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Weather/Time in Athens
Greece > Hellenic Travelling

November 2002

The travel and tourist industry of Greece has developed into a large business sector of the country, earning major contributions to the overall revenue of the country. But the industry is somewhat of a fractured industry.
There is a host of various associations within the trade. To list a few: There is SETE -the association of Greek tourist enterprises, ΗΑΤΤΑ- the Hellenic Association of Tourist and Travel Agencies, ASTA-Hellas, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels of Greece, the Athens Hotel Association, the Association of Greek Incoming Tour Operators, the Greek Passenger Shipowners Association, the Greek Yacht Brokers Association, Hellenic Professional Yacht Owners Association, ΡΟΕΤ-Panhellenic Federation of Tourist Enterprises, PETAGA-the Greek Union of Air Travel Agencies, the Hellenic Association of Airline Representatives, and even a Union of Greek Authorized Lecturer Guides. And, perhaps a half dozen others.
Each of these associations represents a sector of the overall industry, but obviously overlapping three or four other associations.
It can be said to be healthy to have so much representation. But there is no one universal voice.
Each grouping has basically the same aims as all the others, even if some will not admit such. The obvious aim of all is to better gain prominence and better working conditions, and enhance profitable operations.
The various sectors voice opinions now and then, but hardly ever as one chorus.
Speaking all in one voice is essential especially when the private sector wishes to have the government assist the trade in some way. Speaking with a fractured voice is not very effective, and many a government official has questioned the representation of the various associations.
It is time to grow up and unite. After all, everyone seeks the same end results. If all the various sectors joined together into one organization there would be muscle and one clear voice. It is time to associate, and for everyone to be able to speak with one -loud- voice instead of a cacophony of murmurs. Make it one loud voice!

Hellenic Travelling

Philoxenia 2002, the 18th annual tourism trade show, recorded an increase in the number of visitors this year, organizers said.
Helexpo, which organizes the event under the aegis of the Hellenic National Tourism Organization (ΗΝΤΟ), said there had been a noticeable increase in non-trade visitors, especially during the expo's closing weekend.
Among the visitors were Costas Karamanlis, leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, and the Thessaloniki prefect-elect Panayiotis Psomiades.

Greece's tourism industry must seek ways to integrate "alternative tourism" into traditional forms of travel and recreation to attract the estimated 35 million Europeans who are interested in this new market, Development Minister Akis Tsohadzopoulos told industry leaders.
"As we enter the 21st century, we realize that the traditional form of tourism whose intent is to create infrastructure of hotels and facilities to sell air, sun, sea, and beaches has rather limited potential. We will continue to work in this direction, financing in the most beneficial and efficient way, the modernization of this infrastructure," he said in a keynote speech at the opening of Philoxenia 2002 in Thessaloniki. "But beyond the quantitative [approach] to summer tourism, we need to look at the quality of the product that we have to offer and this cannot be limited to the traditional product of summer tourism. This is why we have chosen to move forth with alternative forms of tourism."
Tsohadzopoulos, whose brief includes tourism, said emphasis had been placed during the past year on training, and that discussions were being held on creating a Tourism Academy. He also expressed his belief that the travel market had rebounded from the effects of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., and that the number of tourists visiting Greece this year had held steady at pre-2001 levels.
"Ι am not in a position yet to provide official data for 2002...but based on airport arrivals and foreign exchange...despite the fact that this was a difficult year, the level of tourism will be roughly at the same levels as last year, with perhaps a final drop of between one and two per cent in the number of visitors," he said.
The minister also said that ongoing discussions on development incentives were nearing conclusion and pledged to present a draft of the new development law to the National Tourism Council meeting in December.

The Hellenic National Tourism Organization (ΗΝΤΟ) will present a new tourism product that combines travel and sport aimed at utilizing Olympic facilities after the Athens 2004 Games, officials announced.
Speaking at a conference on tourism and sport, Development Undersecretary D. Georgakopoulos said the two activities were linked as large sporting events involved the movement of large numbers of spectators-tourists. He added that it was necessary to develop sport tourism in tandem with development of athletic facilities and that the 2004 Olympics would be a perfect opportunity to showcase this infrastructure.
Ioannis Patellis, president of the Hellenic National Tourism Organization (ΗΝΤΟ) said the 2004 Olympics are the perfect opportunity to promote a tourism product. He added that ΗΝΤΟ would organize two more conferences on the issues of sport and tourism before the Games.
Spiros Pappas, housing and hospitality director for the Athens 2004 organizing committee, said the Games would create a marked increase in tourist arrivals after 2006-2008.

Greek tourism policy is aimed at increasing annual tourist arrivals from 14 million to 20 million by 2010, Development Minister Akis Tsohadzopoulos told a press conference in Thessaloniki.
Speaking to reporters at the opening of the 18th annual Philoxenia expo, Tsohadzopoulos said Greek policy was also geared to increasing the number of tourist arrivals from the U.S. from an average 200,000 per year to one million visitors per year during the same period.
He said the 2004 Olympics would help spur this growth in the years following the Games. This growth would also be achieved by opening new markets such as China and the former Soviet republics, the minister said.
Tsohadzopoulos added that Greece had deployed its full resources to minimize the impact of the global economic recession on tourism by helping ensure that the Greek tourism product remained competitive. He also emphasized that promoting new or alternative forms of tourism to complement summer tourism was a priority.

Greece's 2003 advertising campaign, for the first time ever, would be launched before the end of the current year, Development Minister Akis Tsohadzopoulos told reporters at the news conference at the Philoxenia trade show in Thessaloniki.
He added that the campaign's timely launch would help maximize the effectiveness of this promotion.

