jump to navigation

Coastal shipping fares to rise March 19, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism, Transport Air Sea Land.
Tags: , , , , ,
comments closed

Coastal shipping fares to rise by 8 percent on regulated routes

Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis announced an 8 percent increase in fares on regulated coastal shipping routes, those subsidized by the state and those where fare liberalization does not apply for lack of competition.

The increase, based on inflation, will be effective from May 1 and is the first hike since May 27, 2005, when it was 6.8 percent. From now on fares will be adjusted every year on May 1, based on the consumer price index of the previous January-December period, the Minister has decided.

Greek tourism on E!Entertainment March 16, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
Tags: , , , , ,
comments closed

Greece’s Tourism Development Ministry and the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) signed a cooperation agreement with the E!Entertainment international network serving the sector of entertainment on a 24-hour basis.

16-03-08_greece.jpg

The one-year agreement provides for the promotion of Greece’s new tourism advertising campaign at a European level both on television and the internet, while guaranteeing the GNTO presence in “red carpet” high-level events such as, the film festivals of Cannes and Rome. Moreover, the GNTO will be the main sponsor of the UK, France, Italy and Germany E!Entertainment websites.

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

Be a tourist in your own city March 15, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Museums, Greece Athens.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
comments closed

The City of Athens organizes tours of museums and archaeological sites as well as culture walks. On a sunny Sunday, the tour guide is surrounded by men and women of all ages wanting to find out more about their own city’s past.

The City of Athens sends out an army of tourist guides to help its citizens become more informed and enjoy themselves in the process. The tour guides are nothing like those one is used to seeing on trips abroad. Often bystanders don’t even know what is going on. It’s a great way to get to know your own city’s secrets, its old neighborhoods, the monuments of Plaka and neoclassical Athens.

Every Sunday without fail at 10.30 a.m., and some Saturdays for visits to sites that are closed on Sundays, nine months of the year, apart from the summer months, the City of Athens holds free guided tours of the city’s sites and monuments. For the past 27 years, its tour guides have been introducing Athenians to their city’s past. All they pay is the entrance fee to the sites themselves, wherever these are charged.

This is how it works: Check out the capital’s municipal website [ www.cityofathens.gr ] for the dates and schedules, call the Municipal Art Gallery and Museums Department, tel 210 3231841 or 210 3240762, or go to the city’s Cultural Center, 50 Academias Street, nearest metro station is “Panepistimio”. Every Sunday morning there is a different itinerary, but many of these are repeated over the year.

If the idea of a guided museum tour seems too much like a school excursion, there are always the outdoor walks. One of these met at the “Evangelismos” metro station on a recent sunny Sunday. Within a few moments, the tour guide was surrounded by a crowd of over 150 men and women of all ages, but very few children, for a briefing of the tour they were to take along Vasileos Constantinou Avenue, the approximate course of the ancient Ilissos River. The tour was to end two hours later at the Church of Aghia Foteini.

Some of the original crowd dropped off along the way, of course, as happens in tours. There was a smaller tour nearby the War Museum. Many of those in the crowd make a regular habit of the tours, meeting friends every Sunday.

As for the tour itself, the information provided by the guide is detailed, similar to the kind of information one would find in a Google search or travel guide, only here the process is interactive; then there are always the wisecrackers, providing lighter moments.

The winter program, January to March, provides a selection of 40 different meeting points. Tickets are issued at the entrance to 148 Ermou Street at the Church of Aghia Dynami. The only thing one has to make sure of is the meeting point for each tour. For example, Hadrian’s Arch for the tour of the Olympic Stadium, 66A Irakleidon Street in Thiseion for the walk around Athens, Philopappou Hill for the a tour of the Pnyx. All the tours are conducted in Greek. Every tour lasts from two to three or even four hours, depending on the site.

I think about the four-hour walk and sit down on a bench away from the crowd. The lecture on the Ilissos River surroundings began at Aghios Georgios Rizari. The guide indicates on the map the course of the now underground river. The point is to see Athens through different eyes. Not piled into a bus. We will walk along the Ilissos, not along its banks, of course, but above them, on the sidewalks.

Tomorrow’s tours >
Byzantine churches >
Meeting point at the Aghios Eleftherios Chapel next to Athens Cathedral.

Benaki Museum’s folklore exhibits from modern Greek history > Meeting point at the Museum entrance, 1 Koumbari Street, Kolonaki, Athens.

Kerameikos, Athens’ Ancient Cemetery > Meeting point at the site.

Archaeological Museum’s bronze collection > Meeting point at the Museum entrance on Patission Street, Athens, nearest metro station “Victoria”.

Future tours > Municipal Art Gallery, 19th- and 20th-century Athens, the Athens of Costis Palamas, Ancient Agora, Acropolis, Plaka’s monuments, National Sculpture Gallery, Museum of Cycladic and Ancient Greek Art, Acropolis and Syntagma metro excavation finds, First Cemetery, Pnyx, Old Athenian neighborhoods, Museum of Islamic Art, Elefsina sites. Call 210 3231841 to book.

The Pafos State Forest March 14, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Paphos, Nature.
Tags: , , , ,
comments closed

The Pafos State Forest occupies mainly the north-western slopes of the Troodos Range and covers an area of 700k square metres and extends from the districts of Limassol and Nicosia and Pafos at sea level – to the north it reaches up to the villages of Pomos, Kato Pyrgos tis Tillyrias and the occupied village of Varisia. To the east it extends up to the villages of Gerakies, Lemythou etc and to the west up to the villages of Lysos, Kinousa, Argaka and Gialia.

Flora > The Pafos Forest is mostly a natural forest, regenerating itself and the most dominant species found all over the area is the Brutia Pine (Pinus Brutia) – the common wild pine. Smaller trees and shrubs occupy specific biotopes of the forest ecosystem.

