Κυριακή, 19 Μαΐου 2019

Greece No. 2 on Global ‘Blue Flag’ List with 515 High Quality Beaches

Greece is once again second in the world on the Blue Flag quality award list for beaches, marinas and sustainable tourism boats, according to the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (EEPF).

 The country ranked second on the 2019 Blue Flag quality award list among 47 countries with 515 beaches, 15 Greek marinas and four sustainable tourism boats.

Last year 519 Greek beaches, 15 marinas and one sustainable tourism boat were honored.

The iconic Blue Flag is a world-renowned voluntary eco-label, awarded to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators, trusted by millions around the globe.

The program is operated under the auspices of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. In Greece, the program’s coordinator is the EEPF.


Greece’s ranking was announced during a special event on Tuesday, held at Vouliagmeni Coast in Athens and attended by many tourism representatives of the state and private sector.

According to EEPF, 12 percent of the newly honored winning beaches, out of the 47 countries that participated in the program, are in Greece.

Moreover, most of Greece’s Blue Flag awards – 92 – went to beaches in Halkidiki, northern Greece.
On a worldwide scale the foundation awarded the international eco-label (blue flags) to 3,797 beaches, 695 marinas and 67 sustainable tourism boats for 2019.

 In order to qualify for the prestigious Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria must be met and maintained. “Excellent” water quality for beaches is a main requirement.

The Blue Flag award has a duration of one year. However, EEPF and FEE inspectors often make surprise visits to the country’s award-winning beaches between July and August and marinas all year round in order to check whether the criteria of the Blue Flag program are met.

According to the EEPF, leading international travel agencies and tour operators pay special attention to Blue Flag beaches when choosing the destinations they sell to travelers.

 (source gtp)

Τρίτη, 14 Μαΐου 2019

New Review on Tripadvisor: "A bijou on the south coast"

"The surveyable complex with five apartments is located at the street, separated from a district road.
 
At the other end of the bay is Plakias. 
 
A small pretty village with restaurants, shops, massage and other offers.  
 
The beach with the clear water is unique ..
 
Plakias Suites offers its own deckchairs for free on the stand.  
 
Beach towels are in the room.  
 
The apartments are modern, bright and comfortably furnished, including a furnished kitchen. 
 
 By the way, we slept well on the  Coco-mat mattresses. 
 
Eleni and George take care of their guests professionally and lovingly.  
 
The area is very easy to explore by car (other bays / beaches / numerous attractions).  
 
Great, relaxing holiday in a beautiful place. 
 
We are happy to come back!"
 
 Reviewed yesterday.
 Stayed: August 2018, travelled with family

 See here: TripAdvisor
 
 Plakiassuites: Ranked #1 of 57 Speciality Lodging in Plakias, Retyhymno - Crete!
  
  115 Reviews Certificate of Excellence

Πέμπτη, 18 Απριλίου 2019

Crete voted 4th best destination in the world for 2019: TripAdvisor Travel Awards

Crete was voted as the fourth best destination in the world in 2019, according to the reviews of millions of travelers from all over the world on TripAdvisor Travel Awards.

The winning destinations emerged from an algorithm based on hotel reviews and ratings, restaurants and travellers’ experiences from around the world over the past 12 months.

The methodology involved assessing the quality and volume of reviews in order to highlight destinations that systematically offered the best experience to tourists.
London, Paris, and Rome took the top three spots in the world based on the platform’s visitors.

In terms of best European rankings among other Greek destinations, Crete (4th) was followed by Santorini in the 11th place on the continent, with Rhodes coming in two spots behind in 13th spot.

On the domestic ranking, the top 10 destinations for 2019 were:
1. Crete
2. Santorini
3. Rhodes
4. Corfu
5. Mykonos
6. Athens
7. Zakynthos
8. Cephalonia
9. Kos
10. Naxos

Greece among the 20 safest countries to travel in 2019, report says

Greece was classified as one of the 20 safest countries in the world to travel in 2019, according to IPK International and ITB report, World Travel Monitor, presented on Wednesday at the ITB Convention.

In contrast, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan were considered to be the least safe destinations fr tourists for 2019.

The report estimates that international tourism will perform marginally worse in 2019 due to the slowdown in global economic growth. Overall, global outbound travel is expected to record an increase of 4% this year, with Asia-Pacific remaining the world leader in terms of growth rates (+ 6%).

