Σάββατο 25 Δεκεμβρίου 2021

Christmas wishes

We wish you Merry Christmas and happy New Year !!

Παρασκευή 17 Δεκεμβρίου 2021

Greece demands COVID-19 tests from all visitors

 ATHENS, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Travellers to Greece will need a negative COVID-19 PCR test to enter the country as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

The measure will be in effect from Dec. 19 and the tests will need to be no more than 48 hours old.

The Omicron coronavirus variant has been detected in 77 countries since it was first identified three weeks ago, fuelling concerns that its large number of mutations will help it spread faster and evade protection provided by COVID-19 vaccines or prior infection.

In Britain, at least one person has died after contracting Omicron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, the first publicly confirmed death globally from the variant.

Τρίτη 14 Δεκεμβρίου 2021

Construction of the longest highway in Europe is underway in Crete

 The first phase of the environmental approval was signed 


The modern highway of Crete, which will connect the island from Kissamos to Sitia, and will be the longest highway to be built in Europe on its completion in the upcoming years, is on track after the Ministry of Environment and Energy approved the environmental conditions for the first section of the Northern Road Axis of Crete (VOAK) from Hersonissos to Neapolis, 22.5 km long.

It is one of the largest infrastructure investments that will be implemented in the country in the coming years.

The Decision for the Approval of Environmental Terms (AEPO) was signed by the competent General Directorate of Environmental Policy and is the first step for the implementation of the emblematic project.

This is the first AEPO issued for the “largest new highway to be built in Europe”, as described by the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, while already the Ministry of Environment and Energy, with a view to environmental protection and its smooth implementation project, is preparing the environmental licensing of the next section of BOAK, from Chania to Heraklion.

(source:proto thema)

Greece set to pay its final debt to the IMF

 The IMF welcomed the development 

Greece is set to pay off its final debt to the IMF in January 2022, after the approval of the Eurogroup.

In March 2022, the Greek state will make an early repayment of part of the bilateral loans of the first memorandum, with countries of the European Union.

The development was welcomed on Monday by the IMF Director-General Kristalina Georgieva, noting it was “a great achievement”.

“Regarding Greece, I am excited that the country is doing so well. It is a great achievement for the country. 

The repayment of the Fund brings a symbolic closing of a difficult period for the Greek people and for the economy of Greece. 

Our role will continue to include monitoring and providing policy advice, we will continue to provide services to Greece if the country considers them useful,” said the head of the IMF.

(source:proto thema)

What were the names of the months in Ancient Greece?

Each region had its own calendar  

Many ancient civilisations had their own calendrical systems. Of these, the Greek calendar is most likely the most confusing. The Greek Calendar is much like ancient Greece itself. It shared a certain basic similarity from region to region, but each city-state kept its own version. 

All the Greek calendars were lunisolar (based on the sun and moon) and shared the same basic features of the other lunisolar calendars: twelve months, with a periodic intercalation of a thirteenth.

The Athenian calendar is the best known and most intensively studied. The Athenian months were named Hekatombion, Metageitnion, Boedromion, Pyanepsion, Maimakterion, Poseidon, Gamelion, Anthesterion, Elaphebolion, Munychion, Thargelion, and Skirophorion. 

The intercalary month usually came after Poseidon and was called the second Poseidon. Hekatombion, and hence the beginning of the year, fell in the summer. Other Greek regions started their year at different times (e.g., Sparta, Macedonia in fall, Delos in winter).

For the historian inclined towards tidy orderliness, the regrettable fact is that the Athenians were simply unwilling to stick to a completely regular calendar, which makes reconstruction difficult. 

Their irregularity was not from a lack of astronomical knowledge. In 432 BCE, the Athenian astronomer Meton instituted his 19-year cycle, fixing regular intercalations (whether Meton got this cycle from Babylonia or discovered it himself is not known). 

From that point, a small group of Greek astronomers used the Metonic cycle in their calculations, but this should be regarded as an astronomer’s ideal calendar. 

