Δευτέρα 16 Μαρτίου 2015

Greek vacation anyone? Tourism set to boom - CNBC

Diplomatic relations between Athens and the rest of Europe may be at a low ebb, but there is one part of Greece that is clamoring for overseas visitors. And a plunging euro could make it the perfect place for a vacation this year.
Christina Kalogera, director of the Greek National Tourism Organization's U.K. and Ireland office, told CNBC that Greece was hopeful that 2015 would be a good year for the tourism industry, particularly with the euro weakening against the dollar and sterling.
"We are very optimistic that 2015 will be another successful year for Greek tourism as the hotel, restaurant, and bar scene is booming and we are seeing young entrepreneurs getting more actively involved with the tourism sector," Kalogera told CNBC Friday.
"There are new innovative products provided by hotels and multiple new restaurants and bars openings especially in Athens and Thessaloniki, so with the euro also at an 11-year low this is definitely the ideal time to visit Greece."

 Around 18 million international tourists arrived in Greece in 2013, according to the UN World Tourism Organization's 2014 report on "Tourism Highlights."

In addition to that data, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) 2014 report found that travel and tourism contributed 28.3 billion euros ($31.2 billion) to the Greek economy in 2013 (16.3 percent of gross domestic product). That was forecast to rise by 3.0 percent in 2014 and by 3.7 percent per year to 41.8 billion euros (19.1 percent of GDP) in 2024. The service sector as a whole accounts for about 40 percent of the country's GDP, according to the CIA's "World Factbook."
Further demonstrating how important the travel and tourism industry is to Greece, the WTTC said the total contribution of travel and tourism in terms of total employment in Greece was 18.2 percent, or 657,000 jobs. That's a significant amount in a country with a high unemployment rate of around 25 percent.
Hotel managers like Dorina Stathopoulou are also optimistic that 2015 could be a bumper year for the travel trade, with occupancy levels for summer already looking good.
"We're very busy, this is a booming period for us," Stathopoulou, hotel manager of three hotels in Athens, told CNBC. "This started last September, from on then we knew it would be a good year. For example, we have 92 percent occupancy for May, 80 percent already for June."

Plakias: Photo of the day

Plakias is 35 kilometres south of Rethymno, on the southern coast of Crete on the Libyan Sea and is a popular tourist resort well-known for its award-winning Blue Flag sandy beach stretching for 1400 metres.

It combines everything as it offers visitors many facilities: surgery, pharmacy, all kinds of shops, car hire, post office, ATM, many tavernas, exciting nightlife, organized beaches (Souda, Damnoni, Ammoudi, Schinaria), diving centre, free-riding centre, and an extensive marina where even large yachts can berth.

Greece among top 5 “dream destinations” for US travelers

Greece is among the Top 5 Dream Destinations for US travellers, according to TripAdvisor’s TripBarometer Study.

The TripBarometer study is the analysis of more than 44,000 global responses from travelers and the hotel sector. According to this extensive report, Greece is included in the Top 5 “dream destinations” for U.S. Travelers, along with Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.

In the meantime, Greece ranked 8th in the hotelier confidence index in terms of optimism about profitability, room rates and investment priorities.

The online survey was conducted between January 16 and February 2, 2015.

Tirokafteri cheese spread... from Greece.

A delicious, creamy cheese spread from Greece. It is usually served as part of a mezze platter but it can also be enjoyed by itself, with slices of warm bread.

Serves: 1 jar Preparation time: 10m Cooking time: 5m Ready in: 15m
A delicious, creamy cheese spread from Greece. It is usually served as part of a mezze platter but it can also be enjoyed by itself, with slices of warm bread.
1 Florina pepper or any sweet pepper
1 -2 chili peppers (depending on how spicy you want the spread to be)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
250 gr. anthotyro, a traditional fresh cheese
250 gr. crumbled feta cheese
A pinch of sweet paprika
Preparation method
Step 1
Remove the seeds from the Florina pepper and the chili peppers and finely chop them.
Step 2
Heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute until tender.
Step 3
Place the anthotyro cheese and crumbled feta cheese in a blender. Add the sautéed peppers with the oil from the pan and the paprika and process the ingredients until you get a smooth and homogeneous mixture.
Step 4
Keep the cheese spread refrigerated in a glass jar, pouring a little oil on the surface from time to time.
Source: Olive magazine
Chef: Ioanna Stamoulou
Photo: George Drakopoulos
Food Styling: Tina Webb

Top 20 most Googled destinations in Greece (see tables)

The powerful company released interesting data with regard to the way travelers worldwide research their trips.

