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Greece lands tourism prize in Shanghai March 29, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Greece has been chosen as the “Most Popular Travel Destination in Europe 2007-08” by China, proving that efforts to tap the Chinese tourism market are bearing fruit.

Speaking at the opening of the World Travel Fair 2008 in Shanghai, where Greece is the honored country, Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos recognized the importance for Greece of the tourist market of Shanghai, as 600,000 of its citizens travel abroad every year.

“Representing a country that organized the 2004 Olympic Games with absolute success,” Spiliotopoulos reiterated his certainty that China will be as successful in holding the 2008 Olympics. He also expressed his hope for the best possible cooperation between Greece and China “in the fields of economy and culture.”

The WTF began on Thursday and ends tomorrow. It features 500 exhibitors from various countries and territories, while Greece’s kiosk by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) covers an area of 400 square meters. On Thursday, the WTF awards committee delivered an award to the Greek representation for the most popular destination in Europe. Yesterday, the signing of a protocol of cooperation between the GNTO and Shanghai was also due.

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

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The Cavo Sidero resort in Crete development March 27, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Infrastructure, Hotels Greece, Tourism.
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Tourism investment of Cavo Sidero in Crete proceeds with planning of first holiday villages

27-03-08_cavo_sidero1.jpg  The development of Cavo Sidero in eastern Crete, one of the biggest investment projects in Greek tourism, has entered the final stretch following 14 years of bureaucratic and other obstacles.

Minoan Group’s Chairman and CEO Christopher Egleton confirmed yesterday the progress achieved and announced that the architectural firms of Alexandros Tombazis and Baldrich & Tobal have begun planning for the first village in the project, to be called “Grandes Bay.”

27-03-08_cavo_sidero2.jpg  The group has spent 40 million euros on the drafting of the business plan, while the total investment will amount to some 1.2 billion. It involves the creation of 7,000 beds in six tourist villages that will cover less than 1 percent of the overall 25 square kilometers. The project will create an estimated 3,500 jobs.

The company’s main stakeholders are Henderson Global Investors, the founder and CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management, Martin Gilbert, the President of American Express Global Network Services, Peter Godfrey, and Board Member of the Royal Bank of Scotland Colin Buchan, along with several British constructors.

Separately, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc announced yesterday the signing of a long-term cooperation agreement with TEMES SA for the operation of two new luxury resort hotels in Messinia, southwestern Peloponnese: The “Romanos Navarino Dunes Resort – The Luxury Collection” and the “Westin Navarino Dunes Resort.” They are located some 30 minutes from Kalamata airport.

The Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers (POX) has expressed its concern about the impacts on Greek tourism this and next season from the prevailing global economic uncertainty. The Federation referred in a statement to the considerable losses in world markets since the start of the year, along with oil price hikes and the euro’s appreciation against the dollar, which are negative factors for the country’s tourism.

POX calls for immediate measures to improve the competitiveness of tourism that is expected to absorb most of the impact of the euro’s appreciation. It is also calling for more intensive promotion of Greece, particularly in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, and a fair solution to the issue of the operating framework for accommodation facilities.

Related Links > http://www.minoangroup.com/index.htm

Ideas for cycling trips in Greece’s natural surroundings March 24, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Cycling, Greece, Greece Mainland.
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Greek roads and drivers might not be cyclist-friendly, but the countryside is. Those who venture forth are rewarded by the experience of beautiful landscapes and villages.

24-03-08_cycling.jpg  As Greek roads and drivers are not cyclist-friendly, why not load your bicycle onto your car and drive somewhere you can enjoy cycling in natural surroundings.

Route One > A 4.2-kilometer ride at Doxa Lake. The lake is an artificial one in the mountain range outside Corinth, near Goura and Feneo. The peaceful landscape is a lush green, full of firs, black pines and oaks. The road around the lake is sealed all the way, and there are few cars. The beautiful monastery of Aghios Georgios lies just above the lake, and the sign Pontikonisi tis Korinthias leads to a strip of land and the Church of Aghios Fanourios or Paleomonastiro.

Route Two > This is a longer ride, 37 kilometers, but not a difficult one, 22 km on an easy dirt road and 15 km on asphalt. It’s best to start around 3 km out of Elati, at the crossroads for Vlacha. Leave your car, and cycle through the dense fir forest on a gentle uphill gradient of about 2 km to Vlacha. There the road flattens out for the spring and cafe, then descends into a pretty valley. At the bottom, the road goes left to Stournaraiika and right to Neraidohori-Pyrra. Turn right, keeping the river on your left. The road is mainly flat; the scenery and the sound of water are magical. This route is called “Dromos tou Xylogefyrou” or the Wooden Bridge Road. About halfway along, cross the bridge. With the river on your left, continue to the bridge below Neraidohori. You’ll hardly meet a single car. The 2.5-3 km near the village are the only part of the route where you’ll need to pedal hard. At the village, the road turns to asphalt and is flat or downhill on the way back back via Livadion Pertouliou.

Peace deal seen to boost Cyprus tourism industry March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Cyprus Occupied, Politics, Tourism.
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Cyprus’s tourism industry would benefit from $300 million a year in additional revenues if a peace deal was hammered out, economists said yesterday.

Economists from the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides of the island said the sector would also stand to benefit from greater cooperation and economies of scale.

“Ninety-eight percent of the Turkish Cypriot respondents and 79 percent of the Greek Cypriot respondents see a win-win situation with a joint tourism industry,” The Management Center, an independent think tank, said in a news release.