Abundant epigraphical evidence demonstrates that in the civil calendar, while the archons inserted approximately the correct number of intercalary months over the long term, the specific corrections were somewhat arbitrary, as the archons saw fit. This irregularity doesn’t really affect the long-term workings of the calendar, but it does make things very confusing when trying to establish a precise date for an event.

(source polysyllabic.com)

The magical Balos Beach in Crete (video)

Crystal clear water, the lagoon, rocky steep mountains, a beach bar and a pirate island are located at the same region

Balos Beach, the incredible lagoon with the turquoise exotic and tropical water of the Mediterranean sea is located in the Chania region in Crete Island. 

Balos is one of the most visited beaches in Crete and a popular destination for visitors who flock from around the world to experience truly exotic scenery in Europe.

Crystal clear water, the lagoon, rocky steep mountains, a beach bar providing umbrellas and shadow with beverages and a pirate island are located at the same region that is accessible by a 20 min trek or boat.

Greece tried to boost its tourism and gave privileges to vaccinated against the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic to international tourists and locals, as the country is heavily dependent on the tourism industry.

(source:proto thema)

Two Greek bars in World’s 50 Best Bars (top 15 list)

 The Clumsies came in 4th 

 Famous Athenian bar The Clumsies made in the top 5 list of this year’s World’s 50 Best Bars taking 4th place. The list of the best bars in the world was announced and it seems Europe, as well as specific states of North America, managed to largely displace the dominant USA.

With London holding top honours, as the British capital not only holds top but also the second spot,  New York barely scraped into 10th place, with Katana Kitten, creating space for some of the top bars in Asia, Barcelona and New Mexico. In 4th place, on the other hand, the favourite, very famous, now, Athenian The Clumsies, proved once again that it is worth and with the above its excellent reputation among the bars that are responsible for creating some of the most interesting and special flavoured cocktails on the planet.

However, The Clumsies is not the only bar in Athens that has earned a spot on the list. At number 14 we have another well-known bar, Baba au Rum, which managed to leave the famous Zuma in Dubai far behind.


See in detail the top 15 Bars on the list:

(1) Connaught Bar (London)

(2) Tayēr + Elementary (London)

(3) Paradiso (Barcelona)

(4) The Clumsies (Athens)









(5) Best Florería Atlántico (Buenos Aires) Best Bar in South America

(6) Licorería Limantour (Mexico City) The best bar in North America

(7) Coa (Hong Kong) The best bar in Asia

(8) El Copitas (St. Petersburg)

(9) Jigger & Pony (Singapore)

(10) Katana Kitten (New York)

(11) Two Schmucks (Barcelona)

(12) Hanky Panky (Mexico City)

(13) Insider Bar (Moscow)

(14) Baba au Rum (Athens)








(15) Manhattan (Singapore)


(source:proto thema)

The Oldest Olive Tree in the World in Greece


The ancient Olive Tree of Vouves located in the island of Crete and is believed to be the oldest olive tree in the world, which still produces olives!

It’s only one of seven olive trees in the Mediterranean, which are believed to be over 2,000 years old. Although its exact age cannot be verified, scientists from the University of Crete have estimated it to be 4,000 years old.With a trunk circumference of 12.50 metres and a diameter of 4.60 metres, to this day, its olives are highly prized. 

 The Olive Tree Museum of Vouves is ideally located next to this special Olive Tree of Vouves, which is visited by over 20,000 people each year from around the world.

The monumental tree has been declared a “natural heritage monument” by the Secretary General of the Region of Crete, due to its ecological and historical importance.

You may visit the olive tree by car, heading west from Chania, take the exit to “Tavronitis” and then follow the signs towards “Ano Vouves.”

(Source: Best of Greece)

Greece Named Best Tourism Destination at US Tested Reader Survey Awards 2021


Greece has been announced Best Tourism Destination for 2021 at the Tested Reader Survey Awards, organized for the 18th year by Global Traveler, a leading US monthly travel magazine.

According to an announcement by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), this is the first time that Greece receives the award.