Greece's development minister emphasized the need for measures aimed at reinforcing tourism policies that benefit consumers while enhancing the competitiveness of Europe's tourism sector.
Akis Tsohatdopoulos, whose portfolio includes tourism, said the European tourism industry could maintain and improve its current levels through an internal framework that would foster free competition within the European Union along the lines of the substantial support given by non-EU governments to manage crises in the tourism sector.
His remarks were made during the official opening of the Hellenic National Tourism Organization (ΗΝΤΟ) exhibition "Journey Through Time" at the European Parliament.
Tsohatdopoulos also announced that ΗΝΤΟ would host conferences on "Tourism and Culture" and "Tourism and Transport" next year under the aegis of the Greek EU presidency. Greece will assume the six-month rotating presidency on January 1.

The Greek Government is preparing initiatives to boost incoming tourism during Greece's presidency of the European Union during the first six months of 2003, according to Minister of Development Akis Tsohadzopoulos.
Prime aim is to promote new types of tourism in the European region, including sports tourism, eco-tourism, agro-tourism and conference tourism.
One phase of these developments is promotion of cheaper mass air transport facilities, primarily through charter companies, the minister added.
In the overall program such facilities as golf courses, spas and thalassotherapy centers.
Parallel to this is a program for residential tourism property for European citizens such as already developed in such countries as Spain and France. This will also attract more high-income tourists and lengthen the tourist season, the minister stated.
Some 1,250 small tourism enterprises have won approval for EU investment subsidies totalling some $250million.

Top tourism officials met recently to discuss short -and long- term measures to support the industry through the effects of the global economic recession and travellers' growing concerns about security.
The third "leadership forum" of the World Tourism Organization's Business Council was held in Thessaloniki in early November on the sidelines of the Philoxenia trade expo. The "brain trust" meeting was chaired by the WTO's president, Francesco Frangialli and was attended by 50 of the world's leading tourism experts.
"The purpose of this meeting was to identify the problems facing the tourism industry and find the best way to deal with them," said Martin Brackenbury, president of the International Federation of Tour Operators (IFTO).
Special emphasis was given to regional concerns, such as European efforts to remain competitive in a changing global market and the decline in visitors to Mediterranean destinations. Representatives of Middle Eastern countries also underlined the need for more exchanges with Western markets to dispel negative sterhntoypes of the Arab world.
The forum's conclusions will be presented to the WTO's program committee.

The Hellenic National Tourism Organization (ΗΝΤΟ) has launched a series of publications in the Chinese language, aimed at strengthening tourist exchanges between the two countries.
The first book in the series, a Chinese-language edition of "Journey Through Time: Greece in the Works of Travellers' and Images of Contemporary Greece." The book was unveiled at a special event in Athens hosted by ΗΝΤΟ president Ioannis Patellis and the Chinese Ambassador to Greece Tang Zhenqi.
An estimated one million Chinese tourists visit European destinations each year.

Rental room operators have called on the government to resolve bureaucratic problems that have stalled a European Union program through which they qualifying enterprises can receive funds from the Community Support Framework to upgrade their facilities.
In a letter signed by the president and secretary-general of SEEDDE, the entrepreneurs' confederation expressed fears that the program will fail unless bureaucratic wrangling in the Development Ministry is resolved.

The number of visitors to the Drama region has risen by 45 per cent over the last two years, Drama prefect Κ. Evmiridis told a news conference at the Philoxenia expo.
He said that the regional tourist authority's goal was a 200 per cent increase in room nights.

The total number of room nights during the 2004 Olympics is expected to exceed two million, a senior official of the Athens 2004 organizing committee said.
Spiros Pappas, housing and hospitality director for Athens 2004, told a conference on sports and tourism that the estimated average daily visitors at the Games was expected to be between 100,000 and 150,000.
He said rooms for members of the Olympic family had been secured at Luxury, Α, Β and C class hotels as well as cruise ships, which had a total capacity of 6,400 cabins and 13,000 beds. Supplementary rooms had also been secured at military academies, institutions, orphanages, and other facilities that would all be renovated and upgraded with Athens 2004 funds.
Accommodation for visitors would be available in all other hotel categories, including hotels in towns within 90 minutes to two hours travelling time from Athens. He said a number of beds for visitors had also been secured on cruise ships and organized camping facilities as well as in private homes through a program to be tendered by Athens 2004.

Interdynamic won this year's ΗΑΤΤΑ award for the best travel brochure, the Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agents announced. It said Cel Tours had won second place and Heronia Travel had won third, while Manessis and Balakakis each won honourable mention.
The ΗΑΤΤΑ awards were presented to the winners by Development Minister Akis Tsohadzopoulos during the Philoxenia expo in Thessaloniki. Entries were judged by a four-member panel chaired by Hellenic National Tourism Organization (ΗΝΤΟ) president Ioannis Patellis, and were judged on layout, content, ease of use, and print quality.
ΗΑΤΤΑ also presented a special award to the Hotel Grande Bretagne for its tasteful brochure prepared for the hotel's relaunch.

Greece has initiated a series of professional exchanges with Poland aimed at promoting Greece as a tourist destination among Polish travellers, the Development Ministry announced.
It said these exchanges included a conference for Polish travel agents based in Poland and the U.S. that was held on Myconos in October. The conference was attended by the head of the Polish tourism authority, Andrzej Kozlowski, and Poland's deputy tourism minister Malgorzata Okonska-Zareba.
According to Hellenic National Tourism Organization (ΗΝΤΟ) data, 200,000 Polish citizens visited Greece this year on organized tours. An estimated 60,000 travel consumers also visited the ΗΝΤΟ pavilion at the Warsaw tourism show in September. ΗΝΤΟ will also participate in two other trade shows in Poland as part of its strategy to increase the number of tourists from Poland.

Greek and Turkish travel agents have opened talks on a possible joint travel proposal, following agreements on closer cooperation in promoting tourism, the Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agents (ΗΑΤΤΑ) announced.
ΗΑΤΤΑ said talks with its Turkish counterpart, TURSAB, had resulted in an agreement to cooperate in promoting tourism, including talks both organizations have held with Chinese authorities on tourist exchanges.
The presidents of the two associations, ΗΑΤΤΑ's Yiannis Evangelou and TURSAB's Basaran Ulusoy, also discussed a Turkish proposal for close cooperation in the joint Greek-Turkish candidature to host Euro Uefa 2008 tournament, as well as Turkish support for transport and other services for the 2004 Olympics to be held in Athens.