The corresponding growth in America is expected to reach 5% and in Europe 3%, a slight deceleration compared to 2018.
Holidays in the sun and the sea, as well as city breaks, were the dominant trends in 2018.
City tourism in the period 2017-2018 recorded an explosive rise of 222%, followed by cruises with a 78% rise.

Hoppa.com: Greece in top-4 destinations in the world for 2019


Greece was among the top destinations for 2019, according to online platform hoppa.com.

These destinations were based on booking data in 2019 compared to the corresponding 2018 data.

The revised data on the platform revealed that Greece was the 4th most popular destination for its users, following last year’s record number of tourists (30 million) who visited the country.

Corfu (24%), Rhodes (19%) and Heraklion (18%) are projected to be the top choices for visitors this season.
Rhodes has a 3% increase in reservations, while Heraklion 4% compared to 2018.

The best time to visit Greece, according to hoppa.com, is the period from Spring to the beginning of the summer (April to mid-June) in autumn (from September to mid-October) when the weather remains warm and the crowds are less.

The list of the top-10 destinations worldwide features:
1. Spain
2. Portugal
3. Turkey
4. Greece
5. Malta
6. US
7. Poland
8. Egypt
9. Bulgaria
10. Italy

Greece the most popular destination from Salzburg: TUI Austria



Crete is the first, followed by Rhodes and Kos

Greece has a dominant position as a tourist destination in the Austrian market, according to booking data from TUI Austria for the summer of 2019.

According to TUI Austria CEO Lisa Weddig, Greece continues to be the most popular destination for the tour operator’s customers departing from Salzburg Airport, which offers 6 flights per week (2 to Crete, 1 to Kos, 1 to Rhodes, 1 to Corfu and 1 to Preveza).

Spain, and especially Mallorca, is also in high demand with daily flights from Salzburg, with 3 new connections this year through Eurowings.

Greece is also the first destination for TUI customers who have booked a departure from Salzburg, with Crete being the first, followed by Rhodes and Kos, in the second and third place, respectively, of their top 5 destinations.

Overall, TUI offers 23 weekly flights from Salzburg to Greece, Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Bulgaria, Italy, Croatia, and Corsica.
As Mrs. Weddig points out, there is strong growth in the branded hotels and tour operator concepts.
The TUI flight schedule from Austria this summer will be the most extensive of all time for the organisation.
(protothema)

Greece is the 3rd most popular destination for Germans in 2019: Thomas Cook



Greece is the third most popular vacation destination for the summer of 2019 in Germany, after Spain in the top spot, and Turkey which came in second, according to a trends report by tour operator Thomas Cook.

The data showed that Crete would be the most popular location for German visitors, with Thomas Cook adding new destinations to cover rising demand in islands such as Skiathos, Skopelos, and Thasos.

Spain remained the first pick for Germans for one more year, with the Canary and Balearic Islands, and from the mainland, Mallorca being the undisputed winners.

Greece was the second most popular destination for family vacations.
 
Turkey made a strong comeback as a popular holiday destination for the Germans with a share of about 60% in Neckermann Reisen. However, Egypt (70%), Greece (64%) and Bulgaria (63%) are still ahead.
Great demand was also recorded for personalised services in hotels, such as “My Room” and “My Sun Lounger”, while new extra services for the summer of 2019 are the late check-out until the afternoon, offered in 52 hotels in Spain, Greece, and Turkey.
(protothema)

Crete: Pre-bookings by Russian tourists up by 10%



The region of Crete showcased the beauties of the island at the 26th International Tourism Fair Mitt in Moscow 

 According to the office of the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) in Russia, pre-reservations for Greece are up by 10%.

Crete’s pavilion at 26th International Tourism Fair Mitt 2019 in Russia stole the show, which is the largest annual tourist event for Eastern Europe.
The three-day exhibition was attended by more than 22,000 people who had the opportunity to learn about Crete through printed material as well as to taste local dishes and to experience Cretan hospitality.

Crete for Russian tourists is a cultural and historical destination 365 days a year and is in line with the GNTO’s “tourism all year round” strategy.
The Region of Crete was represented by Kyriakos Kotsoglou, Deputy Chief of Administration and E-Governance of the Region of Crete, Maria Lavdaki, Regional Officer of Lassithi Tourism and the Regional Unity of Rethymno, Georgios Pantazis, as well as the tourist guide (Russian) Stamatis Patelaros.