Other “Best Tourism Destination” winners are Italy in second place; Spain and Ireland in third and fourth position, and South Africa in fifth.

The winners were selected by the readers of Global Traveler in 80 categories related to travel including destinations, airlines, airports, hotels, travel and tourism services providers etc.

This year’s survey was conducted between December 14, 2020 – September 30 2021 among over 22,000 readers.

The award ceremony will take place in Beverly Hills on December 14. Greece will be represented by Greek National Tourism Organization Head in the US & Canada Konstantinos Charokopos.

Global Traveler picks Greece for holidays


Following the announcement of the Tested Reader Survey Awards winners, Global Traveler included Greece among its “must-see” destinations for future holidays.

“All the stakeholders of the travel tourism industry have gone beyond their limits to keep the world ‘open’ for as long as possible, and it is our honor to reward them,” the magazine’s editors said.

“Whether this is your first or 20th visit to the country, make sure that Greece is on the list of destinations that you will soon visit ,” they added.

According to the GNTO, Global Traveler has an average circulation of 550,000 issues. Fifty percent of its readers are business owners or executives that fly frequently within the US and abroad.

 (source: gtp)

Poll: Greece Among Top 10 European Destinations for Source Markets

Greece is in the top 10 European destinations of choice for travelers coming from key source markets, according to the latest study released this week by INSETE, the research department of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE).

More specifically, according to the “Trends and Preferences for International Travel Among Greek Markets in Europe and the US” conducted by Censuswide on behalf of INSETE, Greece is the second-favorite destination in the Italian market, third in the UK, Germany, and France, and fifth in the Austrian market.

The survey was carried out on 7,100 people aged over 17 in the last two weeks of September from eight of Greece’s key source markets for incoming tourism, namely Germany, UK, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the US, and focuses on city break travel and sea & sun holidays.

Key takeaways according to INSETE:

– sea & sun is still the main reason for travel followed by city break holidays

– final cost is a key factor affecting decision to travel as well as safety in Covid times

– travelers opt to book three to seven overnight stays with those from France, Germany and the Netherlands preferring holidays that last for at least 10 days

– German, French, Italian, Austrian, Swiss and Dutch travelers are looking to travel in the summer months in 2022, while British and American tourists  want to travel until March

– top accommodation choices for the majority of markets – with the exception of the US and UK – are 4- or 5-star hotels. In the case of city break visits, short-term rentals are a preferred choice


– besides sea & sun, travelers are interested in parallel activities including cultural happenings and city visits

– tourists from the UK, France and the US plan to visit a city in the next six months to February, while the majority of Germans, Italians, Austrians, Swiss and Dutch choose to visit from March onwards

– travelers opting to visit cities are also seeking a mix of experiences including shopping, dining, day excursions and sports. 

(source: gtp)

Τετάρτη 3 Φεβρουαρίου 2021

Plakias Suites: #1 of 59 Specialty Lodging in Plakias, Rethymno Crete/Greece

 Plakias Suites (5.0 of 5 stars) Ranked 1 of 59 Specialty Lodging in Plakias according the popular travel site TripAdvisor 

"Plakias Suites is a family complex of 6 apartments that fits perfectly into the natural Cretan surroundings in one of the most attractive locations in southern Crete, the bay of Plakias.

 Having already received the prize Certificate of Excellence with 128 Reviews!!"


 Enjoy your Breakfast next to the sea !

In a unique place, fully harmonized with the natural environment, where everything is carefully tailored to the smallest detail, you can enjoy a rich breakfast with delicious flavors. 

The comfortable seating, the unique tastes and the view of the deep blue sea, will give you the most fresh and dynamic start for a day of outdoors in Plakias!

The Beach House is an all-day bar mix, we start the day with fresh orange juice, coffee and delicious brunch and continue with cold and hot snacks, fresh organic Greek salad at the end of the day we offer first class alcohol cocktails.

Do you prefer breakfast in the privacy of your luxury suite? Just let us know. 