During an event that was organized by Google to announce the expansion of its innovative “Grow Greek Tourism Online” program, the powerful company released interesting data with regard to the way travelers worldwide research their trips.
According to the data presented by Google, most travelers that search Greek destinations online come from UK, Germany and USA.
Moreover, the 20 most googled regions in Greece include the country’s two biggest cities, namely Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as popular islands such as Mykonos, Santorini, Paros and Crete.
See the full list below:
1. Athens
2. Thessaloniki
3. Thessaly
4. Peloponnese
5. Corfu
6. Lefkada
7. Zakynthos
8. Skiathos
9. Lesbos
10. Chios
11. Andros
12. Mykonos
13. Paros
14. Naxos
15. Patmos
16. Kos
17. Santorini
18 Rodos
19. Karpathos
20. Crete
Google’s “Grow Greek Tourism Online” program is a project that aims to provide enterprises in Greek tourism with tools that can help boost their businesses over the summer season and beyond. The initiative has been taken to deal with the 70% increased demand for online vacation searches noted from June to September.
The campaign kicked off on the isle of Crete in September with some 650 local tourism businesses trained to use online tools to enhance their tourism growth potential.
The success of the initiative has now led to more destinations. It is expanding to include the Peloponnese, the Cycladic islands, the Ionian islands, Macedonia, the Dodecanese and the Attica region.

Oinokritika 2015: A special event for wine lovers

Oinokritika 2015 is held under the auspices of the Greek National Tourism Organization.
For the eighth consecutive year the Wineries of Crete invite oenophiles from every corner of the world to the annual wine exhibition “Oinokritika” which will be held at Chania on March 21 and 22, 2015.
During “Oinokritika 2015” (a name which derives from the word oinos, meaning wine and kritika which means Cretan), visitors will have the opportunity to taste some older vintages, discover new wines, talk with the winemakers and learn about the activities organized by the Wines of Crete.
Oinokritika 2015 is held under the auspices of the Greek National Tourism Organization.

GNTO Partners with TUI Group to Promote Greece to 12 Markets!

Greece_All_Time ClassicThe Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) this year will launch advertising campaigns and a series of actions in partnership with German travel giant TUI Group to promote Greece in 12 markets.
According to a decision approved by the Super-Ministry for Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism, the GNTO and TUI will target the markets of UK & Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Russia and Ukraine.
The total amount of investment on the Greek side is 985.000 euros and actions will be addressed to both consumers (B2C) and travel agents/partners of TUI (B2B).
tui-logoThe joint campaigns include a set of activities such as online advertising through display campaigns, e-mail marketing and social media campaigns, offline actions via print, TV and/or radio, sales promotion through in-store activities, familiarization trips (FAM trips) for travel agents, etc.
The campaigns per market will vary depending on the available budget, the specific characteristics of potential travelers from each market and the means they use to get informed and book their holidays.

Τρίτη 10 Μαρτίου 2015

Are you ready?? Welcome to Greece...

On Saturday, 28th of March we open for the summer!

We are counting the days until we open the door to our precious guests...

Greece's 11 least populated islands

There are reasons why we visit the Greek island honeypots of Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete: direct flights, reliable hotels, and buzzing nightlife. But for those willing to make the effort, there are dozens of timewarped islands that offer complete tranquility and a chance to escape the crowds. This is our guide to the least populated of the Greek islands, where transport may well be a donkey rather than a taxi or bus, and the best lesson is learning how to do not very much at all...
By Lizzie Porter (see all the article: Telegraph)

New exhibition on Winged Victory of Samothrace at the Louvre

The exhibition traces the history of this masterpiece and its origins linked to the excavations on Samothrace island.
 The Louvre in Paris invites its visitors to rediscover the Winged Victory of Samothrace, opening an exhibition on Thursday that will run until June 2015.
This emblematic statue, amongst the most renowned exhibits at the iconic Louvre, is again on display after a year of restoration.
The exhibition traces the history of the masterpiece and its origins, linked to the excavations on Samothrace island, in the northeast Aegean.
Winged Victory of Samothrace
The winged goddess of Victory (Nike, in Greek) standing on the prow of a ship overlooked the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace. This monument was probably an ex-voto offered by the people of Rhodes in commemoration of a naval victory in the early second century BC. The theatrical stance, vigorous movement, and billowing drapery of this Hellenistic-era sculpture are combined with references to the Classical period — prefiguring the baroque aestheticism of the Pergamene sculptors.
This exceptional monument was unearthed in 1863 on verdant Samothrace. It was discovered by Charles Champoiseau, French Vice-Consul to Adrianople (modern-day Edirne, in Turkey). The goddess of Victory is shown in the form of a winged woman standing on the prow of a ship, braced against the strong wind blowing through her garments. With her right hand cupped around her mouth, she announced the event she was dedicated to commemorate.
(Source: Louvre museum official site)

Free museum entry on special dates!