CSA Czech Airlines is opening its own offices as of December 1. The new address is 151 Kyprou Avenue in Argiroupolis.
The airline, founded in 1923, started air service between Prague and Athens in 1947. Today, it now flies to 59 cities on four continents. The airline operates with one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the world, with an average age of five years.
Prague has become a popular destination for Greeks, particularly during the Easter and Christmas holidays.
Today Czech Airlines has regularly scheduled flights between Prague and Athens and Thessaloniki as well as charter flights to ten different destinations within Greece during the summer period.
New toll free telephone for Czech Airlines is 0801 1175600, and e-mail is

European Union funds will be used to upgrade tourism facilities and infrastructure in western Greece, including the port city of Patras, the Hellenic National Tourism Organization (ΗΝΤΟ) announced.
It said the allocation of monies from the Community Support Framework had been decided at a meeting chaired by Development Undersecretary Dimitris Georgakopoulos. Projects to be funded include improvements in the main points of entry into Patras, through which a large number of tourists arrive by ferry from Italy.
CSF monies will also be used to promote coastal tourist sites of western Greece, with emphasis on developing alternative forms of tourism such as ecotourism.

Α new travel destination area aimed at attracting Greek and other Europeans is the south of the U.S.Α. The first so-called Rhythms of the South marketplace conference was held for three days in Atlanta, Georgia in October. Some 250 buyers and sellers in the travel industry, plus a sprinkling of travel writers, from 29 countries were invited to attend.
Site of this new conference is to rotate among the three key cities of Atlanta, Nashville and New Orleans. In 2003, Nashville hosts for three days in late October.
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter was the keynote speaker at the first conference, and his remarks centered on the unique southern hospitality.
Among the variety of tourist sites about Atlanta are the Civil War Museum, the Margaret Mitchell House and its neighbouring 'Gone With the Wind' Movie Museum, the Dixieland Fun Park, the Six Flags Over Georgia Amusement Park, and the relatively new vineyards of Georgia (dating from 1984), and the University of Georgia with its copy of the Parthenon portico.
Delta Air Lines, whose headquarters is in Atlanta is one of the main sponsors of the conference, along with the Coca Cola Company, which has its headquarters in Atlanta.
Confidence of success in increasing tourist arrivals is such that a major ($5 billion) extension of Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, including an additional, fifth runway, has been planned. These additions would make Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport the largest in the world.
It is anticipated that the present annual handling of some 80 million air passengers will reach to 120 million when the new extensions have been completed in a few years hence. Today there are some 2,700 flight operations at Hartsfield per day.

Some 56 percent of the people in Great Britain believe the Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece, according to recent survey. The survey was undertaken by the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles. One of the conditions is that Greece fulfils pledges to build a museum near the Parthenon to house the marbles. Only seven percent said that the marbles should remain in the British Museum in London.

Amending the development law will be the main order of business of the next meeting of the National Tourism Council, Development Minister Akis Tsohadzopoulos assured Greek tourism executives in his keynote speech at a dinner hosted by the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) during the 18th annual Philoxenia expo.
The minister was responding to remarks by SETE's president, Stavros Andreadis, who emphasized the need for incentives to attract investments aimed at qualitative improvements in the tourism sector and services.
The dinner was also addressed by Francesco Frangialli, general secretary of the World Tourism Organization, who highlighted the slight trend towards recovery in the tourism market during the second half of 2002.

"Virtually There," Sabre's online itinerary and travel-shopping tool, has been adapted for the Greek language as part of a drive to customize its products for the Greek market. Through this service, travellers can access their itinerary and destination information as well as real-time data about the status of their flight, departure gates, and weather.
"Combined with an electronic ticket, 'Virtually There' ensures that the entire fulfilment process can be completed electronically, from start to finish," Agis Athanassiades, Sabre managing director for Greece, said in a press statement. "This has significant benefits for the travel agent in terms of cost and process efficiency."
Travellers who book through a Sabre-connected agency will be able to access their itinerary details through the "Virtually There" website ( by entering the personal booking code supplied by their travel agent. Travel information can be downloaded into personal computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs) or other mobile communication devices for use on the road. Travellers can also request SMS alerts of flight delays, changes in departure terminals, and other information.
"Tools like this are a wonderful way for travel agencies to add value to the service they offer and to differentiate their service in a market where they are competing for business not only against each other but also, increasingly, against the travel providers themselves," Athanassiades said.
"Virtually There" is also available for travellers who book through an online travel site powered by the GDS, global distribution system. Sabre is the leading provider of technology, distribution, and marketing services for the travel industry. It owns and GetThere, the leading provider of web-based travel reservation systems for corporations and travel suppliers.

Regional directors of the Hellenic National Tourism Organization (ΗΝΤΟ) met with ΗΝΤΟ president Ioannis Patellis in Brussels in early November to discuss tourism trends and prospects for the 2003 season.
Directors from ΗΝΤΟ offices in the U.Κ., France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland noted that 2003 was expected to be an especially difficult year for the tourism sector. They also agreed that new products are necessary to revitalize and maintain tourism arrivals from Europe in 2003 as the present concept of "package tourism" is being replaced by new trends.
The meeting also reviewed results of the 2002 season, in which markets such as the Britain did not show significant change, while there were slight increases in arrivals from countries such as the Netherlands and decline in the number of tourists from others, such as Sweden.

The Tria-Pente Pigadia ski center in northern Greece has been equipped with snow machines for the slopes, Imathia prefect Yiannis Spartsis told at news conference at the Philoxenia expo.
He said the equipment for producing artificial snow had been purchased with European Union funds provided under the Community Support Framework.