Book a table Beach House

Παρασκευή 29 Ιανουαρίου 2021

Greece No.1 sustainable food destination in the world: Lonely Planet

In Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2021’ list

 Greece was included in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2021’ list. “Nothing is more genuine than the massive serving of filoxenia (hospitality) extended to anyone and everyone; it’s a way of life for the Greeks. It’s embedded in their DNA, and throughout the country.”

“We decided to make this year’s Best in Travel different by recognising places and people demonstrating a genuine commitment to sustainability, community and diversity. And that’s only the beginning. We salute all the winners!” President and CEO, Luis Cabrera said.

Highlights in the Sustainability category include Greece as the number one food destination and Palau as the top island chain.

Sustainable Food Destination – Greece

With its organic produce markets and island seafood, Greece finds itself an unintentional leader of the world’s most sustainable food.

Lonely Planet notes: “Greece may not be known worldwide for implementing formal initiatives surrounding sustainable practices, but informally, Greeks have been green for centuries.”

“The age-old habit of growing vegetables, harvesting olives and preparing silky oil, and cooking up a storm with tomatoes, fresh fish and wild greens is the norm for most folk whether they live on an island or the mainland.”

But nothing is more genuine, as Lonely Planet reports, than filoxenia. “It’s a way of life for the Greeks. It’s embedded in their DNA, and throughout the country, generous and passionate locals share their knowledge with travellers, coupling fantastic fresh cooking with back-to-nature activities such as trekking through diverse landscapes.”

Analysing the nutritional peculiarities geographically, the magazine advises: Hikers can wander the mountains of Kalymnos with Kalymnos Experiences and learn about the intricacies of fragrant herbs. Or take a seat by a historic windmill at Mylos Fish Restaurant, Leros, and nibble on octopus carpaccio (sourced that morning from the fisher’s docks). And don’t miss the tasty, organic cuisine of Crete.”

(more at greekcitytimes.com)

Κυριακή 24 Ιανουαρίου 2021

TUI extends program to Greece until November and sees strong demand for 2021


The tour operator’s leadership believes that Greece handled the pandemic exceptionally

 TUI is extending its program in Greece until November, in spite of the global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic “betting” on the extension of the season.

“By the end of November we can reach the target of 1 million travelers that TUI will bring to Greece, of which 20% is estimated in the autumn period until November,” Sebastian Ebel, member of the executive board of TUI, responsible for the sectors of Hotels, Cruise and Group Activities said yesterday in an online update on the group’s plans in Greece.

Thomas Ellerbeck, a member of the Executive Committee of TUI, pointed out that Greece is “this year the number 1 destination for the group, a fact which is due to both the TUI team itself and the attitude of the Greek government and the Greek hoteliers in the part of dealing with the pandemic, for which it could be a model for other destinations in Europe “.

Ebel announced that TUI is extending the season until November for the first time and “this year especially the weather is very good. To turn Greece from a destination of six months into one of 9 months is very important and we believe that at the moment there is an opportunity here. Customers who visited Greece this year, came back very satisfied and this is the best marketing campaign that there can be, especially in a season as special as this year. This fact vindicates our group for the “investment” in the country in the fall both with the addition of air connections and with partnerships with hoteliers who are keeping their units open for this period.”

(source: tornos)

Austria deems Greece a Covid-19 safe country


The Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning

Greece is among the ten countries Austria has excluded from its Covid-19 pandemic ban. In a travel warning issued by the country’s Foreign Ministry, Greece is considered safe from the pandemic.

According to the statement, “due to the spread of the coronavirus, travel warnings apply to almost all countries of the world, excluding Australia, Vatican, Greece, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Singapore, and Finland. However, the urgent recommendation to avoid all unnecessary travel is still maintained, even in these countries,” the statement read.

From today, 15 January 2021, the electronic registration of those entering Austria via the relevant form for Covid-19 becomes mandatory for everyone (even Austrians).

