Πέμπτη, 26 Νοεμβρίου 2020

Greece’s largest and most populous island, Crete .. from space

 

Greece’s largest and most populous island, Crete, is featured in this image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission.

The two identical Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites carry radar instruments, which can see through clouds and rain, and in the dark, to image Earth’s surface below. The sea surface reflects the radar signal away from the satellite, making water appear dark in the image, while cities on the island are visible in white owing to the strong reflection of the radar signal.

Crete extends for approximately 260 km from west to east, and is approximately 60 km across at its widest point. Crete is known for its rugged terrain and is dominated by a high mountain range crossing from west to east. 

This includes the Lefká Ori, or ‘White Mountains’ in the west, Mount Ida, Crete’s highest mountain, visible in the centre of the island, and the Díkti Mountains in the east. Crete’s capital and largest city of the island, Heraklion, is located along the northern coastline.

Several other smaller islands are dotted around the image, including Gavdos, Chrisi and Dia.

Read more ESA

Always the sea ..

Beach Resort: Plakias suites

Crete 3rd best global destination in TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award 2020


 

The popular online travel/tourism platform released its 2020 Travelers’ Choice Awards and Crete featured in 3rd spot. Only London and Paris bested the Greek island in popularity.

 As the piece notes on Crete, it is the birthplace of both the king of the Olympian gods and of modern European civilization, dubbing it a Mediterranean jewel. 

It’s rich with archaeological and mythological history that’s reflected in its ancient ruins and cultural attractions. 

Soak up the charming atmosphere of Chania Town’s Old Venetian Harbor or the fortresses and monasteries of Rethymnon. 

The awesome Minoan ruins of Malia date to 1900 BC and majestic Mt. Ida is said to be home to the cave where Zeus was born.

Survey: Greece Among Top 3 Booking Choices for US Travelers

 

Greece is among the top three international destinations that American travelers are booking, according to a survey on tourism recovery in the post-coronavirus era released by the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA).

The new findings from a survey of USTOA’s Tour Operator Active Members on post-Covid-19 plans for recovery and resumption of business, found that Italy topped the list of destinations of choice, followed by Ireland, and in third spot Greece, Germany, and the UK.

“We saw Europe have a strong presence in last year’s survey and PwC’s survey the year prior, showing us that there is still strong interest and growth for European travel amongst US consumers,” said USTOA President and CEO, Terry Dale


It should be noted that half (50 percent) of USTOA members anticipate returning to Europe in the second quarter of 2021, 33 percent of which specifically named April 2021.  

Two thirds (69 percent) of respondents to the survey conducted in late October, say they are confident or highly confident that guest bookings will increase in 2021 while nine out of 10 expressed their company’s outlook for resumption of business in 2021 is optimistic or cautiously optimistic. 

Indicatively, 63 percent of tour operator members reported an increase in new bookings in the last 60 days, while 29 percent reported no change with bookings remaining the same. 

With regard to time of travel based on bookings made in the last 60 days, 92 percent of active agents said travel bookings were made for the third quarter of 2021, 79 percent for Q4 2021, 69 percent for Q2 2021, while 33 percent for first quarter of 2021. Additionally, 21 percent reported bookings for Q4 2020 and 60 percent for 2022.

In terms of average age of those who traveled or are booked to travel between July and December 2020, the survey reports 43 percent in the 56-74 age group, 26 percent – 40-55-year-olds, 15 percent in the 24-39 bracket, 8 percent 23 or younger and 8 percent – 75+.

 

According to the study, USTOA’s active members named small group tours as the most popular travel product for 2021, followed by private groups, FIT, river cruising, small ship cruising, and classic group tours (25+ passengers).

Safety and wellness appear to have the strongest influence on consumers choosing a travel destination in 2021, followed by border reopening/government travel restrictions and lastly, distance/ease of travel to and from destination, value, and outdoor components.  

Cancellation/refund policy was named the top most frequently asked question during bookings in the last 60 days, followed by queries about health protocols and health/Covid-19 insurance policies.  

Lastly, with regard to re-opening business, active members named customer confidence as the biggest obstacle to operating in 2021, followed by border closing and confusion across countries/states and uncertainty of Covid-19 vaccine.

Other concerns included coordination of protocols across states/borders/suppliers, availability of rapid Covid-19 testing, flight connectivity, insurance coverage, news media cycle, and insecurity about suppliers.

 Source GTP

Athens in top 10 friendliest European cities: Condé Nast Traveler

 


Athens is on the list of the top ten friendliest cities in Europe, published by Condé Nast Traveller (CNT) travel magazine.

“While Europe’s best cities are often judged on their ancient history, intricate architecture, unrivalled art scene or amazing restaurants, sometimes what makes a place so great are its people,” CNT wrote.

The Friendliest Cities in Europe

Galway, Ireland – 97.33
Dublin, Ireland – 95.81
Valletta, Malta – 95
Oporto, Portugal – 93.82
Lisbon, Portugal – 93.67
Bologna, Italy – 93.51
Edinburg, UK – 92.54
Reykjavik, Iceland – 92.4
Athens, Greece – 92.32
Helsinki, Finland – 91.76

Launched in the United States in 1987, Condé Nast Traveler is a market-leading monthly travel magazine. With its motto of “Truth in Travel”, the publication provides enlightening content on a wide range of topics, including destinations, hotels, food and beverage, airlines as well as fashion, cars, digital, and grooming.

 

Minister: Tourism Not to Blame for Second Covid-19 Wave in Greece

 

Tourism cannot be blamed for the recurrence of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, said Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis this week, supporting the government’s decision earlier this summer to re-open to travelers despite the unprecedented conditions.