The high level of exposure for the pavilion of the Region of Crete demonstrates the rising interest Crete is drawing as one of the most popular destinations for Russian travellers. The Minister of Tourism Elena Kountoura, journalists from major international media, representatives of tourist agencies from mainland Greece, etc. visited the kiosk of the Region of Crete.
(protothema)

Region of Crete picks up golden tourism award for its social media presence

The region won in the “Digital & Technology” category 

The administrative region of Crete picked up a Golden Award at the Tourism Awards 2019 at the Foundation of the Hellenic World, in the category “Digital & Technology”.

The prize was awarded for Crete’s strategic presence in social media, its methodical work, and innovative and smart concepts, as expressed via its “Incredible Crete” accounts on Instagram and Facebook.

Michalis Vamiedakis, the region’s appointed advisor received the award on behalf of Crete.
“The integrated campaign of promotion of the Region of Crete in social media has stood out, with the Cretan hospitality, gastronomy, culture, products and especially its people being at the forefront”, he said.

The Tourism Awards were organised by the Hotel & Restaurant of Boussias Communications, under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), and Marketing Greece.

TripAdvisor: Two Greek beaches in top 25 in the world



Greek beaches continue to amaze people from all over the world with their beauty, and the famous American travel website Tripadvisor has included two of them on their list of the World’s Top 25 Beaches for this year.

Balos and Elefonissi in Crete, were voted among TripAdvisor’s 25 best in the world for 2019, according to the online travel and tourism platform’s users.

Greek Museums, Archaeological Sites to Have Extended Hours Beginning April 1

Several major Greek museums and archaeological sites will remain open for longer hours as of April 1, the country’s Ministry of Culture said earlier this week.

The museums and sites will be equipped with more seasonal staff to cope with the additional hours of operation.

This move comes as Greece is seeing a constant increase in its tourist arrivals, something which adds significant numbers of visitors to the country’s museums and sites.

So, as of Monday, April 1, the site of the Acropolis and the Knossos Palace in Crete will be open from 8 AM until 6 PM (local time).

The Peloponnese’s Epidaurus and its museum, the site and museum of Mycenae, the site of Tiryns, and the Palamidi fortress overlooking the city of Nafplio will be open from 8 AM until 7 PM.
The ancient site of Delphi will be open from 8 AM until 7 PM.
 The Palace of the Grand Magister and the site of Lindos on Rhodes will both be open from 8.30 AM until 5 PM.

The rest of the archaeological sites and museums of the country will continue operating from 8:30 AM to 4 PM, until more staff is hired to cover additional hours.
In its announcement, the Ministry of Culture noted that “the process of hiring seasonal guards and cleaning crews for the archaeological sites and museums of Athens is ongoing. It is expected to be completed by April 15, when the expanded schedule of 8 AM to 8 PM will be introduced.”

With information from AMNA
(greek reporter)

Mediterranean Cooking: Spring vegetable stew

By: Elias Mamalakis | | Meals, Mediterranean Cooking

Spring in a dish! Try this light, vegetarian recipe and you will love the way all flavors mix together.

Serves: 5 Prep. time: 20′ Cooks in: 50′ Ready in: 1:10′

Ingredients
10 large artichokes, prepared
1 kg fresh peas, prepared
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dill, finely chopped
10 spring onions, finely chopped
300 g tinned tomatoes, finely chopped
200 ml tomato juice
1 tbsp sugar
salt, black pepper

Method

Step 1
In a large pan heat oil on medium heat and cook spring onions until shiny. Add peas and artichokes and stir for 1 minute. Add all tomato and a little water to cover peas.

Step 2
Stir in sugar, season with salt and pepper, cover with lid and cook for 40-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender and sauce thickens. Before you remove pan from heat, stir in dill and extra salt or pepper if necessary. Serve warm with crusty bread and some feta cheese.

Photo: George Drakopoulow – Food styling: Elena Jeffrey

Τρίτη, 26 Φεβρουαρίου 2019

Rethymno carnival

Here Carnival festivities and Venetian tradition meet!