For persons in areas subject to a travel warning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, – and therefore excluding travelers from Greece – the obligation to enter directly into the country when entering Austria is still in force. Quarantine house for ten days. Early termination of quarantine is possible, with a negative PCR test or antigen test, no earlier than the fifth day after entering the country.

(source:proto thema)

Crete is the most popular holiday destination for Brits

 Holiday package rates fell substantially compared to last year

Crete is the most popular holiday destination for this year’s tourist season for the Brits, according to online searches made in January by the TravelSupermarket comparison site.

On the same site, an interesting finding is that rates for holiday packages in the most popular destinations, which are currently offered in the British market, were down by up to 54% compared to January 2020.

According to TravelSupermarket, the most popular search for a seven-night vacation between May and October concerned Crete, with the average price for this package being 10% cheaper than last year.

Santorini (8th place) was also among the top 10 most popular destinations from Greece.

Tenerife, the second most popular destination, saw prices fall 13%, while package prices to Mallorca, the third most popular destination, fell 9%.

The biggest drop in holiday package prices is in Algarve, approaching 54%. TravelSupermarket estimates that this big drop may be due to declining demand following news reports that a new coronavirus strain first found in Brazil is affecting travel to Portugal.

(source tornosnews.gr)

‘The Mirror’ Adds Greek Islands to Travel Bucket List for 2021


The Greek islands are among the destinations included on the 2021 travel bucket list of British national daily The Mirror.

Published on the newspaper’s website, the list consists of 12 amazing destinations and targets travelers seeking for escapism or future adventures.

“Travel isn’t exactly on the cards at the moment (thanks, Covid). However, while 2020 saw holidays cancelled and global restrictions imposed, the news of vaccines being rolled out is offering up a glimmer of hope for getaways in 2021,”  Digital Travel Editor Julie Delahaye says.

Costa Rica tops the list with Norway and Japan in the second and third place respectively, while the Greek islands are in the ninth position.

“The Greek Islands offer up some very different holiday experiences – which is often why they’re so popular with visitors who keep coming back,” Delahaye adds.

She reffers to Rhodes and Crete as the ideal destinations for family vacations due to their all-inclusive resorts and fun activities.

Delahaye also suggests Corfu for a relaxed getaway; Mykonos for its party crowd, and Santorini as a romantic getaway.

 The Mirror’s Travel Bucket List for 2021 includes the following destinations:

1. Costa Rica
2. Norway
3. Japan
4. Malta
5. Canada
6. Italy
7. South Africa
8. Jamaica
9. Greek Islands
10. Thailand
11. Peru
12. Canary Islands

Traveling to Greece? All You Need to Know


Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport. Credit: Wikimedia commons

Traveling to Greece directives calling for a seven-day quarantine of airline passengers from abroad and a restriction of international flights have been extended until Monday, February 8, 2021.

Also, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Friday announced a new directive (Notam) concerning Israel, without the weekly limit of 10,000 passengers provided by the previous aviation directive for this country.

As far as international itineraries are concerned, with the aim of protecting passengers and citizens, the following international air traffic directives are extended and valid from Friday at dawn until Monday, February 8, 2021 at midnight.

Passenger Locator Form

Seven-day quarantines are now mandatory for all arrivals from abroad.

All passengers entering Greece up until February 8 at midnight, from any foreign country, including the member states of the European Union, are subject to a mandatory precautionary confinement to their home or the temporary residence they have declared in their Passenger Locator Form (PLF) for seven days, unless their stay in Greece is for a shorter period, in which case the temporary restriction is valid until the time of their departure.

Also, foreign passengers may be subjected to a rapid test upon arrival, based on the procedure provided by the PLF. If a passenger tests positive, the mandatory period of quarantine is extended to 14 days.

For arrivals from the United Kingdom, in addition to a seven-day quarantine and rapid test, they must also provide a new negative PCR test at the end of the seven-day quarantine in order for this to be lifted. Rapid tests will be carried out on all passengers on flights from the UK upon arrival.

International arrivals are only permitted to enter if they can display a negative test taken in the previous 72 hours.