Representatives of the tourism industry's leading professional associations have protested the use of facilities at the Greek capital's old airport as a temporary exhibition and conference center.
In a letter to ΕΤΑ, six organizations from the tourism sector expressed concern at delays in the establishment of a proper Athens Conference and Exhibition Center. They also warned that facilities at the former Hellenikon airport are below standard and could create a negative impression of Athens as a conference destination.
The petition was signed by Andreas Potamianos, Union of Cruiseship Owners; Triantafyllos Venetopoulos, Union of Greek Leisure Craft Owners; Spyros Divanis, Athens Hoteliers' Union; Marios Trivizas, Panhellenic Federation of Tourism Enterprises; Dimitris Mantzios, Association of Professional Conference Organizers; and, Yiannis Evangelou, Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agencies.

The Hellenic National Tourism Organization (ΗΝΤΟ) issued a statement clarifying press reports on the operations of a branch office in Milan.
It said in a statement that an audit had confirmed that ΗΝΤΟ had rented 85 sqm space to expand its office. The initial lease was valid for 4.5 years and called for ΗΝΤΟ to renovate the property which had been damaged by fire. The statement said economic constraints prevented ΗΝΤΟ from renovating the office and thus from using the space. During this period rent, which at January 1, 1997 totalled 62 million drachmas, was duly paid.
According to the statement, ΗΝΤΟ decided to suspend the lease but bureaucratic tie-ups prevented the termination notice from being submitted on time, thus the lease was automatically renewed for another 4.5 years in accordance with Italian law.
The statement said ΗΝΤΟ had lost its case in court, and was ordered to pay an estimated 83 million drachmas in rent. Α compromise agreement reached with the owner in May 2000 reduced that sum to roughly 73.5 million drachmas.

Winners of regional competitions held in twelve Greek cities squared off in the finals of the Daedalus competition, which was held at the Technopolis in Athens on November 22-24.
The competition is named after the legendary craftsman and inventor who built the Minotaur's labyrinth on Crete. It is sponsored by the ΕΡΕΑΕΚ vocational training program, the National Youth Foundation, and Education Ministry, and is organized by iForce Communications in cooperation with Plotin Travel.
Contestants will be judged on inventions, among them a small boat outfitted with a fishing machine and an automated dry food dispenser for pets. The finalists were chosen among competitors in regional competitions held in early November in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Iraklio, Rhodes, Kozani, Orestiada, Ioannina, Kalamata, Larissa, and Halkida.
The Daedalus program was launched last year and is financed with funds from the EU's Community Support Framework. Its aim is to foster creativity and inventiveness among students and teachers.

Greece was well represented at the ninth annual MADI Travel Market of the Czech Republic even without an official exhibit of the Hellenic National Tourism Organization. Konstantinos Theodorou. ΗΝΤΟ director for the Czech Republic, as well as Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary, made a prominent appearance. The three-day show was staged at the Prague Fairgrounds PVA Letnany.
There were 567 exhibitors from 40 countries, from literally around the world. The Mediterranean region and Europe were predominant. Newcomers at MADI, with representations of government tourism organizations, were Mexico, Venezuela, Cyprus, Spain and Lithuania.
There were some 5,000 visitors. It has been estimated that some 64 percent of these were tour operators and travel agents, with the balance hotel owners and representatives, national tourism organizations officials and members of the press.
Thirty-nine exhibitors spotlighted Greece. Of these twelve were from Greece itself, with four promoting the island of Corfu. Other regions represented included Athens, Larissa, Crete, Chalkidiki and Macedonia, Thessaloniki, the Cyclades, Lefkada as well as Pilion and Volos.
In addition to meetings, one on one, there were workshops for various tourist regions and spas and health tourism.
In line with the latest trend, smoking was prohibited on the premises of the show.

Guide schools on Corfu, Mytilene, Rhodes, and Crete may re-open under new regulations for training of professional tourist guides approved recently by Education Minister Petros Efthimiou and Development Undersecretary Dimitris Georgakopoulos.
The new guidelines are aimed at upgraded training ahead of the 2004 Olympics.
Guide institutes, which are recognized as tertiary professional education schools, are under the jurisdiction of the Development Ministry. The course runs for five semesters. Permanent schools currently operate in Athens and Thessaloniki. The new regulations outline the curriculum, procedures for selecting teaching staff, and the schools' administrative structure.

Alpha Ekthesiaki has launched its new cycle of trade shows with two expos highlighting office equipment and home fixtures. Both shows were held at the Gournes Exhibition Center in Iraklio, Crete, in November.
Fifty exhibitors took part in the first show, the 1st Contemporary Office-ΙΤ-Automation expo from November 1-3. The second show, Winter Home, drew over 100 exhibitors and was held November 15-18.
Alpha Ekthesiaki will also organize the 12th Tourism Goods and Gifts show on Crete (January 17-20), Rhodes (January 24-27), and Corfu-Kefallonia-Zakynthos (floating venue, February 2-16); the 3rd Food, Beverage, and Hotel Equipment show on Crete (February 28-March 3); the 1st Cooling, Heating, Solar Energy Show in Crete (February 28-March 3); the 2nd Car, Bike, Leisure Craft, and Accessories show on Crete (March); the 1st Hunting, Fishing, Hiking, Diving show on Crete (March); and the 3rd Spring Home show, also on Crete (April).

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc., owners of the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens, have launched the Starwood Global Access program aimed at meeting the travel needs of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Through the program, company executives and associates will be automatically enrolled in the Starwood Preferred Guest program at the Corporate Level. Benefits include special room rates, a 4 p.m. checkout, room upgrades, and an exclusive toll-free number for reservations. To be eligible for the Global Access programs, companies must use 50 room nights per year in a Starwood hotel and book an additional 50 room nights in a second hotel in the chain.
"We've developed a unique, international corporate program designed for companies that travel to many destinations and are loyal to Starwood but which are too small to qualify for the traditional corporate programs," said Paul Tribolet, Starwood vice president, director of marketing and food & beverage for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. "Rate reduction at our hotels for members of Starwood Global Access can be as high as 40 per cent of rack rate, something that the competition does not currently offer to the specific businesses we are targeting."