The riverine vegetation, which can be found at all elevations includes mainly broadleaves such as the plane-tree (Platanus Orientalis) the alnus tree (Alnus Orientalis), the laurel (Laurus Nobilis) the myrtle (Myrtus Communist) and the bramble (Rubus Sanctus), giving the vegetation a unique combination of colours. In the lowland, high trees become sparse and the small shrubs as well mossy and grassy plants, make up a very rich and dense vegetation of high ecological and aesthetical value.

A special place in the Flora of Pafos Forest is held by the Cyprus cedar (Cedrus Brevifolia). It is the only endemic tree of the Cyprus forests and forms the unique natural forest of the Tipylos slopes and the world famous Cedar Valley.

14-03-08_cyprus_cedar.jpg  The Cyprus Cedar grows and forms pure and mixed strands with the wild pine at 600m up to 1,352m altitude. The presence of the Cyprus Cedar gives a distinct and unique character to the forest ecosystem.

In 1984 the Council of Ministers declared the Tripylos and the Cedar Valley area covering 823 hectares a Nature Reserve for the protection of the flora and fauna according to the provisions of the Forest Law.

The number of different plant species found in the Pafos Forest has been estimated to exceed 600. 50 of these are endemic to Cyprus. The existence of a large number of orchids such as Limodorum Abortivum, Orchis Sancta, Ophrys Levantina and Serapias Vomeracea are found only in Pafos Forest.

14-03-08_cyprus_moufflon.jpg  Fauna > The Pafos Forest was declared a Permanent Game Reserve in 1938 and since then it constitutes a perfect shelter for wildlife. The Cyprus Moufflon the largest endemic mammal of the island lives and reproduces in special biotopes of the Pafos forest. The presence of the fox, hare, hedgehog, rare and protected eagles and other birds, many species of the owl, partridge, wood-pigeon, turtle doves along with different species of snakes and lizards and rare butterflies compose a rich fauna of immense ecological value and importance for Cyprus.

Courtesy of the Pafos Forestry Department, Pafos, Cyprus.

Greece still one of Europe’s foremost tourist destinations March 7, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
Tags: , , , , ,
comments closed

Greece enters the new tourism season as one of the most popular destinations in the world’s biggest markets, Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos told a press conference here yesterday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a major tourism exhibition which is taking place in Germany, Spiliotopoulos said Greece is the second most popular destination among 80 according to data compiled by the International Federation of Tour Operators. In the German market alone, a survey by tour operator TUI shows Greece to be the most attractive country worldwide, while another joint survey by the European Cruise Council, Euroyards and Medcruise & Europe ranked the country third in the list of the most popular cruise destinations in Europe, behind Italy and Spain.

The course of Greek tourism, said the Minister, is linked to culture and sports, as well as to environmental awareness. There is also emphasis on developing so-called green tourism, with pilot actions at tourism destinations across the country in association with local authorities.

Efforts in this context also include the formulation of a pioneering program of tourism development aimed at protecting the environment, through the creation of eco-camping grounds and eco-marinas, and a series of innovative actions such as special routes, kiosks and observation towers.

Spiliotopoulos said camping sites at Skotina, Asprovalta, Paliouri and Phanari in Northern Greece will be upgraded with more environmentally friendly facilities, while an ecological marina will also be created at Paliouri in Halkidiki.

The upgrading of regional airports continues meanwhile, in cooperation with the Transport Ministry and the assistance of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE). “In a few years’ time,” Spiliotopoulos said, “we will have an ultramodern airport at Kastelli in Crete.” Most international airports in the country are being upgraded, while the airports of Araxos, Nea Anchialos and Kalamata are now also receiving international flights for the April-October period each year.

The Ministry has funds available from the European Union totaling 564 million, which will be used to upgrade the quality of the country’s tourism product.

Greek tourism industry is globaly competitive March 5, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
Tags: , , , , ,
comments closed

Athens International Airport helped Greece score points in the global tourism competitiveness report.

Greece’s tourism industry has become slightly more competitive on a global scale, despite a slide in the quality of healthcare and safety levels offered by the country, according to a report made public yesterday. Tourism is one of Greece’s most crucial industries, accounting for about a fifth of annual economic growth and almost 20 percent of jobs.

A Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, prepared by non-profit group World Economic Forum (WEF), showed Greece had climbed two places to position No 22 from 2007, out of a total of 130 countries. Switzerland took position No 1, followed by Austria and Germany.

Greece scored well in points given for airport infrastructure and human resources and was given top marks for the priority given to the industry, according to WEF. On the downside, the country slipped from position No 3 to 16th place regarding health and hygiene services. A lower score was also given regarding safety and security, placing Greece in 31st position, versus No 18 last year.

Commenting on the report, the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) said tourism is not solely reliant on factors strictly relating to the industry. “The competitiveness of tourism is the result of total government action for each country and not exclusively on the Tourism Ministry,” SETE said.

The conservative government set up a separate Tourism Ministry after being elected in March 2004, in a move seen as helping to give the sector a higher position in state policy.

The WEF report also pointed out the growing importance of environmentally friendly policies in tourism.

Greece is set to “do very well” this summer March 5, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
Tags: , , , ,
comments closed

Greece looks set to become one of the top tourist destinations for 2008.

05-03-08_greece.jpg  According to online tour operator lastminute.com, the company is already starting to get bookings for the summer period and reservations are likely to increase in the six weeks leading up to the main summer departure dates.

John Bevan, Managing Director of lastminute.com UK, noted that Greece in particular is looking likely to perform well this summer. “We are expecting Greece to do very well this summer as prices are particularly competitive” he commented.

The Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises has predicted that arrivals in the country will reach 19.4 million by the year 2010.