Every year in Rethymno, for almost a whole month, the city plays host to a succession of fun-filled celebrations, bringing together locals and visitors who participate in this carnival because they love to enjoy every moment of their lives.
You will see groups of people sitting together in traditional cafés (kafeneia) drinking “tsikoudiá” (raki), tasting Cretan titbits and thinking up “mantinádes” (folk couplet songs) on the spot.

The whole town becomes one big party; people work together in order to organise all the festivities that take place in Rethymno and the surrounding areas.
The most important work is done by volunteers, people of all ages who freely contribute their efforts and come up with ever more innovative ideas for the festivities because of their passion for the city’s carnival. Each year the carnival celebrations has a different theme, the element on which the main theatrical act of the dance groups will be based.

The beginning of the carnival of Rethymno will be signalled by a town crier, who will walk all around Rethymno telling people about the festivities that are going to take place.
The carnival starts with a treasure hunt for children, and there will be numerous parties, carnival dances, happenings and workshop for children to make objects by hand, all specially planned to amuse the kids.However, those of you who are older but young at heart won’t have any complaints; all kinds of celebrations will fill the streets and squares of this picturesque town.

The numerous events also include a treasure hunt, the dancing of the carnival groups and the extravagant night-time parade of the carnival floats through the streets of the town. You shouldn’t miss the “Kantáda”, a four-hour serenade with bel canto musical influences, where carnival groups walk through the old town and fill every corner with their nostalgic melodies.

The carnival in Rethymno culminates in the great float parade: 15,000 revellers will participate in the parade on 6th March in a spectacular production of pictures and sounds and a strong Venetian influence evident in the costumes, the carnival floats and the spirit of the carnival celebration. The carnival will come to its end with the burning of the effigy of the Carnival King.

Customs as old as the hills come alive once more. Attend the “Moutzoúroma” (daubing) in the villages of Arméni, Geráni and Rousospíti. You should definitely attend the “Klépsimo tis Nýfis” (the stealing of the Bride), the “Avgomázema” (egg collecting) and “Kantí” in the village of Melidóni. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the village of Méronas, a true folklore paradise, where a variety of customs are re-enacted, such as the “Lerades”, the “Arkoúda” (bear), the “Hódja”(Turkish priest), the ”Tsangáris” (cobbler), the “Proxenió” (match-making) and the “Kamíla” (camel).
(source:visitgreece)

Δευτέρα, 25 Φεβρουαρίου 2019

“Oh My Greece” beautiful video promotes Greece

"Imagine hearing a song that instantly reminds you of being in Greece.

All those holiday memories sweeping in like waves on an Aegean beach…

The food, the mood, the people, the amazing scenery.

All those times you went, ‘Oh My Greece!’.

Well how about we unlock that feeling right now?😍 " 

The hashtags  #OhMyGreece | #unlockthefeeling want to engage social media users !

Παρασκευή, 8 Φεβρουαρίου 2019

Crete in top five of TripAdvisor’s best travel world destinations

The Greek island of Crete has just been voted the fifth best of all the world’s top destinations in TripAdvisor’s recent “Best Destinations in the World – Travelers Choice” awards.

Crete was featured among the most well-known and popular tourist destinations anywhere on the globe including London, Paris, Barcelona, Bali and New York.

The first three places on the TripAdvisor award list were taken by Paris, London, and Rome, while destinations such as Istanbul, Tokyo and New York ranked lower than Crete on the list.

Crete and Bali, Indonesia were the only two island destinations to be featured in the top ten locations this year.

Crete is a rising destination for Americans

Greek Pavilion at the New York Times Travel Show

The island of Crete took part in the New York Times Travel Show for the second year in a row boosting its presence in the US market.
The show took place from 25 to 27 January 2019 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, New York.

Local authorities from the Region of Crete have turned their attention on the lucrative US market, targeting the American public in an effort to boost visits.
The New York Times Travel Show is the longest-running trade show for tourism in North America aimed at both professionals in the field and consumers.
This year, Greece was a silver sponsor and its pavilion, which was more impressive and larger than last year, was located at the front part of the expo centre, thus offering higher exposure and more visits by the visitors and tourism professionals.

The pavilion of the Region of Crete was at the centre of the stage, and was the focus of interest by visitors, the media and tourist agents. Diplomatic officials and representatives of the Greek community also stopped by and talked with the staff at the Cretan pavilion.
All of the visitors were treated by the amazing display of a Cretan dance group that presented traditional dances.

