, president of the hoteliers in Karpenisi, notes that the three-day period of March 25 shows better mobility than that of the Carnival, and this is because the area does not have any special event to attract carnival excursionists. Moreover, the fact that both 3 days are consecutive does not help, as Mrs. Flega mentions. In any case, occupancy in the accommodations on Halloween will be recorded at 80%, while for the three days of March 25, occupancy will reach 90%, always for Karpenissi. Regarding the available prices of the accommodation, the double room starts from 70 euros. Remaining in the region of Central Greece, Evia due to its proximity to Athens will move with very good occupancy, as the president of the Edipsos hoteliers reports to APE-MBE, especially with regard to the three days of Halloween. As Mr. Roumeliotis explains, occupancy will exceed 80%, since a carnival parade with 35 floats will take place in Loutra of Edipsos, an event that will attract many visitors. For March 25, however, things are not expected to have the same momentum, since the picture of pre-bookings does not reveal a corresponding picture. Of course, hope is transferred to last-minute reservations, as Mr. Roumeliotis mentions. However, there will be rooms available for those who decide to travel to Evia at the last minute, with prices starting at 40 euros for a double room. On the same wavelength and one of the most popular carnival destinations, Rethymno, where the accommodation occupancy is at 100% for the three days of the Carnival and locals and visitors will experience the magic of the Rethymnon carnival, as the tourism consultant emphasizes to APE-MPE of the municipality, Kostas Falangas. The Rethymnon carnival is an institution, as early as 1914, the year in which there are reports of events. As it is characteristically mentioned: "the first elements of humorous events, carnivals of another era, which has left its nostalgic aroma diffused to still smell", says Mr. Fallangas. With the preparations of the hotels being at their zenith in view of the new tourist year, The Westin Resort Costa Navarino hotel, which has already been open since February, has occupancy that reaches 100% for the two 3 days of Carnival and March 25, with the Greeks to have a significant share in the hotel's traffic. In fact, the hotel receives a large number of golfers from Northern Europe, also due to the fact that direct flights to Kalamata airport have started. The rest of the Costa Navarino units open in April and early May. After the festive 3 days and the escapades of the Greeks, foreign visitors to Greece will take over, as from the beginning of April the country's tourist resorts open one after the other and until Easter there will not be a tourist business that will not be open to country. The messages for 2024 are positive and everyone hopes that the new tourist season will be another year in which Greek tourism will be the protagonist of the positive news.
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