The Notam stipulates that all passengers on international flights can only enter Greece if they have a negative PCR test and may also be subjected to a random rapid test upon arrival, based on the PLF.

The aviation directive extends the requirement for mandatory completion of the PLF at the electronic address https://travel.gov.gr/ by all passengers on international flights to Greece.

Filling in a PLF is also mandatory for passengers on foreign flights who are permanent residents of Greece and depart from the airports of Greece.

Some travelers completely excluded; others have limits on numbers allowed in

The suspension of flights between Greece and Turkey and between Greece and the region of Catalonia in Spain has been extended.

All flights to and from Greece from Albania and North Macedonia, according to the new extension of the Notam, will be operated only at AIA, Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport.

The aviation directive extends a ban on the entry of non-European citizens (Non-EU citizens) into Greece.

Israel and Russia were added to the exempted countries in the aviation directive, bringing the total of 11 countries exempted from the entry ban to Greece to 11.

The notam does not apply to residents of the following 11 countries: the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the Russian Federation and Israel.

Especially for Russia (permanent residents) the following restrictions remain: Arrivals only at the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion and a maximum entry limit of 500 passenger arrivals per week.

Exceptions to foreign flight aviation directives under previous notams will also apply for those extended until February 8.

(Source: AMNA , Greek Reporter)

Prime Minister: “Brand Greece” must be refreshed this year


Mitsotakis believes that the tourism sector is not the only one that will benefit from refocusing on all Greece has to offer

 Greek PM Mitsotakis believes that “Brand Greece” must be refreshed once again this year, after the worst of the pandemic is over, letting the world know once again that it is ready to “hit play again” as the nation not only ramps up for another tourist season but creates an economic climate for new development and investment as well, according to greekreporter.com.

He believes that the tourism sector is not the only one that will benefit from refocusing on all Greece has to offer — now that there is a new economic outlook, he hopes to attract even more business development than he has in the recent past and to entice more Greeks abroad to come back to the land of their birth to work and live.

“Sunny ambitions”

After years in what the magazine Monocle called “years in the geopolitical wilderness” Prime Minister Mitsotakis is “hitting play on his nation’s sunny ambitions” in a bid to remind the world what “Brand Greece” means — and to expand that meaning.

The story recounted that after winning the election in July of 2019, Mitsotakis immediately started to create a more business-friendly environment in the country, after years of austerity and economic difficulty. However, just as the economic reality was markedly improving in the country, the pandemic broke out and the Greek leader was faced with helping his nation navigate the uncharted waters of a global health crisis.

The nation is strongly inviting “Digital Nomads,” those who can work anywhere in the world via computer, to settle in Greece and has also instituted a 7% income tax rate for retirees — from anywhere in the world — to come and live in the country.

“Mitsotakis has hit play on a new image and role for Greece that is seeing the return of a highly talented diaspora, a rapid rise in foreign direct investment, and tax incentives given to encourage an increasingly vibrant start-up scene” the writers say.

This indicates  the Prime Minister’s “renewed determination for Greece to play a pivotal diplomatic, military and economic role in the Eastern Mediterranean, where relations with Turkey are tense because of clashing claims over maritime borders and ‘exclusive economic zones.”

The Monocle story quotes Mitsotakis as pointing out: “For a country that came out of ten years of economic hardship with a healthcare system that had come under a lot of strain, we’ve done remarkably well. I’m a big believer in trust. And trust between people and the political elite had been shattered during the (financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath).

“We’re rebuilding this trust, step by step,” he explains. “There’s a general feeling that Greece has turned the corner, a new sense of national confidence – that’s very much exhibited in our diaspora.

“Country moving in the right direction”

“These are highly talented people who left the country during the crisis. The reason they’re returning – or contemplating returning – isn’t just to do with the fact that they’re offered more professional opportunities; it also has to do with a general sense that the country is moving in the right direction.”

The move adroitly taps into the current professional realities of many across the world due to Covid-19. Those who once worked in cubicles or desks in sprawling offices have now been working from home for the better part of the last year.