John Lagos, general manager of Starwood hotels in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for the last five years, has been named the new general manager of the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens.
Lagos, who is of Greek descent, has been with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide (formerly the Sheraton Corporation) since 1984, and has worked in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Russia, Hong Kong, and the U.S. cities of New Orleans and Honolulu.
"Ι am happy and excited to be in Greece where Ι will have the opportunity to lead the team that renovates the Grande Bretagne," he said in a statement. "We must emphasize that all our associates, old and new, will be fully trained and will offer high quality service that will exceed the expectations of our customers. We eagerly await the day when the hotel will reopen its doors to welcome our old and new customers to a renovated Grande Bretagne."
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. owns 740 hotels in 80 countries and employs 110,000 people in its hotels.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc., owner of the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens, has named the new management team that will run the hotel once it reopens after extensive renovation.
The new team comprises Christoforos Manolis in the post of deputy manager, Gerald Krischek as marketing director, Christoforos Voglis as deputy sales and marketing director, Douglas Ariza as revenues director, and Yorgos Pallis as director of food and beverages. Ernst Frank, a veteran of the Sheraton Corporation, has also been named executive chef. The hotel's new finance director is Constantine Kyriakos, while Constantine Mitropoulos has been named head of the technical department.
Every member of the new management team has an impressive resume and track record in hotels in Greece and abroad.

Representatives of European and Greek travel agents have filed a complaint against ΙΑΤΑ and its member-airlines for violations of European anti-monopoly laws.
The complaint was filed with the European Commission on October 18 by the Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agents (ΗΑΤΤΑ) and the European Community Travel Agents' Association (ECTAA), and the Guild of European Business Travel Agents (GEBTA). In their notice, the agents' associations claim that regulations contained in ΙΑΤΑ resolution 814 on passenger sales agreements are in violation of Articles 81 and 82 of the European Community convention. The complaint claims the ΙΑΤΑ resolution allows member-airlines to abuse their dominant position in the airline service distribution market.
"By creating their own sales network on the internet, ΙΑΤΑ members have become direct competitors of ΙΑΤΑ-approved travel agents," ECTAA president Walter Krombach said in a statement. "ΙΑΤΑ Resolution 814 creates outdated and costly obligations for travel agents but at the same time allows carriers to reduce commissions without warning."
ΗΑΤΤΑ emphasized that as a result of the ΙΑΤΑ resolution agents in Greece, for example, might be allowed to sell only specific fares to Germany thus penalizing the Greek consumer who would not have access to lower fares that might only be available in Germany.
The travel agents' associations said they decided to file the complaint after talks with ΙΑΤΑ on this issue became deadlocked.

First-class passengers on Singapore Airlines will be able to choose their meals before the flight thanks to the newly introduced "Book the Cook" program. This innovative service allows passengers travelling first class to order their meals through the company's website, by phone, or by fax up to 24 hours before the flight's scheduled departure.
Singapore Airlines's menu is comprised of 21 meals from Asian and international cuisines. Α new Japanese dish and a new Thai dish have also been added to the menu of flights from Singapore.
The airline has also expanded its wine list with Australian and American vintages. First-class passengers are also offered Piper Heidsieck Special Rare Cuvee champagne.
Singapore Airlines, a member of Star Alliance, and its subsidiary SilkAir currently fly to 93 destinations in 40 countries.

”From My Notebook”, By Connie Soloyanis
- Delta Air Lines, one of the largest airlines in the world, is planning to operate a new low-cost airline, initially on domestic operations within the U.S.Α.
- Other pending new 'low-cost' airlines due to operate in the near future include TUI's Hapag-Lloyd Express (scheduled to start flying before the end of this year), and a Dart Group air carrier to operate from Leeds Bradford International Airport in northern England.
- On the other side of the ledger, in an economy move financially plagued Olympic Airways is cutting service to Australia after some 25 years of operating such service.
- As of October airlines have started to charge for alcoholic drinks aloft. And champagne has been eliminated from the free drinks in First or Business Class.
- Within the U.S.Α. security police at airports confiscated some 62,000 knives from passengers last month. This figure is down from some 107,000 which were 'collected' the previous month.
- Parallel to this firearms seized last month at U.S. airports numbered 59, down from 228 confiscated the previous month.
- Air passengers have decreased in general, and, parallel, so-called duty-free purchases at airports have reportedly plunged drastically.
- Desperation for some European tour operators has caused them to offer significant discounts (up to 30 percent) for clients who book this month for next summer.
- At least one Greek incoming tour operator reports its traffic this year has been half the average of the past few years.
- There has been a notable increase in 'residential tourism,' of which Spain has been the prime target up until the present. Families are buying apartments in a holiday setting.
- Overall tourism to the United Kingdom is down this year by close to 20 percent. Causes are named as September 11 and foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.
- One tourist destination which has enjoyed an impressive increase in arrivals is Hong Kong. Reportedly by some 30 percent this September over last year. Biggest increase was from mainland China.
- Egypt also had an appreciable increase in tourists this fall.
- In general airfares have been skyrocketing. Such are the changes in air travel that the time of your flight can determine the cost of your ticket, with an appreciable difference in price. Two flights on the same day on the one airline can have two different prices.
- Confusion Dept.: While ΕΙΒΤΜ (the incentive and conference show which introduced the 'hosted buyers' concept) is moving from Geneva to Barcelona in 2004 (after some 17 years) under its new owners. Α new similar show is being organized by the creators of the original ΕΙΒΤΜ for Frankfurt.
- Α marathon run has been organized in the Czech Republic in and about the city of Prague. The marathon includes the famed Charles Bridge and the colourful old quarter of the city. It is a 42.195 kilometer run, set for Sunday, May 18, 2003. Α free massage for all participants is to be made available at the end of the run.

