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“You in Greece” campaign – Facts about Greece

  Facts about Greece

· Greece is a safe country

Supportive data: According to Legatum Prosperity Index, Greece faces comparatively few security challenges. Domestic security is favorable. Moreover, according to Eurostat, Greece is a country with a relatively low rate of criminality. The feeling of security is well established in society.
· Greece is an attractive destination.
This comes not only due to its physical beauty but mostly due to the “value for money” relationship in the provided services.
Supportive data: According to a poll, conducted in a population of 1200 people,52% of the sample believes that the quality of travel services offered in Greece are of very good standard and 42% believes that the travel services offered in Greece rival those offered in other touristdeveloped tourist markets.

· Greece is a western democracy and the majority of Greek society supports government policy.
Supportive data: A recent research conducted by Kapa Focus research company on behalf of the weekly Newspaper ‘To Vima’, shows that 55,2% of Greeks support the austerity measures imposed by the Greek Government.
·  Demonstrations are strictly local and limited events/occurrences. They take place mostly in the center of Athens, in a specific and controlled area. The mainland regions and the islands of the Greek Archipelago, where the vast majority of tourists go, are not affected at all.
Supportive data: According to Eurostat, Greece is a favourite destination. Especially, in South Aegean and Ionian Islands, it appears that 48.168 stays and 33.304 per 1000 citizens took place, a proof of satisfaction for the Greek touristic product.
· Greece is a tourist country and Greeks know the importance of hospitality.
Supportive data: Zeus, the King of the Greek Gods, according to the Greek Mythology, named as Xenios (the one who offers hospitality) Zeus.
·  The overall number of demonstrations in Greece is lower than the E.U average.
Supportive data:All demonstrations occurred in Athens, in specific and isolated areas. In their vast majority they were peaceful.

· The picture that global media paint is, to say the least, in many cases exaggerating. In many occasions, library images were re-broadcasted as live feeds.
Supportive data: Greece is a pluralist, democratic western European country. Media freedom is protected and encouraged. During the last two weeks Greece hosted more than 300 foreign journalists.
(Greek National Tourism Organisation)


Corfu: An Ionian Jewel

Corfu(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) Corfu town is Venice and Naples, a touch of France and more than a dash of England, apart of course from being Greek.”  Countess Flamburiari who used these words to describe Corfu island was not the only one to be enticed by the beauties of this famous and much visited island off the West coast of Greece.  In 19th century, Empress Elisabeth of Austria expressed the desire to immerse herself in the Greek culture and in 1890, she commissioned the construction of a summer palace which she called the Achilleion, after Homer’s hero Achilles. The palace, with the neoclassical Greek statues that surround it, is a monument to romanticism as well as escapism.  The various architectonic styles of its buildings, monuments and city planning are due to the island’s long history of conquerors. Venetians, British, French, Italians and Germans, all left their mark. The island’s city centre -the Old Town- is an historic complex of narrow streets dominated by the 16th century fortress. Close to the capital lies a small island, home to a monastery, the white staircase of which resembles a (mouse) tail, thus the name of the island Pontikonissi (mouse island). Corfu’s natural habitat is equally exquisite. The island has some of the Ionian Sea’s most beautiful beaches, favoured by thousands of visitors. UNESCO World Heritage: Old Town of Corfu is protected by UNESCO; You Tube: UNESCO Ceremony

The Hidden Fabulous Greece

greece_insidwe(www.minpress.gr / The Observer , 10.05.09)  Greece has been a popular tourist destination for decades. Despite the mass tourism, quiet villages and deserted beaches do still exist. Nicola Iseard of “The Observer” assembled a panel of experts and persuaded them to reveal their personal favorites of Greece.   The extensive article features secret islands like Kastellorizo in the  Dodecanese, Milos in the Southern Cyclades and Antipaxoi in the  Ionian Sea and hidden fabulous beaches like Egremni in Lefkada Island.   Moreover there are suggestions for special places to stay like Milia Settlement in Crete and suggestions for the best taverns serving traditional Greek food. For the more adventurous ones, the article suggests active escapes like rock climbing in Kalymnos Island. Read the whole article here.

Greece: Nikopolis: The City of Victory

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Nikopolis (Greek for “city of victory”) is an ancient city in western Greece. It was founded by the Roman Emperor Augustus to commemorate his naval victory in Actium against Mark Antony and the Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra in 31 BC. Its strategic location at the edge of a gulf in the Ionian Sea made it an ideal place for the Romans to impose their dominance in the region. Nikopolis quickly became a commercial, port city, as well as an important religious capital, favoured by the emperor who had granted the city freedom and privileges. Augustus also established the “Actian” athletic games, and honoured the God of light, Apollo. The 8th century marks the beginning of the city’s decline. First it was looted by Arabs and Bulgarians and was finally destroyed in the late 11th century. It was only in the beginning of the 20th century that the city saw the sun’s light again when it was revealed through archaeological excavations. Among the sites excavated we find walls dating back to the Roman era, a theatre and an Odeon, baths, an aqueduct and a Roman house, all restored. Visitors can also admire a variety of findings in the local museum of Nikopolis.

