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Tourism: challenges and priorities outlined by PM George Papandreou

Addressing the 19th General Assembly of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) on 4th May, Prime Minister George Papandreou outlined the priorities, the goals and the successes of the government policy in tourism sector and the promotion of Greece abroad. Papandreou focused on the simplification of the licensing process in tourist investments, stressing that tourism should be one of the basic pillars for boosting the Greek economy.
“In the coming months there will be a licensing simplification in investments and facilitation of visa issuing for nationals of emerging economies such as China and Russia. […] There will also be a reduction in the prices of sea transport tickets, as well as in landing and take-off fees at several airports,” said Papandreou noting that the tourism industry has been reporting positive signs as what is being offered is quality service at good prices.
Referring to the enormous potential of Internet and social networking, Papandreou hailed the online promotion of Greece via the official site of Visit Greece, the newly launched my-greece.gr, and through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.
Prime Minister.GR: Tourism policy – Results (in Greek); YouTube: You in Greece Campaign [VIDEO]
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

New era in Greek-Turkish relations

» High Level Cooperation

Premier George Papandreou and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan expressed their will to take important steps towards the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, as the Turkish leader wrapped up an official visit to Athens on Saturday.
This was sealed with the opening session of the Greece-Turkey High Level Cooperation Council and the signing of 21 agreements.
George Papandreou met with the chiefs of Turkish media, while Erdogan with the chiefs of the Greek newspapers.
The Greek premier told Turkish journalists that Erdogan’s visit heralds a new era in Greek-Turkish relations, further adding that the two sides had better overcome their differences. He also touched on economic cooperation between Athens and Ankara.

» “We have an agreement”

Twenty-one cooperation agreements in fields as diverse as technology and tourism were signed during the Turkey-Greece High Level Cooperation Council.
Ministers signed agreements boosting trade, investments and shipping and the two countries will hereby extend their cooperation in projects concerning infrastructure works and transnational transport networks.
Relations between the two countries in the field of immigration will be governed by a bilateral agreement which provides for readmission of illegal immigrant flows to Turkey and cooperation in the fight against organized crime, trafficking and civil protection.
Both sides agreed to improve tourism cooperation, aiming at increasing their market share in countries with economic potential such as China, as well as raising global awareness on matters of cultural heritage protection.

Special attention was given to education and synergies concerning research. Environment protection and joint ventures in energy projects including renewable energy sources and the existing Turkey- Greece-Italy gas pipeline were also sealed with respective deals.
In terms of strengthening bilateral ties,  a Joint Political Declaration on the establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council as well as a Protocol on regular political consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministries were signed.

» Signing the Olympic Truce

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan concluded on Saturday his landmark visit to Athens by signing the Olympic Truce initiative.

At a brief ceremony in front of the imposing Panathenaic Stadium, Erdogan referred to the “great honour in signing my name in this book; to put my signature for a world of peace.”
Papandreou said that Turkey’s support for the idea sends out a clear message “by Turkey and Greece to the world,” adding that Greece will actively support Istanbul’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

7th Thessaloniki International Book Fair

The National Book Centre of Greece (EKEBI) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in collaboration with HELEXPO and the Hellenic Federation of Publishers and Booksellers are organising the 7th Thessaloniki International Book Fair (TIBF) from April 22 to 25, with “Antiquity and Us” as this year’s theme.
TIBF is the leading cultural event for books in Greece which has managed over the years to become a focal point for the book world in Greece and the wider Balkan and Mediterranean region.
Thirty countries will be represented in this year’s fair which features more than 100 events: Greek and foreign authors as guest speakers, special features, seminars and workshops.
China will be the country of honour. Over 200 Chinese (publishers, authors, artists, government representatives) will be in Thessaloniki to present China’s immense book market but also a country with a rich tradition and history.
Greek News Agenda (30.5.2008) – Special Issue: Thessaloniki – City of Culture

Greek Woman’s Allure in China

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  For those who dream a career abroad Dr. Efstratia Zafeiriou might have something useful to contribute. Born in Greece, she completed her studies in Germany as an engineer.