Are you entitled to enter Greek museums and archaeological sites around Greece for free? 
Days in which museum entry is free
  •  March 6 – tribute to the late actress/politician Melina Mercouri
  • June 5 – International Environment Day
  • April 18 – World Monuments Day
  • May 18 – International Museum Day
  • August full moon night
  • The last weekend of September each year as part of the European Days of Cultural Heritage
  • Every first day of the month from November 1 through to March 31
  • October 28
People entitled reduced and free entry
Reduced entry for Greek and EU citizens and for those over 65 years who show their ID cards as well as students from the EU
Free entry for
  • Journalists who show their ID
  • Those who have free entry cards
  • Members of the International Council of Museums (ICOM or ICOMOS) who show their ID cards
  • Those who have culture cards
  • Members of the councils of Friends of Museums and Archaeological sites of Greece who have a card
  • Children of up to 18 years
  • Tour guides who are registered with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism
  • Academics and teachers
  • Guests of the Greek public sector who have registered cards supporting this from the General Secretariat of Antiquity and Culture
  • Teachers accompanying their students on school visits
  • The blind and people with disabilities
  • Escorts of the blind or people with disabilities
  • Archaeology, culture and sports public sector employees who show their employee ID cards
  • (source: protothema)

ITB Berlin Opens, Greece Optimistic for 2015 Tourism Season

Greece will aim this year to win more visitors from Western Europe, the Unites States and Germany, Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura told the press on Wednesday, the opening day for ITB Berlin.
The minister visited the Greek stand and wished all tourism professionals and regional bodies a successful tourism season.
 ITB Berlin 2015 busy 1st day for Greece
While in Berlin, the tourism minister’s agenda includes meetings with the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization Taleb Rifai, Berlin Mayor Michael Muller, major tour operators and travel journalists.
Greece is enjoying its tourism recovery at ITB Berlin 2015. According to market research institute GfK, year-to-date bookings for 2015 to Greece from Germany, by end of January 2015, were up by 12.8 percent compared to the same period last year.
 ITB_logoMeanwhile, TUI revealed that it was experiencing good sales for Greece and German tour operator Schauinsland-Reisen also said that Greece was selling particularly well this year.
Greece hit record arrivals last year — a 23 percent increase in tourism arrivals over 2013 — and even better is expected for this season, tourism professionals underline.
“Early bookings and the increase in scheduled flights to Greece indicate that the 24.5 million visitors that Greece welcomed in 2014 –- including 2.5 million cruise ships arrivals –- will be surpassed this year,” said Andreas Andreadis, president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) during a press conference.
 Greece_All_Time Classic
Some 70 Greek enterprises are participating as co-exhibitors at the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) stand.
ITB Berlin will run until March 8.
More than 10,000 exhibitors from around 190 countries and regions are presenting their innovative products and services in the 26 display halls on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds. Over 100,000 trade visitors are expected to attend the world’s largest travel trade show in order find out about all the tourism industry’s products and services at this year’s event.

The Fortezza of Rethymno, Crete

Fortezza is Rethymno’s landmark and its most important monument, built in the late 16th century in order to reinforce the city’s defense..

The Venetian Fortrezza of Rethymno is almost at the center of the picturesque old town, offering panoramic views of the Cretan harbour-city.
One theory suggests that the hill on which it is built was once, possibly millennia ago, an island linked to the mainland by a narrow strip of land. The hill of Paleokastro (Old Castle) was probably the site of the acropolis of ancient Rithymna with its Temple of Apollo and a sanctuary of Artemis, though this hasn’t been proven.

Traditional Greek recipe: Octopus stewed in red wine.

This traditional Greek recipe produces a delicious octopus stew with a piquant red wine sauce.
This traditional Greek recipe produces a delicious octopus stew with a piquant red wine sauce.
1 octopus (about 1 ½ kilo)
4 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
1 wine glass of olive oil
1 wine glass of sweet wine from Lemnos
1 wine glass of vinegar
1 wine glass of dry red wine
Coarse ground pepper
Preparation method
Step 1
Make sure the octopus is thoroughly cleaned. Place the whole octopus in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Cover with the lid and put a weight on top to prevent the evaporation of the fluids. Cook for half an hour.
Step 2
Add the garlic, the bay leaves and the olive oil. Then, add the vinegar, the dry wine and, finally, the sweet wine. Bring the ingredients to a good boil.
Step 3
Cover again the lid, lower the heat and simmer the octopus for about 1 hour, until tender and until the sauce thickens. Before serving, sprinkle with plenty of pepper.