Tourism is an important component of the economies of both Cypriot sides; it represents 14 percent of gross national product of Turkish Cypriots, and 12 percent of Greek Cypriots’ gross domestic product. Tourism revenues in the Greek-Cypriot part of the divided island were $2.73 billion last year. Revenues in the Turkish-Cypriot part were $328.8 million in 2005, the last year for which figures are available.

The survey, funded by the British Embassy in Cyprus, said Greek and Turkish Cypriot industry professionals regard the division as a negative factor for their businesses.

“Tourism professionals of the two sides believe that the continuation of the current political situation results in lost business opportunities, and is perceived as a lose situation, at least for their side,” the research team said.

Greece improves tourism ties with Moscow March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.
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Greece’s Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos had a very cordial meeting with Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov in Russia.

Greece and the local authority of Moscow will sign a memorandum of cooperation in tourism probably in May, as agreed to yesterday by Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov. It follows a proposal by the Greek Minister which surprised Luzkov during the meeting held by the two men in the Russian capital, in the context of Spiliotopoulos’s visit to the international tourism exhibition MITT.

The Minister said tourism is Greece’s heavy industry, generating 18 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. But sea and the sun alone, he added, are not enough, for attracting visitors requires hard work, great effort, education and a strategy.

On the problem arising from the visas that Russians must obtain to visit Greece, Spiliotopoulos said it would be better if they were not required. He did however stress the rapid and efficient processing of applications with the Consulate in Moscow, which issues as many as 3,000 daily, delivered within 48 hours, while the Consulate in St Petersburg has them delivered the same day. Luzhkov thanked the Greek Embassy and Consulate for making it easier for his compatriots, while promising to do what he can to reduce bureaucracy for Greeks who wish to visit Russia.

Last year some 235,000 Russians visited Greece according to data from the Russian Tourism Organization. The Russian official accepted Spiliotopoulos’s proposal for Greek investors with expertise in building hotels and infrastructure to become active in Moscow and around the Black Sea, adding that there are at least 120 suitable plots in his city waiting to be utilized.

Spiliotopoulos also announced the tripling of funds for the promotion of Greek tourism in the Russian market this year, rising to 1 million euro from 350,000 spent last year. The Minister further invited Russian businesses and groups to invest in Greece, making special reference to the programs available through the Tourism Development Company for the utilization of public tourism property.

A high-end sports village for Mazotos village in Cyprus March 20, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Infrastructure, Cyprus Limassol, Sports & Games, Tourism.
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A branded sports tourist village featuring 300 properties has been announced near the village of Mazotos. Located between Larnaca and Limassol, the name behind the development is ex-England and Davis cup Tennis player David Lloyd.

The development will be a self-contained village created in a traditional Cypriot style, while affording the luxury and convenience demanded by modern life. The focus will be on sport, particularly racquets, but also canoeing and football. With meandering cobbled streets and a selection of coffee shops, eateries and supermarkets sprinkled throughout the development, it promises to deliver a self-contained environment with its own unique ambience.

Properties will be either one bedroom or two bedroom apartments, split 20% to 80% respectively, and will make up the development. A beach is 300 meters away, a marina which is scheduled for expansion and plans for a theme park two kilometres away. A Four Seasons 5-star luxury hotel in the immediate area is also being built. A journey time of 25 minutes from Larnaca airport allows for easy access.

The village will also be a magnet for those interested in taking their sport seriously, with the climate providing ideal training conditions for professional and novice athletes alike. Consequently, the rental yield is likely to be very high. Commercially, the development already has an independent rental guarantee programme in place which operates on a sliding scale depending upon the level of personal usage the owner wishes to take. The minimum is five per cent although higher rates can be obtained. There is no compulsion to take the rental guarantee. Owners may wish to control this aspect themselves instead.

Overseas property specialists Thomson OPI have announced their involvement in the project which they claim will deliver all the attributes of an outstanding investment. Mike Thomson, Managing Partner at the firm said: “It is rare for all the variables in property investment to come together at the same time. With this project all of the critical elements of successful property investment are positive. With low or no entry deposits, no stage payments and a remarkable ten-year index linked rental guarantee scheme offering 6.25 per cent per annum it means that investors can access the Cyprus property market with security.”

According to its website, “Thomson OPI sets itself apart by specialising in pure investment properties. While this is the primary criteria, superb lifestyle purchases can also be excellent investments.” The company is inviting investors to register their interest early to obtain preferential options in the development.  “We offer to our clients our hand-picked properties which we ourselves have invested in,” Thomson explained. “This gives a measure of confidence to our clients that the appropriate due diligence has been completed. Additionally, we offer carefully selected opportunities through our partnership programmes.”

The likely financial structuring for acquisition in the development is consistent with Thomson OPI’s objective of delivering high capital growth opportunities whilst enabling easily affordable deposits payable over a long period of time. Sizes and prices are yet to be released, with completion scheduled for summer 2010.

According to the BuySell property index, 2007 saw prices increase by over 20 per cent, with the island set to enjoy continued double digit capital growth over the coming years. Key features of the development can be obtained by contacting Thomson OPI at: info@thomsonopi.com.

The project in summary > 
300 apartments, Sold fully furnished, Indoor and outdoor tennis, Full range of other sports activities, 300m to the beach and the marina, Water based activities, Concierge greeting service, Restaurants, bars, banqueting suite, Commercial Business Centre,
Supermarkets and shops, All year sunshine, PGA golf course 15 minutes away, Rental guarantee available (up to 10 years at a minimum of 6.25%), Low entry costs, 10% deposit with 5% upon delivery, Capital growth c. 12-15% per annum.

Coastal shipping fares to rise March 19, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism, Transport Air Sea Land.
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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.