Specialising in market and trend research, today Zafeiriou is responsible for a leading German car maker’s strategic development in the Chinese market.  Speaking to Greek media in the sidelines of a commemorative event marking 20 years of Thessaloniki University’s Laboratory of Heat Transfer and Environmental Engineering – 41 year-old and mother of three – Zafeiriou said she considers her studies in Greece a solid base to start from and she is thankful for the fact that German enterprises value the multicultural features of their staff.  She admits that China is another country that lends itself to rich intercultural experiences, admitting that “my Greek origin has always been a plus abroad.” 

Greek President at the European Academy of Marketing

ceb3ceb9cf89cf81ceb3cebf-aylonitis(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Marketing professor at Athens University of Economics and Business, Giorgos Avlonitis was elected president of the European Academy of Marketing for the biennium 2008-2010. The European Academy of Marketing is considered a prestigious academic network for marketing research and teaching. The institute counts more than 1,000 members and is highly active in the United States, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Oceania, and Israel. George Avlonitis is  Professor of Marketing at the Department of Marketing and Communication, and past president of the Greek Marketing Academy.  

Chinese President visited the island of Crete

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Concluding his visit to Greece, Chinese President Hu Jintao yesterday visited the island of Crete where he paid visits to the archaeological site of Knossos (see picture) and the Museum of Heraklion, capital city of the region. Accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Dora Bakoyannis and Tourism Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos, the Chinese President joined the olive harvesting process and stated that “Cretan olive oil has already started entering the Chinese market.”  Kathimerini daily: Cretan olive oil heading east to China; Greek News Agenda: Greece and China Shake Hands  Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece- Export Goods: a new-found emphasis on quality & Agricultural Produce, Greek food, Olive oil

Greek – Chinese Relations Grow

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to arrive in Athens on Monday, November 24, and it is expected that this visit will herald a new era in bilateral relations between Greece and China, which date back to 1972. The recent development of Sino-Greek relations has been stunning, especially in the sectors of economy and culture. After Athens hosted the Olympic Games 2004, preparations for the Olympic event in Beijing began, which required officials to meet regularly and discuss everything from know-how to security. These meetings soon expanded to include not only sports, but also trade, shipping and tourism. Discussions have helped China’s Cosco Pacific take over the cargo management services of state-controlled Piraeus port in a 35-year deal assessed to be worth €4.3 billion, and the Chinese president is expected to seal the deal officially during his trip next week. Other sectors of trade include lottery and jewellery: lottery systems supplier Intralot is a Greek company expanding into the Chinese market, and the Folli-Follie group has more than 80 points of sale in China. The population of the Chinese community in Greece – estimated at 20,000 to 30,000 – is not merely interested in commercial relations with Greece, but also in evolving into a prosperous and integrated community, on many levels, throughout the country. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek- Chinese Bilateral Relations; Embassy of Greece in Beijing: www.grpressbeijing.com Mediainfo2004.gr: From Athens to Beijing; InterChina Cultural Centre in Piraeus: www.interchina.gr Secretariat General of Information: Feature Stories-The Greeks and the Chinese: Doing business for aeons (Economist, 21.08.08)

Greeks Returning Home from Beijing 2008

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The 29th Olympic Games ended on August 24 after 16 days and 17 nights of sporting celebration. Although not equivalent to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the Greek harvest of medals is considered well satisfying. Greek athletes won two silver medals, one in rowing (Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls) with Vassilis Polymeros and Dimitris Mougios and another one in taek won do with Alexandros Nikolaidis winning his second Olympic medal after Athens 2004. Another two bronze medals were won by Sofia Bekatorou, Sofia Papadopoulou and Virginia Kravarioti in sailing (Yngling class), while our 2004 gold medal winner Chrysopigi Devetzi reached the third place in triple jump. With regard to the doping incidents, the International Olympic Committee has commissioned a full investigation over the Greek athletes who were disqualified facing charges of illegal substances use. IOC will recourse to the Greek courts, while measures have been taken in order to enhance already existing legislation concerning doping,this time introducing harsher penalties.  Hellenic Olympic Committee: www.2hoc.gr

Greece @ China’s Cultural Year

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece relishes international attention by being the honoured country for this year’s Cultural Year in China (www.greece-china.com). Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Sunday inaugurated the International Olympic Truce Centre exhibition at Beijing’s Hellenic House (“From ancient Olympia to Beijing 2008 – forty Greek and forty Chinese artists discuss the Olympic Truce” ) in the presence of former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch. The “Agon” exhibition by the National Archaeological Museum, initially held in Athens during the 2004 Olympic Games, presents themes from the athletic events of the ancient Olympic Games, along with the whole context of poetry, theatre and artistic competitions held from time to time at the major temples throughout the Greek world (Beijing’s Capital Museum). Dimitris Papaioannou, director of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games opening ceremony, brought his adapted version of ancient Greek tragedy Medea to Beijing (Grand National Theatre in Beijing on August 1 and 2). Greece will be the country of honour at the 15th International Beijing Book Fair to be held early September 2008. Greece is the fourth country after France, Russia and Germany to be receiving such an honourary invitation. Within the same framework, China will be the country of honour at the Thessaloniki International Book Fair in 2010.