Adriatic – Ionian Initiative

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The meeting of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative (AII) members’ Parliament Speakers took place on May 4, within the framework of the Hellenic Chairmanship of the AII. Greece assumed the AII’s one-year Chairmanship on June 1, 2008.  Addressing the event, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said that only one clear conclusion comes out of discussions on how to find a way out of this crisis: global problems call for global solutions. “Though there are no magic recipes, any collective international effort is valuable,” said the minister.  She emphasized that strengthening relations between countries and enhanced international cooperation between significant players – such as the academic community and local authorities- constitute valuable contributions to mutual understanding in order to address common challenges. Adriatic – Ionian Initiative: Hellenic Chairmanship ; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: International Conference for an Adriatic–Ionian Development Strategy (Corfu, 13.2.2009)

10 classic Greek Island tales

a_view_of_cephaloni_195748h(From TIME on LINE, By Steve Keenan, 14/2/2008)
1. The perfect Greek island
– Oh, that old one again. Well, actually Skopelos is the business says Matt Rudd. “If you do want to break the fabulous monotony of beach life, you can walk up into the forests, have a snoop around a hilltop chapel, spot birds – I don’t know. Some people even come to Skopelos on walking holidays. Weirdos.” 
2. Three go wild on Paxos – “If olive trees were cathedrals, the Paxos trees would be Notre Dame – elaborate, vast, gnarled, ancient and heavily buttressed. They sprawl, fantastically,” enthuses Stanley Stewart in a tribute to the smallest Ionian island. 
3. Simple values in the Greek Cyclades – The lesser known islands of Kimolos and Kythnos are as unspoilt as you’re going to get in Greece, says Nigel Summerley – “short of visiting uninhabited islands that are home only to rocks and temporarily visiting goats put out to graze.” 
4. Back to the Greek islands – in style – Illustrator David Smith, an old Greek hand, returns again to the islands, this time Lefkada and Meganissi in the Ionian Islands – and this time in style. “The backpack has long since gone. The waist band is expanding the back is stiffening. Fastening ones shoelaces now counts as exercise.”  
5. Chic and boutique in Ithaca – The island is packed with trendy bars and boutique hotels, says Annabelle Thorpe. “Downtown Vathy. It’s not a phrase I expected to hear on Ithaca. But perhaps our hotel should have given me some clue that there is more to the island than pastoral bliss.” 
6. The tough little Greek islands – The Little Cyclades are no places for softies – but they are one of the greatest travel treats left in Europe for the adventurous holidaymaker, says Nigel Summerley. “Before leaving Amorgos, we accepted its greatest challenge: walking eight miles along its central range of mountaintops.”
7. Insider’s guide to Cephalonia – Resident Mary Gold is your guide to the largest of the Ionian Islands. “We looked at 13 destinations before building a villa here and we’ve never regretted it. Cephalonia was slow to bite the tourism apple and as a result, the islanders learnt a lot from other people’s mistakes.”
8. Trailblazing Crete – Away from the crowded resorts, Stuart Wavell finds a wilder side to go walking. “Dozens of wooden hives, painted in dual colours, were a reminder of the honey that was once exported from Candy, as the island was known to the Venetians. The music of bees and the wind’s sighs turn paths into soundtracks.” 
9. Zakynthos, where the turtles rule – Midnight flights, hyper children – it’s worth it for the beauty of the island and the protection of its wildlife, says Emma Haughton. “Within minutes a small head breaks the water for a moment before submerging again, leaving me almost light-headed with excitement.”
10. Greek island hopping – Dana Facaros, author of the Cadogan Guide to the Greek Islands, selects three routes to take in the Ionian Islands, the Dodacenese and Cyclades.

The Movie “Mama Mia” in Poland

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The movie “Mamma Mia!” on screens in Poland from August 29. The movie “Mamma Mia!” achieved the biggest opening ever for a movie musical in the United States  last month month. At $27.6 million, ‘Mamma Mia!’ beat out ‘Hairspray’ which opened with $27.5 million a few years ago. To create the enchanting – yet imaginary – island of Kalokairi, film shootings took place on the islands Skopelos, Skiathos and on Damouchari beach in Pelion area during August and September 2007. Most of the filming was done in Skopelos, were locations included Kastani beach, Agios Ioannis, Amaranto and Nisi Glisteri. Greece has always had a long and spectacular love affair with the international film making community. The need for new images in the film industry has led to a boom in optical effects and the quest for visually pristine locations. Greece has this visual wealth of natural landscapes to offer in regions like Macedonia, Epirus, Peloponnese, and of course the islands in the Aegean, the Sporades islands and the Ionian seas. Since 1974, the Greek Film Centre supports the production and promotion of Greek films and fosters the participation of Greek producers in foreign productions. in this context, the Hellenic Film Commission Office (www.hfco.gr) provides every possible service for filming in Greece. Skopelos Island: Skopelos Mamma Mia Blog Secretariat General of Information: World Media on Greece – Lifestyle 

Adriatic- Ionian Intercultural Dialogue

As part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008, the 1st Adriatic-Ionian Intercultural Dialogue Conference will take place on the island of Corfu (Kerkyra, www.kerkyra.gr) on June 27 and 28. The event is jointly organised by the European Parliament Offices for Greece, Italy and Slovenia and the Europe of Cultures Forum: Adriatic-Ionian Chapter. The European Year is expected to promote intercultural dialogue as an instrument to assist European citizens in acquiring the knowledge to deal with a more complex environment as well as raise the citizens’ awareness of the importance of developing active European citizenship.

Lefkas / Greece: Watersweets Ocean Festival

Preparations are proceeding smoothly for the second ‘Watersweets Ocean Festival’ to be held in Vassiliki bay on the island of Lefkas from 26th June to 3rd July 2008. The internationally organised event includes windsurfing, sailing and yachting competitions as well as cultural events including Greek dancing, art exhibitions, Beauty & Friendship pageant, live UK bands and much more.  Continue reading