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Greek tourism planning must focus on quality January 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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The current debate on whether the construction of new luxury hotels in Athens should be subsidized leads us to miss the point.

The government has been trapped into focusing on Athens, failing so far to promote the benefits of the Investment Incentives law for the construction of new high-quality hotels in the rest of Greece. For better or worse, the heart of tourism does not beat in Athens but in the countryside. The vast majority of the 15 million foreign tourists visiting Greece annually choose destinations outside the city centers.

This does not mean that city-break tourism models should not be developed; it is just that priority should lie in improving the countryside’s tourism product. Athens as a destination has gained significantly from the successful Olympic Games both in public infrastructures and in improving its tourism product. The objective is not to build one or two or even 10 new hotels in Athens; it is to ensure existing Athenian hotels are viable by imposing healthy competition rules.

If we take a look at Cyprus, there is a revision of tourism policy objectives. The main aim is to realize investments that attract visiting groups with special interests and a high income level. Following the pattern set by other developed tourism destinations in the Mediterranean, Cyprus places emphasis on golf development, operation of modern marinas and promotion of outdoor tourism so that within five years its tourism product will become diverse. Not only do they avoid subsidizing new hotels, but they also reject applications for new units if they do not serve the aim of attracting quality tourism.

In Greece there is talk of such things as golf courses and marinas, and subsidies are handed out for the construction or modernization of hotels. But unlike anywhere else in the world, many hotels with town-planning issues pending can still operate. Since 1994 some 80 percent of hotels have had such issues outstanding.

The abandonment of tourism undoubtedly amassed many problems, leading to the crisis of 2001-2004. The maintenance of the rising course of the last two years will depend on the realization of reforms announced by the government. Quality diversification should be the priority, not the number of tourist arrivals.

Lannet to sign agreement with France Telecom’s Orange January 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Telecoms.
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Greek alternative telecom provider Lannet said it will sign a cooperation agreement with France Telecom unit, Orange Business Services, for the provision of consultancy services for the development of next generation networks.

The company added that the agreement does not envisage equity participation by Orange Business Services in Lannet’s share capital.

Cyprus: a Contemporary Problem in Historical Perspective January 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied, Greek Diaspora.
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The Hellenic Arts & Letters Institute and the New York Chapter of the American Hellenic Institute will present “CYPRUS: A Contemporary Problem in Historical Perspective” by Van Coufoudakis.

The Honorable Eugene T. Rossides, Esq. will be the book presenter; Professor Coufoudakis will also be present for the occasion. The event will take place on Wednesday, February 14 at 6:30 PM at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Center, 337 East 74th Street, New York City.

Professor Van Coufoudakis is an authority on the Cyprus issue; he has devoted most of his academic career to the study of Cyprus, and he is the author of several books and a plethora of articles on the subject. In this book, Professor Coufoudakis presents a balanced analysis of the Cyprus problem, which exploded into an international crisis with the illegal Turkish invasion of the island and the occupation of 37% of its territory in 1974. It is a scholarly assessment of a crisis that has affected not only the relations between the two communities on the island and Greek-Turkish relations, but also its international dimensions, affecting NATO, the United States and Britain as well as the European Union.

Eugene T. Rossides is the founder and president of the American Hellenic Institute in Washington, D.C. and a former assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Nixon Administration. Mr. Rossides has been in the forefront in the efforts of the Greek American Community over the years to inform the American public and influence the policy of the U.S Administration and Congress on the Cyprus issue.

The event is open to the public.

CYPRUS: a Contemporary Problem in Historical Perspective
On Wednesday February 14 at 6:30 PM
At the Holy Trinity Cathedral Center, 337 East 74th Street, New York City
SPONSORS: The Hellenic Arts & Letters Institute and The New York Chapter of the American Hellenic Institute

Greece to block former Royal heirlooms London auction January 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Auctions.
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Greece has asked London-based Christie’s auction house to halt a sale of heirlooms, more than 850 objects, once owned by the country’s former Greek Royal family, arguing Monday the artifacts may have been illegally exported from the country.

The objects, valued at 1.5 million pounds (3 million dollars) are from the collection of Greece’s 19th Century King George I and include silverware, a dinner set and works by jeweller Peter Carl Faberge. The auction, the first since the monarchy was abolished in 1973, is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in London.

In a letter to Christie’s, Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis claimed the 850 lots that originally belonged to King George I of Greece “are part of the modern history of the Greek state and cultural heritage.” “There is a question of illegal exportation of cultural goods from Greece,” Voulgarakis said. Christie’s was not immediately available for comment.

The letter asked Christie’s to withdraw the artifacts from the auction catalog and “investigate the legality of their provenance.” Voulgarakis said Greece would use “all legal means and rights” to claim the artifacts’ return, adding that an investigation is ongoing into the artifacts’ exportation.

Highlights of the sale include giant silver flasks, Chinese jade and a gold Faberge egg worth up to 50,000 pounds (US$100,000, €75,000).

King George I ruled from 1863 until he was assassinated by an anarchist in 1913. George I’s descendant, the deposed Constantine II, 66, has lived in London for more than 30 years. His web site says the Royal family is no longer the legal owner of the collection, but did not elaborate. Many of the items come from the Tatoi estate, 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Athens, where Constantine exported items in 1991 under agreement with the socialist at that time Greek government and brought them to London.

Christie’s has declined to reveal the source of the heirlooms. The former Royal family has argued the items on sale were either privately purchased or personal gifts, and cannot be considered part of Greece’s national heritage. Constantine left Greece in 1967 after the military seized power, and Greece voted to abolish the monarchy during a 1974 referendum held after the dictatorship collapsed.

Related Links > http://www.formerkingofgreece.org and http://www.greekroyalfamily.org/el/index.cfm

http://www.christies.com/home_page/home_page.asp

Floodlit Patras launches carnival January 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Culture.
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Floodlit Patras launches carnival  The City of Patras launched its annual Carnival at the weekend in a night of dance, music and light enjoyed by around 45,000 merrymakers.

At the opening on Saturday of the season’s traditionally largest and most flamboyant festivity in Greece, dancers and acrobats stunned carnival-goers with a series of performances based on music from different countries and continents; and puppet musicians tracked events on central stage.

Bouzouki and brass compositions showcased Greece and the Balkans, climaxing in Zorba the Greek, which marked the triumphant entrance of the carnival king riding his chariot.

Patras Mayor Andreas Fouras launched the Carnival, whose opening ceremony ended with a giant firework display and open-air party in Georgiou Square, the centre of the festivities.

Related Links > http://www.carnivalpatras.gr

Metal Healing Music Festival January 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Live Gigs.
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Metal Healing Festival, set to take place July 20-22 in Thessaloniki, Greece.

For more information, visit > www.metalbolt.com

Check these links too >

http://www.metalbolt.com/Website/News/news.html

http://www.metalbolt.com/Website/Forthcoming/Forthcoming.html

http://www.metalbolt.com/Website/Distribution/Distribution.html

Ancient Greek religion revived January 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Religion & Faith.
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Believers in the 12 gods of ancient Greece have held a ceremony at the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens. It was a landmark event to celebrate the official recognition of the religion by a court last year. 

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Worshippers gather at the Temple of Olympian Zeus > Watch the Video >

Worshippers gather at the Temple of Olympian Zeus

Read related BBC’s article Zeus devotees worship in Athens

Read also this article from BBC > Ancient Greek gods’ new believers

Related Links > http://www.culture.gr/2/21/211/21103a/e211ca02.html