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“True Greece”- GNTO initiative promoting image of Greece as an ideal tourism destination

The Greek National Tourism Organisation (G.N.T.O), within its framework of initiatives introduces today

a new tool designed to reverse the current climate and downward trend that is impacting the country’s tourism industry in the international travel market.
More specifically, the G.N.T.O. in cooperation with the interim government’s leadership of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Tourism, representatives of the travel industry, and other officials, set forth to integrate a new web-based platform into the existing current promotional campaign aiming to promote the positive aspects of Greece as a tourist destination.
The Internet and social media applications are already being used very successfully by the G.N.T.O to post news and to communicate the tourism “brand added value” of  Greece. The Internet-based initiative aims to further promote the positive publicity of Greece as a tourist destination on the Internet, utilizing effectively social media platform network externalities. On this basis, it was considered necessary to develop an online reputation management mechanism and brand monitoring mechanism to oversee and manage the comments, opinions and observations made about Greece as a tourist destination.

The initiatives’ key priorities are:
a. The promotion and communication of key elements and competitive advantages of the Greek tourism product
b. The promotion and dissemination (through social media) of positive messages/opinions that visitors have about their experiences (via video spots, web testimonials, reviews, posts, tweets)

 The aforementioned initiative will focus on three key subject areas:
1.  Business as usual
2. Value For Money/Affordability
3. Safety

The initiative is already being supported by a series of government agencies including Greek Radio Television S.A., the Athens News Agency and the Hellenic Foreign Ministry. The agencies will be assisting the effort by tracking and gathering news and other related material as well as working with local, national and international media outlets.
To join the effort as a true supporter and to send news and information about Greeceas a tourist destination found on the Internet, please contact the team at the GNTO at visitgreece@gnto.gr


Greece: A Joyful Anniversary

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Hellenic Parliament held a special session on July to mark the 34th anniversary since democracy was restored to Greece after a seven-year dictatorship fell on July 24, 1974. During the “Third Hellenic Republic” political life had been normalised and democratic institutions consolidated. Nowdays, according to the 2007/8 UN Human Development report, Greece ranks 24th  among 177 countries. Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas, representatives of the government and the political parties in Parliament paid homage to the people that had struggled against the junta rule, highlighting the fact that the Cyprus problem was still unsolved 34 years later and stressing the need for a just and viable solution. On the occasion, President of the Republic Karlolos Papoulias held the annual anniversary banquet. Athens News Agency: Restoration of Democracy anniversary ; BBC: Greek Military Rule Gives In to Democracy; Konstantinos Karamanlis Archive: The Restoration of Democracy, 1974-77

Greece – Spain: Ties that Bind

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and his visiting Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Zapatero yesterday called for the creation of a common European Union coast guard to curb illegal immigration but stressed that the EU should not become a fortress against would-be migrants. “Dealing with illegal immigration is not an issue that concerns only the coastal member-states of the European Union, given that illegal migrants can move freely throughout the EU,” Karamanlis pointed out, while outlining a drive to create a European system for monitoring borders and a European patrol network. Furthermore, the two leaders agreed that a very effective way to minimize immigration flows is to increase aid towards migrants’ countries of origin in order to boost development. Other issues on the agenda included the creation of a Mediterranean Union, climate change, rising prices in Europe, renewable energy issues and bilateral economic relations. Kathimerini daily: Spain and Greece unite on migrants; Athens News Agency: Karamanlis, Zapatero discuss migration, energy issues; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Spain 

Greek Exports Up

(GREEK NEW AGENDA)   The value of Greek exports jumped by 21.2% in May 2008 to €1.595 billion, up from €.316 billion in the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said in its provisional estimates over the country’s merchandise trade. The value of imports fell by 11.7% in May to €4.388 billion, from €4.967 billion in May 2007.  Athens News Agency: Exports jump 21.2% in May 

Presidend of Republic of Greece Concluded Austrian Visit

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias concluded a four-day visit to Austria on Sunday. Earlier in the day, while referring to Turkey, Papoulias had stressed the importance of a solution to the Cyprus issue for the European Union, as well as the political irrationality of 40% of a member-state being under military occupation by a candidate-member, namely Turkey. While in Vienna, Papoulias inaugurated an exhibition titled “Antiquity and Modernisation – Classic Memories in Modern Greek Art,” at Vienna’s modern art museum on Saturday evening. The exhibition includes 53 works by noted Greek artists, painters and sculptors and will last until Aug. 24. This exhibition kicked off the Cultural Year of Greece in China  in October 2007.   Athens News Agency: Papoulias ends visit to Austria; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek-Austrian Bilateral Relations

