Greece: Attracting Tourism Development

Greece ranked 29th among a total of 139 countries in a survey conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) regarding competitiveness for the tourism sector.
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report is issued annually and grades countries on a total of 60 indicators, including policy regulations, resources, safety, prices and environmental protection. According to the survey, Greece benefits from its rich cultural resources (ranked 25th), excellent health and hygiene (20th), and a top-notch tourism infrastructure (5th). Further on, the report refers to the country’s strong national affinity for tourism (compared with many other European countries), including a generally open and positive attitude toward tourists (26th). The report ranks Greece 21st among European countries.
World Economic Forum: 2011 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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Tax and spending policy

» PM: Tackling Economic Woes

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Prime Minister George Papandreou chaired a Cabinet meeting that discussed the draft tax bill and public-sector incomes policy.
He said that the government’s efforts to tackle the country’s economic problems will focus on three axes: reducing public debt, promoting growth, and accelerating legislative and institutional measures.
Papandreou stressed that the government’s primary duty was to save the economy, striving for fair solutions that would protect the lower and middle classes as much as possible.

» FinMin: New Tax Rates

A range of public spending cuts and tax adjustments were presented by the government yesterday, following an announcement last week by the premier that drastic measures would be taken to prevent Greece from defaulting.
Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou unveiled more specific policies, which included plans to cut the salaries of the premier and his ministers, a moratorium on hiring in the public sector this year – excluding however health services –  as well as changes to the tax system, which will now contain more tax brackets and will lead to higher earners paying more.

The destiny of Greek Tourism

» Expected Recovery

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) According to a survey conducted by the Academy of Tourism Research and Studies, Greek tourism will recover this year, with tourist arrivals expected to rise by 8.6%, compared to 2009.
The report by ATEM predicts that foreign tourists visiting Greece will reach 15.5 million in 2010, on condition that there is an upturn in world’s economy.

Greek National Tourism Organisation: www.gnto.gr

» Alternative Tourism

Exploring caves, rafting and trekking is just a small part of the activities offered to tourists who do not like crowded vacation destinations and choose alternative tourism.
More examples include medical tourism – which started in Ancient Greece – as well conference and wedding tourism (accommodations, transport, beauty treatments, flower arrangements, and much more).
A conference titled “New Trends in Tourism: benefits & prospects for women,” organised by the Thessaloniki Organisation for Women’s Employment & Resources (TOWER), aims at presenting and discussing various new trends in tourism. Topics to be explored include eco / agro-tourism, health & wellness tourism, and raising awareness about career opportunities available for women in tourism.
See also Greek News Agenda: Alternative Tourism

International Health Film Festival on Kos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   During recent years many thematic festivals have developed internationally to cover the public’s needs on specific areas of interest.  A film festival that applies specifically to health matters did not exist anywhere in the world until now. Yet, in recent years, there has been a great production of films which approach health issues with respect and ethos, but rarely reach the distribution network or television channels.  The First International Health Film Festival “Ippokratis” is taking place from September 1 to 6 on the island of Kos – the birthplace of Hippocrates.  It is an initiative of artistic director Lucia Rikaki – generously endorsed by the Municipality of Kos Island and the Ministry of Health – aiming at establishing a meeting place for members of the international health community, artists and the audience in order to view, discuss and appreciate creative audiovisual works on health and prevention.  The five day festival is a competition festival and will screen current production films on health issues from all over the world that will compete for the three prizes of the festival – a gold, silver and bronze “Ippokratis.”   See also: Kathimerini daily (12.5.2009):  ‘The English Surgeon,’ offers lesson on life and generosity

Made in Greece Olive Oil

A Legacy That Goes Back To Antiquity

Olive oil(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Nothing is more characteristic of Greece than the millions of olive trees that grow in valleys and mountainous areas. Olive oil is more than one of the leading agricultural products of Greece. The Olive Tree, “the tree that feeds the children” according to Sophocles, is a cultural heritage, reflecting thousands of years of history and tradition. Its systematic cultivation started in the pre-historic times – the Stone and Bronze Age and ever since, it has been a vital element of the economy across the civilisations which flourished in Greece.  Greek Mediterranean Gastronomy: Greek Olives: A Culinary Continuum

Eating Healthy

The increase in Greek exports reflects, to a certain extent, the recent shift towards healthier nutrition, internationally. The Cretan diet includes olive oil in abundance, which is a key factor to longevity. The famous “Seven Countries Study” in the 70’s has proven that the death rate is far lower in Crete, a fact that the study attributed to the regular consumption of olive oil. Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food: Mediterranean Diet & Gourmed: All Olive Oil Recipes; Cretan Olive Oil: www.sedik.gr; Famous brands: www.elais.gr & www.gaea.gr

Sweet Substitute is Being Grown in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   A natural substitute for sugar without any of the adverse consequences on health is being grown experimentally in the prefecture of Karditsa, in northern Greece, in what were once tobacco fields, now being phased out under a subsidised withdrawal programme. The stevia crop, once it receives EU approval, which is reportedly pending, could be a lifeline for redundant tobacco farmers, and provide a healthier alternative to artificial sweeteners. Stevia leaves are a source of natural chemicals, such as stevioside, which is 300 times sweeter than sucrose and as sweet as artificial sweeteners, but which has almost no calorie content. Athens Plus: Safe sugar substitute being grown in Greece [p.22] More Gourmet Greece Initiatives: Hellenic Foreign Trade Board: Kerasma – Greek Mediterranean Gastronomy Mediterranean cousine: Gourmed – Taste the Med Epikouria magazine: Issue 7 Fall/Winter 2008 & Media Kit 2008 

Greek Portal for Over 50 Citizens

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   An internet initiative aimed at citizens over 50 now is now available in English and Greek. The www.50plus.gr/english website, established in 2005, provides information of interest to anyone over 50 years of age on issues such as employment, social policies, health and a variety of other subjects. “50+ Hellas” is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting the interests of the elderly and speaking out on their behalf. It is a member of AGE, the European Older People’s Platform, a European network of 144 older people’s organisations representing 25 million members and involved in influencing EU policy affecting older citizens.