Let's All Speak With One Voice
The travel and tourist industry of Greece has developed into a large business sector of the country, earning major contributions to the overall revenue of the country. But the industry is somewhat of a fractured industry.
There is a host of various associations within the trade. To list a few: There is SETE--the association of Greek tourist enterprises, ΗΑΤΤΑ--the Hellenic Association of Tourist and Travel Agencies, ASTA-Hellas, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels of Greece, the Athens Hotel Association, the Association of Greek Incoming Tour Operators, the Greek Passenger Shipowners Association, the Greek Yacht Brokers Association, Hellenic Professional Yacht Owners Association, ΡΟΕΤ-Panhellenic Federation of Tourist Enterprises, PETAGA-the Greek Union of Air Travel Agencies, the Hellenic Association of Airline Representatives, and even a Union of Greek Authorized Lecturer Guides. And, perhaps a half dozen others.
Each of these associations represents a sector of the overall industry, but obviously overlapping three or four other associations.
It can be said to be healthy to have so much representation. But there is no one universal voice.
Each grouping has basically the same aims as all the others, even if some will not admit such. The obvious aim of all is to better gain prominence and better working conditions, and enhance profitable operations.
The various sectors voice opinions now and then, but hardly ever as one chorus.
Speaking all in one voice is essential especially when the private sector wishes to have the government assist the trade in some way. Speaking with a fractured voice is not very effective, and many a government official has questioned the representation of the various associations.
It is time to grow up and unite. After all, everyone seeks the same end results. If all the various sectors joined together into one organization there would be muscle and one clear voice. It is time to associate, and for everyone to be able to speak with one--loud--voice instead of a cacophony of murmurs. Make it one loud voice!

Hellenic Travelling

There is optimism on air travel expressed by international business travelers, according to a new survey by the American Express International Business Traveler Survey. Despite a general economic depression some 92 percent of business air travelers expect to maintain or increase their pace of air travel in 2003.
The survey was undertaken of business travelers in 14 countries in four global regions---Europe, north America, south America and Asia/Australia. The highest optimism (over 51 percent) was reflected in south America.
Most business travelers (some 97 percent) stated they felt safe in air travel.

Planning sessions were held in Frankfurt between executives of Deutsche Bahn and Martakis Tourism Consultants (represented by Socrates Rammou), to plan a repeat of Greek month on German railroads in 2003.
Promotion of destinations in Greece along with food and wine are featured on trains for the month-long event. Similar promotions have been staged successfully in 1999 and 2000.

Some 4,700,000 passengers utilized Frankfurt Airport, the largest in Germany, this past September, representing a seven percent increase over the same period last year. When there was a drastic decline due to the terrorist attacks in New York. Frankfurt is the busiest airport within the European continent.
In general air passenger traffic is reportedly increasing all over Europe.

The new $800-million, five-star, Queen Mary 2 has been booked to serve as a floating hotel in the port of Piraeus for the Olympic Games of 2004 being held in Athens. Α memoranda of understanding has been signed between Cunard Lines and the organizing committee of the Games, which would have the 1,310-cabin luxury vessel docked in Piraeus from August 12 through August 30.
The Queen Mary 2 is set to be the centerpiece of an 11-ship flotilla to house some 13,280 visitors for the Games.
The new ship is scheduled to be delivered from the shipyards in December of 2003. It will be the longest, tallest, widest and heaviest cruise ship ever built---equivalent to a 23-story skyscraper, taller than the Statue of Liberty.
Among the other cruise ships to be utilized for the Olympic Games housing are included the new four-star Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer of Royal Olympic Cruise Lines.
Unconfirmed is that the daily rates for accommodations aboard these vessels will vary from 400 to 650 Euros per day.

British Airways has announced its winter schedule of flights. From Athens flights to London there are three daily, all with Heathrow Airport as destination. All flights to Gatwick Airport have been cancelled.
Flights from other destinations, such as from the U.S.Α., Zimbabwe and Zambia have been scheduled for Heathrow as well.

An international poll on Internet undertaken by the German periodical Reise und Preise has ranked thirteen of Greece's beaches among the top 30 in Europe. Topmost selected in the survey was that of Apella beach on the island of Karpathos.
Considerations were made for quality, colour and nature of beaches, as well as for clarity, purity, colour of water and suitability for swimming.
The other beaches in Greece cited are on the islands of Thassos, Karpathos, Corfu, Cephalonia, Rhodes, Mykonos, Skiathos, Zakinthos and three on Crete.

Hellas Jet, a new airline based in Greece, organized by Cyprus Airways, is scheduled to start operations in the spring of 2003. Three Airbus 320 aircraft have been leased for its initial operation. Initially it would be operated on short haul schedules.

Three hotels of the Grecotel chain have been awarded Umwelt Champion 2002 awards by TUI, the huge German tour operator, for providing "a better holiday environment."
This is an annual award based on opinions of German clients of TUI on protection of the environment.
The Grecotel chain operates hotels on the islands of Crete, Kos, Rhodes, Mykonos, and others, as well as in Athens.

Amadeus Hellas announces that its membership has increased to some 500 agencies of the travel community. This includes a doubling within Greece and triple new participation in Cyprus.
The market share of use of Amadeus in Greece has grown by 85 percent and in Cyprus by 198 percent.
Amadeus Awards were made as follows:
Amphitrion Holidays: "the biggest migration in the history of Amadeus Hellas."
TUI Hellas: "an extraordinary growth and development in business and technology."
Loukidis Travel: "an excellent representation to the north Greece travel market for the professional performance, competence and unique co-operation."
Esser Travel: "an excellent representation for the south Greece travel market for the professional performance, competence and unique co-operation."
Ilios Travel of Crete: "an excellent representation for the south Greece travel market for the professional performance, competence and unique co-operation."

Goldair Cargo has received the ISO 9001;2000 award for management of quality security system in transport, storage and distribution of goods. The certification is from SGS-Switzerland SA-International Certification Services.
The company, which is already operating an office in Romania, has plans to expand further in the Balkans.
Goldair has acquired real estate in Thessaloniki with the intention (with self financing) of building offices and storage facilities of some 3,000 square feet.
The company is also exploring the possibilities for marine transfers.