Karamanlis Backs Lisbon Treaty

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Efforts to ratify the Lisbon Treaty should not be abandoned but remain “on schedule,” even in the face of recent setbacks like the “no” vote in the Irish referendum, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis stressed at a press conference after the end of the European Council meeting in Brussels on Friday. The premier also conceded that failure to ratify the treaty would effectively stall the expansion process, raising obstacles in the path of Turkey and western Balkan states wishing to join the European Union, but appeared confident that the problem would be resolved eventually. Athens News Agency: Lisbon Treaty must stay on track, PM stresses; EU Council: Presidency Conclusions (20.6.2008)

Resilient Greek Economy

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     The Greek economy showed resilience in the first three months of 2008, expanding by a better-than-expected annual rate of 3.6% in the first quarter of 2008, compared with the corresponding period last year, said the National Statistics Service .  Meanwhile, according to the Eurostat figures, gross domestic product (GDP) in the 15 eurozone countries rose by 0.7% in the January – March period against the previous quarter, thus recording a 2.2% year-on-year rise. As regards Greece, the country’s economy rose by 1.1%, in comparison with the previous quarter and by 3.6%, compared with the first quarter of 2007.    Continue reading

Greek OTE: A Strategic Deal with DeutscheTelekom

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The Greek government officially announced on Wednesday the sale of 3.0% of its holding in Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) to Deutsche Telekom while the management of the company will be shared. The German group agreed to pay €29.75 per share, for a total of  €442.3 million.  Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said the Greek state and Deutsche Telekom would each control 25% plus one share of OTE, while the German company could raise its holding, and each side would control five seats on OTE’s 10-member board. Alogoskoufis emphasised that a partnership with Europe’s largest telecoms organization would strengthen OTE, both financially and technologically, and therefore the country’s telecommunications sector would benefit. The agreement has faced strong opposition form labour unions and opposition parties. The deal has to be approved by Parliament in order to come into effect.  Continue reading

Greece-South America Ties

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis is visiting Argentina and Peru, to participate at the 5th EU/Latin America – Caribbean (LAC) Lima Summit on May 16 and 17.
During his stay in Argentina, Valinakis will have consultations with Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana and his counterpart Victorio Tacetti. An economic cooperation agreement will be signed between Greece and   Argentina. The minister will later visit Peru to represent Greece at the 5th EU-LAC Lima Summit. On the sidelines of the summit, Valinakis will hold meetings with Costa Rica Foreign Minister Bruno Stango Ugarte, his Peruvian counterpart Gonzalo Gutierrez Reinel, with the First Vice President and Foreign Minister of Panama Samuel Lewis Navarro, with El Salvador Foreign Minister Marisol Argueta de Barillas, during which a memorandum of understanding will be signed between the foreign ministries of Greece and El Salvador, as well as a memorandum for economic cooperation between the two countries.

Athens News Agency: Valinakis in S. America; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Foreign Policy – Latin America – Caribbean

Greece: International Yachting Symposium

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The 7th International Yachting Symposium is taking place on the island of Poros from May 10 to 15, 2008. The event was inaugurated by Tourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos who stressed that Greece remained a powerful force in tourism involving sea craft and that the sector had huge potential for development.  Continue reading

Greek PM: Safeguarding Price Stability

 (GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis addressed an official dinner given in honour of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) board at the Zappion Mansion on Thursday, stressing that although being a relatively new institution, the ECB “succeeded with great skill in safeguarding price stability and securing favourable conditions for growth.” He also said that the emerging crisis in world fiscal markets, the slowdown in the American economy and the increase in the prices of energy, basic products and food, unavoidably had an impact on Europe. He noted that the recent fiscal crisis underlined the need for closer cooperation in supervising the fiscal sector, adding that apart from the initial moves carried out, it is important that the effort to further strengthen the fiscal stability framework be continued. The prime minister went on to say that Greece’s priorities are focused on restructuring basic economic indexes, reforming markets, promoting social cohesion and sustaining viable growth with respect for the environment.   Continue reading

NATO Summit: A Friendly Message to Neighbours

GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Greece invited the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) last night to return to the negotiating table and settle once and for all the long standing dispute on the name issue between the two countries, after NATO postponed extending an invitation to FYROM to begin accession talks to join the Alliance until the issue of the name is resolved. “We agreed that an invitation to FYROM will be extended as soon as a mutually accepted solution to the name issue has been reached. We encourage the negotiations to be resumed without delay and expect them to be concluded as soon as possible,” the Bucharest Summit Declaration says.   Continue reading