For some, this shift to remote work has proven to be welcome, improving their professional and personal lives. Others are starving for exploration and adventure because of Covid-19 restrictions, and see the change as the ideal opportunity to work and travel once it’s safe.

Large corporations around the globe have found worker productivity and satisfaction to be increased now that many have the freedom to work wherever their employees want, and following their own schedules.

Tech giants moving into Greece

Some firms, like Google, have even suggested that they would continue this work-from-home model for the majority of their staff even after the pandemic is long over.

The country has started by reducing taxes by 50% for those who decide to make Greece their home base. Furthermore, Greece has promised significant tax benefits to court Greeks living abroad, lost to the brain drain during the financial crisis, to return to the country.

This model has proven to be rather effective, bringing in a number of highly-qualified, creative workers already working remotely to Greece, drawn to the country’s vibrant culture and stunning natural landscapes.

Tech and pharmaceutical giants, such as Microsoft and Pfizer, have even commenced major operations in the country, which was once mired in an immense economic recession.

Ginger – banana energy smoothie

 By: Λάμπρος Βακιάρος | | Liqueurs-Smoothies, Mediterranean Cooking

Creamy and sweet, this smoothie is the perfect, on-the-go energizing drink. It’s loaded with nutrients and is beyond delicious. Add your favorite superfood if you wish.

Serves: 2 Prep. time: 15′ Ready in: 15′

2 medium ripe bananas
1 small red apple
1 small piece fresh ginger, grated
1 cup fresh orange juice
½ cup almond milk

Step 1
Peel fruit and cut in pieces.

Step 2
Whizz all ingredients with some ice in your blender until smooth.

Step 3
Serve with extra ice if you wish.

UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Commitee meets again to explore safe travel in age of vaccines


The United for Travel campaign will help us achieve this, providing a clear and strong message that safe tourism is now possible


The Global Tourism Crisis Committee has met for the first time in 2021. Organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the cross-sector body met in Madrid during the 113th session of the UNWTO Executive Council to advance solid plans to restart tourism. The meeting focused on the integration of vaccines into a harmonized approach to safe travel and launching a coordinated effort to boost confidence in the sector.

With countries around the world now rolling out vaccines against the COVID-19 virus, the Committee noted that this opens a critical window in the fight against the pandemic and promotes the safe resumption of international travel. Members highlighted the importance of stepping up coordination, within the framework of the International Health Regulations, of vaccination certificates to ensure the implementation of common, harmonized digital-related travel principles, protocols, and documents. This would be in line with the work being carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO), which has reported at potential applications of digital technology to enable safe international travel and facilitate arrivals and departures.

 Harmonized plans and protocols the priority

The Committee’s own Technical Group, chaired by Greece, alongside a dedicated inter-agency group drawing on diverse parts of the United Nations system and international organizations, are working to ensure measures are implemented, including by governments, to foster their application at every level of tourism. The Technical Group Chairman Harry Theocharis provided his latest update, showing how concrete steps have been taken to guarantee a harmonized plan of action.

UNWTO Secretary-General Pololikashvili said: “The rollout of vaccines is a step in the right direction, but the restart of tourism cannot wait. Vaccines must be part of a wider, coordinated approach that includes certificates and passes for safe cross-border travel. In the longer-term, we also need to restore confidence in tourism. The United for Travel campaign will help us achieve this, providing a clear and strong message that safe tourism is now possible.” 

Testing for safe and seamless travel

Alongside the Technical Group’s work, the Committee called for support of the OECD’s own initiative aimed at developing a harmonized system of border controls. This would be developed in coordination with UNWTO as well as with WHO and, representing the civil aviation and the maritime sectors respectively, ICAO and the IMO.

The Crisis Committee members also called for firm actions to Support the standardization, digitalization, and interoperability of testing protocols and certification systems. Members agreed that these should be based on commonly agreed evidence and risk-assessment indicators for origin and destination country or territory. The implementation of the CART Take-Off Guidance, developed by ICAO, was identified as an effective tool for advancing the harmonization of testing protocols and accelerating the establishment of Public Health Corridors.