According to the Director of the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), Greta Kamaterou, Greece has surpassed 1,200,000 visitors from America and Crete is a rising destination for visitors, as it can offer exceptional gastronomy and unique adventure.
(source:proto thema)

Τετάρτη, 23 Ιανουαρίου 2019

Greek Passport is the World’s Seventh Most Powerful

The Greek passport is the seventh most-powerful travel document in the world, according to the annual global ranking of the Henley Passport Index, released recently.

The Henley index measures the number of countries certain passport holders may visit without having to apply for a visa.
According to their passport index, Greek citizens may freely visit 184 countries without having to obtain a visa.

Greece shares the seventh place along with the nations of Canada, Belgium and Ireland.

Japan remained in the top spot worldwide for the second consecutive year in the list of the world’s most powerful passports. Japanese citizens may visit 190 out of a possible 218 countries in the world without obtaining a visa.

South Korea edged up from from the October, 2018 index rankings to join Singapore, as both nations offer unfettered access to 189 jurisdictions, thanks to a new visa-on-arrival agreement with India.

European countries also performed favorably, with European Union member states (along with Norway and the U.S.) filling in the spots below the top three nations. However, the U.K. continues to drop down the rankings, along with the U.S.

The least powerful passports in the world currently belong to the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq.
(Source:greekreporter)

Greece on List of Most Hospitable Places on the Planet

Seemingly everyone around the world dreams of taking a vacation in Greece, and apparently they are on to something. Greece has just been named one of the “Most Hospitable Places in the World” in a report released by Booking.com.

What is it about Greece that people find so welcoming? Let’s take a look.

Greece has beautiful natural sights, including islands and archaeological ruins, as well as great food. And Greeks are well-known for being excellent hosts when tourists visit their country. But this is not only because the country depends greatly on tourism.

Greece is the home of “filoxenia”, which loosely translated means “love of strangers”. They have historically been known to be inviting and warm to travelers from distant lands. This is party perhaps because Greeks love to tell stories about their family, their village, their “Ellada” (Greece). Greeks are so proud of their history and culture — of both ancient times and what they have achieved in modern society.

It should be no surprise that based on Booking.com’s 2018 Guest Review Awards, Greece received the honor of being included on the list of the most welcoming places on earth.

This is the seventh edition of the annual report, which evaluates of hundreds of thousands of properties across 219 countries and territories.

The final results, released by booking.com, show that the most welcoming countries are, in descending order, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, New Zealand, Taiwan, Romania, Hungary, Ireland, Serbia, and Greece.
(Source: Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi/greekreporter)

Τετάρτη, 9 Ιανουαρίου 2019

The Guardian: Greece’s ‘Rakomelo’ Among World’s Best Winter Drinks

Greece’s ‘rakomelo’, a strong distilled spirit produced from grape pomace, is included on The Guardian’s list of the 10 best warming winter drinks in the world.

 According to an article recently published in the online edition of the British newspaper, rakomelo is featured among the world’s best traditional and – in some cases – homemade alcoholic drinks, which are mostly consumed during winter and include the gløgg, Denmark’s traditional mulled wine; Chile’s quintessential Christmas and new year aperitif “cola de mono” and Japan’s “hirezake”.


“When winter arrives in Greece, locals turn to rakomelo, a mix of tsipouro (a pomace brandy that’s similar to grappa, but fruitier), spices and honey,” The Guardian says.
“To make it, the tsipouro is gently warmed with cloves and cinnamon – orange peel is often also added – and then mixed with a little honey. The resulting drink – its alcoholic kick mellowed by the sweetness – is served in small ceramic or glass pitchers and poured into miniature cups (a Mediterranean version of those used for sake) or shot glasses; it is meant to be sipped and enjoyed in good company.”

The Guardian’s list includes the following warming winter drinks:


  • Chacha, Georgia
  • Grzane piwo, Poland
  • Gløgg, Denmark
  • Mumma, Sweden
  • Jägertee, Austria
  • Rakomelo, Greece
  • Cola de mono, Chile
  • Hirezake, Japan
  • Jólaglögg, Iceland
  • Mulled cider, UK  
(source:gtp)