Speaking on pubic radio, Theoharis said that Covid-19 was a war and “in times of war, decisions are made based on data in order to achieve the best possible result”. 

“2020 was an extremely difficult year. The government had to ensure balance between its health obligations towards our fellow citizens and the gradual opening of the Greek economy which includes tourism,” he said.

“We managed to find a much better balance than most European countries and that gives us pride,” he said, adding that Greece has been recognized internationally for its success in safely opening to tourism.

Theoharis went on to add that Greece managed to safely handle approximately 6 million travelers this year, which was a significant gain for the Greek economy.

“Fears of an early second wave in the summer with the arrival of tourists have been dispelled and it is clear that the opening of tourism is not responsible for the second wave of the pandemic,” he said.

 

Theoharis went on to reiterate the importance of the decision to re-open to travelers noting that it strengthened Greece’s “brand name” and reputation as a country that was able to manage the Covid-19 crisis well, leaving the best impressions on visitors.

This, he said, was demonstrated by the number of awards Greek tourism and travel businesses and infrastructure, including Athens International Airport and AEGEAN airlines, won for enforcing strict protocols and ensuring safe travel.

“This demonstrates that protocols were followed with professionalism, seriousness and consistency, as should be the case,” he said.

The minister lastly referred to a national tourism plan currently being drawn up focusing on short-term objectives including the best preparation for 2021 as well as on broader strategic actions.

Source GTP

Greece in Process of Forming 10-year Strategic Plan for Tourism

 


The Greek government is in the process of putting a 10-year strategic plan for tourism in place following the country’s performance as a safe destination in summer 2020, according to Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis.

Speaking on Monday during the 4th International Hospitality Forum (IHF), held in a digital format by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) and Phocuswright, Minister Theoharis said that Greece’s decision to ‘open’ its tourism market this past summer, in the midst of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, showed results and led to a huge success story.

“None of us will reminisce 2020 in the future with positive feelings, as it is a year in which tourism has taken a serious blow at a global scale. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that we need to turn to the light and not let ourselves get lost in the darkness. Every big crisis can turn into a big opportunity if we focus on the light,” the minister said.

“Especially for Greek tourism, for the professionals and the employees involved in the sector, the current health crisis has already worked as an opportunity to allow conscientiousness, dutifulness – filotimo – and caring for our fellow human beings to shine through,” Theoharis said.

 Referring to Greece’s tourism performance in the summer, the minister said the country accommodated approximately 5 million foreign visitors, enforcing health and safety guidelines that were almost meticulously adhered to.

“Based on full-proof evidence, the number of confirmed COVID cases was minimal, down to a mere 0.03 percent among the tourists,” the minister said.

According to Theoharis, the sector’s performance led Greece to the top of all tourist destinations in Southern Europe.

“The health and safety protocols were followed without fail by all the hotels and therefore we managed to strengthen, more effectively than ever before, the brand ‘Greece’,” he said, adding that the country created significant credibility and trust reserves, which it can capitalize on in the tourism seasons to follow.

 10-year strategic plan

At this point, Minister Theoharis announced that the tourism ministry is already in the process of putting a 10-year strategic plan in place.

“Tourism changes incessantly. The new facts require adjustments, innovation and creativity so that Greece can maintain the leading role it has conquered. Alongside this role, tourism can maintain its vital surplus value for the national economy as well for society at large,” he said.

As underlined by the minister, the 10-year strategic plan for Greek tourism needs to be coordinated with the priorities of the RRF (Recovery & Resilience Fund). Based on these priorities, new funding tools will be formulated starting in 2021 and for the years to follow.

The minister then emphasized the importance of two terms: sustainable growth and digital reform – the two themes of the 4th IHF.

“The thematics of this forum are to-the-point regarding sustainability as well as the rapid integration of new technologies in all aspects of the global tourism market… These two factors will determine the touristic future of our country. They will thus safeguard that Greece remains securely at the top of global tourism in the years to follow,” he said.

“The virtual organization of this event further testifies to the unshakable fact that our future is digital,” Minister theoharis added.

continue GTP

Bougatsa with orange cream

 By: Ioanna Stamoulou | | Desserts, Mediterranean Cooking

 This delicious Greek pastry with cream ranks among the highest of any treats you have ever tried… Give it a try with an orange cream this time! It’s amazing!

Serves: 8 Prep. time: 15′ Cooks in: 40′ Ready in: 55′

Ingredients
2 puff pastry sheets
1/2 cup butter, melted

For the cream
500 ml milk
1 orange, zested
100 ml fresh orange juice
50 g fine semolina
30 g flour, sifted
2 eggs
100 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For serving
icing sugar
cinnamon

Method
Step 1
Heat milk with orange zest on medium heat in a large heavy bottom pan.

Step 2
Beat eggs with sugar and vanilla in your mixer bowl, add semolina and flour beating at all times. Add orange juice and beat until well-combined. Incorporate 1 ladle of milk in the egg and semolina mixture, beating at all times. Transfer mixture in the pan, stirring at all times and allowing to come to a boil. When it thickens, remove pan from heat. Allow to cool. Preheat oven at 180οC/fan.

Step 3
Brush a clean surface with butter. Lay the first puff pastry sheet and brush with butter. Transfer half cream in the center of the sheet in a rectangular shape. Bring in the edges, brush with a little water and close in a packet. Repeat the procedure once more. Place upside down on a baking dish lined with non-stick baking parchment.

Step 4
Brush the two bougatsas with butter and bake for 30 minutes or until nicely colored. Serve warm. Cut each bougatsa in four pieces and sprinkle with sifted icing sugar and cinnamon.