From Athens 2004 to Beijing 2008

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  In 2004, the Olympic Games returned to Greece, the country of their birthplace, and Athens, the city of their revival in modern times. In 2008, Beijing is hosting the Olympic Games for the first time in its pioneering history as a seat of authority and government as well as culture and learning. Greece and China have benefited from a favourable development of friendly cooperation cooperation in political, economic, and cultural affairs. On the political side, top government officials have paid many visits to China, the latest being the one of President Karolos Papoulias last June. Concerning economic prospects, Greece can constitute a potential base of operations, from where China could expand its business in the EU, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Shipping leaves much room for economic cooperation and the latest Cosco Pacific Ltd’s deal over Piraeus port inaugurates a fruitful synergy in the broader field.   Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece’s relations with China; mediainfo2004.gr: From Athens 2004 to Beijing 2008; Press and Communication Office – Beijing: www.grpressbeijing.com  
                                                     Greece @ 2008 Olympics
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, Culture Minister Michalis Liapis, Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, and General Secretary of Information Panos Livadas are in Beijing for the Olympic Games. Greece will participate in the XXIX Olympic Games of Beijing with 156 athletes, 84 men and 72 women. 22-year-old gold medal winner in the 2004 Olympic Games judoka Ilias Iliadis will be the flag bearer of the Hellenic delegation during the Opening Ceremony, at the Olympic Stadium. Hellenic Olympic Committe: www.hoc.gr; SportInGreece.com: Olympics 2008

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

From Greece the Routes of the Olive Tree

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    On the occasion of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, a “lame of Peace”will travel from the Mediterranean Sea into the depths of Asia, Beijing and Moscow. Motorcyclists participating in the “Routes of the Olive Tree” initiative, a programme of cultural journeys and activities inspired by the olive tree,  will ride on the “Routes of Silk” to transmit the messages symbolised by the olive tree, namely the need for peaceful coexistence. The journey will start from Messenia, Southern Greece, on the occasion of a big Mediterranean Feast, the 63rd Rally FIM of 2008 (7-14 July 2008 Pylos-Yalova), during which 2,000 motorcyclists from 44 countries will gather in order to bid travellers goodbye. The event is open only to motorcyclists who will “combine business with pleasure”; they will start their ride symbolically from ancient Messene and will cover 22,000 km with a view to carrying the “Flame of Peace” to 16 countries: Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, CHINA, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldavia, Romania, Bulgaria, FYROM and Greece.  Continue reading

Olympic Games Exhibitions

» Olympic Torches in Athens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   An exhibition dedicated tο the Olympic Torches from 1936 to the Athens Olympic Games 2004 was presented under the auspices of the City of Athens, at the Technopolis Cultural Centre in Athens until March 19th. Rich photographic and audiovisual material, as well as the costumes of the priestesses participating throughout this 68-year-old journey were some of the exhibitions’ jewels showcased . YouTube: Athens 2004 Olympic Flame

» Athens 2004 memorabilia in China

Within the framework of the Cultural Year of Greece in China, an exhibition of objects, photographs, videos and costumes from the opening and closing ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games will be presented at the Capital Museum in Beijing. Beijing Olympic Committee has chosen to elevate the succesful Athens ceremonies, as attested to by comments in the world press, in order to welcome the new 2008 Games. The exhibition will run until June 25th. Continue reading

Greece: Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony for the Games Beijing 2008

(www.chinaview.cn)  The official Olympic flame lighting ceremony for the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 video:  http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-03/24/content_7850470.htm       
OLYMPIA, Greece, March 24 (Xinhua)  The Beijing Olympic flame was ignited in a traditional sun-ray ceremony on 11:45 on Monday at the Hera Temple of Ancient Olympia. 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