 The committee draws on top expertise and leadership

Since the start of the crisis, UNWTO has convened the Committee to bring together governments, public and private sector leaders, and international organizations to form a united and efficient response. Addressing this latest meeting were Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the European Commission, OECD Secretary-General Ángel Gurría, and both tourism ministers from UNWTO’s Member States and leading representatives of civil aviation and cruise tourism sectors. Joining them and ensuring the United Nations speaks with one voice were Fang Liu, Secretary-General, and Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of IMO.

The Global Tourism Crisis Committee met against the backdrop of the 113th session of the UNWTO Executive Council, also being held in Madrid as a hybrid event. The Council brings together more than 150 in-person participants alongside participants representing governments and destinations of every global region, to advance UNWTO’s Programme of Work and to vote for the Organization’s Secretary-General for 2022-2025.

Crisis Committee: Recommendations and Next Steps

Meeting on the occasion of the 8th Global Tourism Crisis Committee, held in Madrid, on 18 January 2021 and within the context of the 113th session of the UNWTO Executive Council, the members of the Committee recalled:

  • That the vaccination opens a critical window of opportunity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and promote the safe reassuming of international travel alongside other risk mitigation tools such COVID-19 testing.
  • That according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General report to the WHO Executive Council on ‘Strengthening preparedness for health emergencies: implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005); Interim progress report of the Review Committee on the Functioning of the International Health Regulations (2005) during the  COVID-19 Response’ the Committee “is looking into the possible applications of digital technology to enable safe international travel, including for documentation at points of entry (arriving and departing travelers), travel history, testing, and contact tracing, and possibly vaccination requirements.1
  • The urgency of accelerating the coordination of international cross-border travel principles and protocols to ensure a safe and seamless restart of tourism in view of the resurge of cases and the continued lack of common principles and mechanisms for testing protocols related to travel. 

    The Committee called for:

  • Stepping up the coordination, within the framework of the International Health Regulations2, of vaccination certificates to ensure timely monitoring, definition, and implementation of common, harmonized digital-related travel principles, protocols, and documents.
  • Support the standardization, digitalization, and interoperability of testing protocols and certification systems, based on commonly agreed evidence and risk-assessment indicators for origin and destination country/territory.
  • Support of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s initiative for the development and coordination of a harmonised system in all countries to open borders safely in coordination with World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • The implementation of the ICAO CART Take-off Guidance, including the Manual on Testing and Cross-border Risk Management Measures3 and establishing Public Health Corridors (PHCs), in order to advance the harmonization of testing protocols requirements.
  • Countries to ensure that measures affecting international traffic are risk-based, evidence-based, coherent, proportionate and time limited. (source: Tornos)

Πέμπτη 14 Ιανουαρίου 2021

ECDC Covid-19 – Ionian, Aegean and Epirus the only low-risk regions in the EU

 Greece has a very good showing overall as it is in the yellow 

 The regions of the Ionian and Aegean islands, as well as Epirus, are the only areas in Europe in the ‘green zone’ in terms of Covid-19 exposure and performance, according to data released by European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the 14 days preceded by January 14th.

The map image of Greece regarding the spread of the coronavirus shows an improved state, compared to the other countries of the European Union.


At a time when most of the EU countries are in the “red zones” (a high-risk category that arises if the cases of the last 14 days are 50 or more per 100,000 inhabitants in combination with 4% positive tests or if the cases are more than 150 per 100,000 inhabitants), Greece is substantially in the “yellow”, in the recording of the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the last 14 days, which in combination with the percentage of positive tests, reflects both the rate of spread of the disease and its penetration dynamics in the community.


As can be seen in the map below, the situation is much better (“green”) in Epirus, Ionian islands, and Aegean islands.

At the same time, while most of the countries of the Union are in the “red”, the situation in our country has improved in the index of positivity (cases/number of tests), which has fallen below 4%, according to the measurements announced today Fifth by the European agency and relate to last week.