Athens: Ιnternational Conference on the Return of Cultural Property

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   In the framework of the activities of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation. Addressing the event, Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis emphasised that changes in museum policies and an increase in instances of cooperation for the repatriation of looted artefacts could pave the way for the return of the Parthenon Marbles. , Greece is hosting a two-day international conference titled “Return of Cultural Property to its Country of Origin,” which concludes today at the New Acropolis Museum.  Athens News Agency: Return of cultural property conference; The Restitution of the Parthenon marbles: The Official Greek Position; International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures: www.parthenoninternational.org  (GREEK & ENGLISH TEXT FOLLOWS) Continue reading

Making Sense of Planet Earth on the Island of Lesvos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The Department of Geography of the University of the Aegean and the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest, in the context of the UN-designated “2008 International Year of Planet Earth,” have announced a series of events, aiming at enhancing research and increasing public awareness on environmental issues. Among others, the Department of Geography is organising a series of seminars on geosciences topics, on the island of2008 International Year of Planet Earth, from June 1to 6, while the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest is holding an international conference titled “Studying, Modeling and Sense Making of Planet Earth,” in June, with the support of the UNESCO Natural Sciences Sector. Other events include a “European Geo-Parks Week,” which will be celebrated simultaneously with all the Geo-Parks in Europe and an exhibition of “Paleontology finds in the Aegean.”

Petition opposes ENISA removal from Crete

 (ATHENS NEWS AGENCY) Action to prevent the removal of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) from its current headquarters on the island of Crete is being taken by the Association of Friends of ENISA, which on Wednesday said that it had launched a nationwide and European campaign to this end. On its website – http://www.friendsofenisa.eu – the association invites all European citizens to sign its online petition to the European Council and the European Parliament to renew ENISA’s mandate at its current official seat in the city of Iraklion on Crete.       (ΑΚΟΛΟΥΘΕΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΟ ΚΕΙΜΕΝΟ) Continue reading

Olympic Games: ‘High priestess’ in Olympic Torch ceremony named

(ATHENS NEWS AGENCY) The Plenary Session of the Hellenic Olympic Committee on Wednesday decided unanimously that the High Priestess of the Lighting Ceremony for the XXIX Olympic Games “BEIJING 2008”, on the 24th of March, will be the actress, Ms. Maria Nafpliotou. Maria Nafpliotou is the 10th High Priestess in the history of the Olympic Flame and the 9th in the history of summer Olympic Games. Also, the Plenary Session of the Hellenic Olympic Committee decided that Mrs. Artemis Ignatiou, will be the choreographer of the Lighting Ceremony in the place of Mrs. Maria Horss who retired, after 50 years of invaluable contribution. Continue reading

The New Acropolis Museum in Beijing

(ATHENS NEW AGENCY) Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis addressing the inauguration of the exhibition on the New Acropolis Museum at the Greek Home in Beijing on Tuesday. The exhibition offers rich audiovisual material regarding the new museum’s planning and construction. A replica of the Parthenon’s Western Frieze is also on display (Photo ANA-MPA). Continue reading

Cypriots Elect New President

(GREEK NEWS AGENGA)  Demetris Christofias, AKEL party leader and President of the House of Representatives, won confortably Cyprus’ crucial presidential runoff with 53.36% of the vote, compared with 46.64% of former Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides. “We have a common vision… to reunite our people, Greeek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots,” Christofias said in victory speech Sunday.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, called Christofias to congratulate him and the two have agreed to meet at “earliest possible.” “We foresee a productive cooperation for the benefit of the two communities as well as for a viable and just solution to the problem,” Christofias stated. Continue reading

Greek Economic News in Brief

» 41 Measures against Profiteering

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The development ministry on Thursday unveiled a package of 41 measures aimed to combat excessive price hikes in domestic markets, in cooperation with the other responsible ministries and local authorities. Presenting the measures, Development Minister Christos Folias said the targets will be measurable, and that the aim is the operation of a “free and fair market. Continue reading

Dora Bakoyannis Visits Washington

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis arrived late Tuesday in Washington for a three-day visit and consultations with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. On Wednesday, Bakoyannis addressed an event at the “Center of Strategic and International Studies” and met the Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, who hosted a reception in her honour at the Pentagon. Today, Bakoyannis will have a working lunch with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, followed by a meeting with Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Before concluding her Washington visit, Bakoyannis will hold talks with the National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. Athens News Agency: FM Bakoyannis’ contacts in D.C.