The official inauguration and christening of Superfast ΧΙΙ took place in the port of Piraeus in a highly celebrative climate. The President of Attica Enterprises S.Α. Mr. Periklis Panagopoulos and the President and CEO of Superfast Ferries S.Α. Mr. Alexandros Panagopoulos welcomed distinguised guests and the Greek singer super star Despina Vandi christened the ship.
Superfast ΧΙΙ is an ultramodern car-passenger ferry, built at Flender Werft AG in Lόbeck, Germany. Superfast ΧΙΙ is the second of a pair of Superfast vessels ordered at Flender Werft AG in March, 2000.
Superfast ΧΙ has a capacity of 1,550 passengers and garage decks for 130 large trucks and 100 private vehicles, four 12-cylinder engines that produce a total output of 48,000 kw and speed in excess of 30 knots. Superfast ΧΙ has an overall length of 199.9 m., width of 25.0 m, draft of 6.4 m and maximum height at deck 10 of 28.8 m.
Equipped with technologically the latest navigation and communication instruments, the new cruise-class ferry of Attica Enterprises offers 5-star comfort to their passengers and amenities to include a la carte and buffet Restaurants, Bars, a panoramic Lounge, Casino, Video Games Room, Card Room, Shops and Boutiques, Conference Rooms and Business Centre, Children's Playroom, Satellite Television and Internet facilities.
Superfast ΧΙΙ will join Superfast ΧΙ in the Adriatic Sea routes between the ports of Patras, Igoumenitsa and Ancona along with Superfast Ι and Superfast ΙΙ, which trade between Patras, Igoumenitsa and Bari and Superfast V and Superfast VI, which trade on the direct Patras-Ancona-Patras route.
With the opportunity of christening the Superfast ΧΙΙ, Superfast Ferries decided to financially support two institutions for children with special needs in the Aegean, "ELEPAP" at Chania Crete and "Aghios Andreas" at Rhodes.

Tourist arrivals from Russia and states of the former Soviet Union have shown overall increases of some 12 percent for the first nine months of this year, according to the number of visas issued by Greek consulates.
In the period traffic from Moscow was up 3.7 percent, and from St. Petersburg the rise was an impressive 60.8 percent.
Visas issued in the Ukraine were up 39.6 percent, and from Russia itself, 8.8 percent.

Ariana Airlines, the national airline of Afghanistan, has resumed flights to Europe, after inactivity for some 20 years. An Ariana Airbus aircraft flew from Kabul to Damascus, thence to Istanbul, and finally to Frankfurt.
For the present there will be similarly scheduled flights twice a week.

EasyJet has announced it has selected Airbus Α319 aircraft for its fleet renewal and expansion, and confirmed an order for 120 airplanes, with options for an additional 120 airplanes. The initial aircraft are to be delivered between September 2003 and September 2008.
The Airbus Α319 is configured with 150 seats, with a possibility that such capacity may be increased.

After surveying regular attendees at the annual ΕΙΒΤΜ show, the world's leading meetings and incentive industry event, it has been decided that the 17th ΕΙΒΤΜ is to be held in Barcelona in December. The dates for next year are November 30 to December 2, 2003.
The ΕΙΒΤΜ in Barcelona will also encompass Tecnomeeting, the annual three-day convention show held in the same city.
Ten cities were considered and the exhibitors, hosted buyers and other regular trade visitors were canvassed, and Barcelona was chosen. The first sixteen shows were held in Geneva during the month of May.

The world-famed Grande Bretagne Hotel of Athens, situated on central Constitution Square (Syntagma) is scheduled for a 'soft' opening in February of 2003, after completion of a $57 million, 15-month long refurbishment and renovations. The G.Β., as it is familiarly known, is once again to be the most splendid hotel in Athens, if not in all of Greece.
The 364 rooms existing prior to the renovations have been fashioned into 290 more elegant rooms, 35 suites and two presidential suites. Personal valet service has been added to the suites.
The Grande Bretagne was originally built as a mansion in 1842, and served to house distinguished visitors, friends and relatives of the then King Otto and Queen Amalia of Greece, who resided in the palace across the street.
In 1874 the mansion was converted into a celebrated luxury hotel, comprised of 30 bedrooms and two bathrooms. It was expanded to its present size in 1930 with a new wing built along Panepistimiou Street.

Superfast Ferries and Blue Star Ferries companies have been certified as per ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. The management companies as well as 13 specific vessels were cited.
The companies' management is especially sensitive to environmental issues and is committed to a policy of protecting the natural environment. All necessary measures are taken to ensure that the operation of vessels of the company is environmentally friendly and complies with environmental regulations. The ships conform to the highest international standards for environmental protection under the International Convention on Marine Pollution (Marpol) as established by the International Maritime Organization (ΙΜΟ.)
The companies are committed to providing environmentally friendly transportation services and to ensure all; its employees conduct themselves with a high sense of responsibility towards the environment.

The Blue Star Dodecanese Line reports that during the month of September, passenger traffic was up some 24 percent over the same period last year, and that car traffic was up over 20 percent.

The Hellenic Travel and Tourism Association (ΗΑΤΤΑ) staged an exciting special, outdoor celebration of International Tourism Day, with music, dance, displays of handicraft, samplings of food and drink, and even puppet shows for children. The all-day celebration was staged just below the Acropolis, with hordes of visitors.
Yannis Evangelou, president of ΗΑΤΤΑ, made an appropriate speech, along with others, including Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Minister of Development, Yannis Pattelis, president of ΗΝΤΟ, and representatives of the Ministry of Interior and the New Democracy Party.

Efcharis Estate, for one more year celebrated the gathering of the vintage, with music, dance, food lots of wine and friends from the local community of Megara, wine producers, journalists and travel agents.
The celebrations were topped with traditional dances from the “Leceum Ellinidon Megaron” and the stepping of the grapes.
Also the owner Ms Eva Beme-Antoniou, conducted a raffle which proceeds were donated to the children of Megara with special needs.