Source: Olive magazine
Chef: Ilias Mamalakis
Photo: George Drakopoulos 
Food Styling: Tina Webb

Russians Place Greece Among Top 3 Favorite Destinations

Greece was ranked third in the leading destinations selected by Russian tourists for their trips abroad in 2014, recording a 17 percent drop compared to 2013, according to the Russian Federation’s Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturizm).
 russian_passportsThe almost 50 percent plunge in the rate of the ruble is seen as leading to the decline in travel as Russian spending power dropped by 28 percent last year.
(Read more:gtp)

Dollar-Euro Exchange Rate Key to More Tourists from US

The number of American tourists opting to visit Greece this year is expected to rise in large part due to the appreciation of the US dollar against the euro, tourism experts said during the 2015 New York Times Travel Show, which took place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center this weekend.
Describing 2015 as a golden year for Greece, Consul General in New York, George Eliopoulos underlined the importance of the NYT travel report and added that there is great room for optimism, particularly due to the fact that the dollar has strengthened relative to the euro, making Greece an even more attractive destination.american_passport_euros_1
Citing an increased number in pre-bookings of package tours, Mr Eliopoulos added: “The average American tourist spends more money on holidays than his European counterpart.”
“The messages are particularly promising for this year. If this trend continues, Greece will become a highly competitive product in relation to other destinations,” he concluded.

Πέμπτη 5 Μαρτίου 2015

Lufthansa airlines: direct flights to Crete this summer

German Lufthansa airline has announced earlier this week that a new direct flight to Crete will be launched this summer.
More specifically, a flight connecting Munich to Heraklion in Crete will be operated once a week, starting from May 23, 2015.

 “Greece has always been a key market in the region, proving that even in a difficult financial environment, numbers remain strong and show positive signs of even better results,” said the announcement of the company.

Special dakos from Crete!

A traditional meze or light meal on the island of Crete, dakos is easy to make as it requires no cooking.
Serves: 1 Preparation time: 5m Cooking time: 0m Ready in: 5m

A traditional meze or light meal on the island of Crete, dakos is easy to make as it requires no cooking
One round barley rusk
1 medium ripe tomato
Olive oil
Some fresh basil, finely chopped
Xynomyzithra cheese
Some samphire
A few capers and caper leaves
Black salted olives
Preparation method
Step 1
Grate the tomato, add salt, a little olive oil, a few drops of vinegar and mix well.
Step 2
Place the barley rusk on a plate, cover it with the grated tomato and sprinkle with the chopped basil.
Step 3
Add the Xynomyzithra on top of the tomato and then the samphire.
Step 4
Decorate the dish with the capers, the caper leaves and the olives and drizzle with olive oil.
Source: Olive magazine
Chef: Dimitris Skarmoutsos

Τετάρτη 4 Μαρτίου 2015

lonelyplanet: Best places to stay in Crete, Greece.

'Crete has all types of places to unpack your suitcase – hostels, campgrounds and family hotels, rural villas and hotels (agrotourism), apartments and luxury resorts. Good-value accommodation abounds, especially in the south and inland villages.'

Plakias Suites, is one of them!

'Where you stay is one of the most important decisions to make when planning a holiday to Crete.'
 'Rethymno has some quieter getaways, plus Crete’s longest sandy beach; it’s a good base if you want to immerse yourself in the island’s culture.'
(Full article: Lonelyplanet)

New in Plakias Suites, Korres Amenities!

Δευτέρα 2 Μαρτίου 2015

Hello Spring!

The outstanding natural beauty of spring in Crete reaches its maximum during the months of March, April and May, ideal for those with special interests in bird watching and wildlife. Spring in Crete also boasts opportunities for those with particular interests in mountaineering, archaeology and walking.
Spring in Crete continues to attract thousands of tourists each year, due to the temperature, climate and serenity of this popular Greek island...

Κυριακή 1 Μαρτίου 2015

Photo of the Day...

Plakias is 35 kilometres south of Rethymno, on the southern coast of Crete on the Libyan Sea and is a popular tourist resort well-known for its award-winning Blue Flag sandy beach stretching for 1400 metres.

Sleep on Nature..

Season 2015.
The suites offer comfortable beds with orthosomatic mattresses by COCO-MAT