Τhe International Air Transport Association (ΙΑΤΑ) is seeking greater levels of transparency among airport operators worldwide, citing disparities in charges by different airports, constantly rising charges without accompanying rises in service levels, and monopolistic cultures among airport managements.
According to visiting ΙΑΤΑ director-general and chief executive officer Giovanni Bisignani, currently airports worldwide, though not all have a tendency to set charges arbitrarily, which together with air traffic controller (ATC) charges, meant these institutions are no longer in equal partnership with airlines.
”The total paid by airlines for the use of airports and ATS (airport terminal services) infrastructure world-wide amounts to more than US$40bil, of which US$15bil was paid for airport charges for international operations. This is about 10% of the airlines╒ international operating costs,” Bisignani said.
Giovanni Bisignani said that while the airlines had taken steps such as lowering fares and providing better services to make flying cheaper for passengers, airports had instead contributed toward increasing the costs of air travel by imposing new airport taxes and fees which, following the downturn in passenger travel resulting from the events of Sept 11, 2001, increased the airlines’ burden.
He said that Sept 11 had placed the industry in crisis with huge financial losses suffered by the airlines as well as job loss.
On a global scale, he said, airlines lost US$18bil last year, of which US$12bil was on international scheduled traffic and US$6bil on domestic services.
Bisignani spoke with the media at an informal press conference in Kuala Lumpur following his address at the Airports Council International (ACI) World Assembly in Tokyo on Oct 8, 2002.He said the airline industry expected losses of between US$10bil and US$12bil for this year, with an least US$5bil owing to the anticipated losses in international scheduled traffic.
According to figures collated by industry researchers, such as the Transport Research Laboratory, the most recent showed airport profits to be very different from those of the airlines. For example, the Auckland airport showed an operating profit of 57% of total revenues, South African airports, some 50%, London’s Heathrow airport which registered 41% and Frankfurt, 32%.
Bisignani said that this showed there was something structurally wrong with the airline-airport relationship.
Having taken over the leadership of the ΙΑΤΑ board in June this year, Bisignani called for a new kind of partnership between the airlines and the airports - one that had greater transparency and provided better value for money, as frequently, airport services did not justify the charges.
On a positive note, he said that the Asia-Pacific region was showing steady growth in air traffic as the region was less affected by the Sept 11 events, there was less of a “hassle” factor (increased security checks) and passenger confidence in flying largely remained intact. Asia learnt its lesson during the financial crisis of 1997 and is now highly experienced in cutting capacity quickly and restoring it equally quickly. Also China’s capacity helped as it is a leader in moving large volumes of traffic,” Bisignani noted.
Another key issue is the high cost of premiums for the transport industry’s third-party war risk liability insurance, which had been cancelled on a seven-day notice following Sept 11. It is an issue that has remained unresolved until today, with many airlines being supported by government guarantees.
Bisignani said premiums had risen from US$1bil to US$6bil this year, resulting in ΙΑΤΑ and other organisations working together to form a non-profit insurance company to manage funds contributed by airlines and others to provide US$1.5bil of third-party war risk insurance, while governments would provide the necessary guarantees.
Bisignani predicted a recovery in the airline industry “if the situation doesn’t change” next year, with international operations growing by 6% and growth averaging 4% between 2003 and 2006.
He said that freight, also important in showing the state of an economy, could grow by 1% and even hit double-digit growth in the final quarter of this year.

From My Notebook By Connie Soloyanis
*There is confidence that commercial air traffic will rise, perhaps dramatically, in the near future. This is 'confirmed' by such leading airports as those of New York, London, Tokyo and in China, which are all embarking on major terminal extensions.
*Statistics show that there are some 650,000,000 Americans take commercial flights a year, while within Europe there are some 450,000,000 commercial air passengers per annum.
*Such is the trend today that more applications for volunteers for the Olympic Games 2004 being held in Athens have been received by Internet than by mail or otherwise, some 17,495 compared to 13,192. Further, some 55.6 percent of the volunteers are women.
*Even the Archaeological Museum of Athens is getting a spruce up for the Olympic Games of 2004---it is closing for this winter period.
*Wine tours of Greece are one of the newer aspects of Greek tourism.
*The latest 'invasion' of foreign wines in Greece, incidentally, is to be from far off South America's Chile.
*The staff of the 'new' Grande Bretagne Hotel is to undergo a two and a half month period of special training before the 'soft' opening of the hotel in February.
*In a recent survey of costs of meals in tourist-popular cities, London rated tops in price (with about $90 per), Paris (with $50), and New York (with $30.) Though not included in the survey, Tokyo was mentioned as being much higher than London.
*Add to the woes for American tourists traveling to Europe, the Euro has made everything some ten percent more expensive for them.
*Delta Air Lines, at present the only U.S. airline with direct flights between the U.S. and Greece, is increasing its self-service kiosks for electronic check-ins in the States.
*Α recent survey indicates that tourists who take beach holidays stay longer and spend more money on their trips, than other tourists.
*The Louis Catering operations at the Venizelos International Airport at Spata have been rated the best in Europe and second in international operations, in an international survey undertaken over a period of one year
*Among the woes for tourism to Greece in 2003 is the unconfirmed notion that major European tour operators are pushing for 30 percent discounts for 2003, due to the downturn of traffic this year.
*On the positive side, the South Korean ambassador to Greece has held meetings with ΗΝΤΟ officials promoting the notion of broadening tourism between the two countries, with a possible stress on sports events.
*The ΗΝΤΟ has announced that in the first seven months of 2002 there has been an increase of tourism revenue by one percent over the same period last year. Oddly enough there have been slight increases in patronage of hotels in the three higher categories, while decreases in the lower class ones.
*Love the notion of Maris Hotels that people and companies become 'patrons' (or 'godfathers') of public greenery and care for such.
*Saddam Hussein has outdone the royals. At last count the Iraqi dictator had 57 palaces, seven more than even the flamboyant and prolific British King Henry VIII owned.
*Advice Department:
If at first you do not succeed, try again and once again. Then don't be a fool. Give up.
If you do not succeed, you will get a lot of advice.
If you do not succeed---cheat!
Some credit for success depends on how and on whom you lay the blame for any failure.

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