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You in Greece

Neos Kosmos is inviting readers to send in their holiday stories and photos from Greece as part of a campaign to boost tourism in a country that needs the help of its diaspora now more than ever.

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12 June 2011

Neos Kosmos is inviting readers to send in their holiday stories and photos from Greece as part of a campaign to boost tourism in a country that needs the help of its diaspora now more than ever.

The campaign will be focusing, promoting and publishing-in print and electronically-all aspects of your travel experience in Greece. Through the campaign "You in Greece", we give you, our readers the opportunity to share your unforgettable experience in the land of Gods, myths, untold natural beauty and global historical signifcance. We feel that by promoting travel in Greece to our readers it will benefit the homeland of our fathers, which is going through very tough times these days. Revenue generated by Australians travelling to Greece has helped in the past and continues to help Greece's ailing economy.

In the last year all indications and reservations show that travel to Greece has not decreased, according to Melbourne travel agent Kon Kavalakis from Grecian Tours. "It's very similar to last year; we haven't got a financial crisis here in Australia so it hasn't affected our travellers," Kavalakis told Neos Kosmos.

While the majority of people travelling to Greece are visiting family, there are also standard tourists, Mr Kavalakis said. "Every year the three top destinations are the islands: Mykonos, Santorini, and then Crete has been popular this year," he said. The most popular holiday packages continue to be the island hoppers, Kavalakis said.

"They pick up a flight or a ferry into Mykonos, catch a ferry to Santorini and we package up accommodation and flights to accommodate for that. The islands are the biggest selling packages," he said. Five airlines fly to Greece; Emirates, Etihad, Qatar airlines, Thai Airlines and Singapore Airlines. All fly into Athens, with the Arab airlines; Qatar, Etihad and Emirates, flying into Greece daily. Singapore and Thai airlines have about three flights a week to Greece. While flight prices vary (it can depend on when you book and pay), Kavalakis said "the cheapest flights are early bird specials which commence from the previous year, in November, December. Generally if someone was to book now they'd be paying anywhere between $2000 to $2500 depending on airlines and dates. Whereas if travellers were to book at the end of last year for this European summer they could nab earlybird specials as low as $1800".

"Dates play a huge role in price. If you left at the end of June you'd be paying top dollar because of the school holiday period, if you left towards end of July it'd be cheaper," Kavalakis said. A growing number of strikes in Greece, including the national strike in recent weeks, which saw the airport closed for 24 hours, remain a problem.

"The national strike, where the airport was closed for 24 hours, did cause a bit of a problem, passengers had to be reallocated the next day or day after, and these things always causes inconvenience, but it happened in a period that wasn't too busy, fortunately," Kavalakis said.

Greece continues to encourage tourism from international travelers, which is reflected in lower prices, Kavalakis said. "I think they have tried to accommodate cheaper prices at hotels and for flights, availability is certainly better within Greece, so you assume they're not as full as what they have been other years and their rates are a little bit cheaper".

Neos Kosmos wants to hear from you, our readers, about your experiences whilst holidaying or travelling through Greece. Whether you soaked up the sun or got stuck in a strike, let us know by sending your stories or travel snaps to editor@neoskosmos.com.au.

We look forward to reliving amazing Greece through your experiences!

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Comments

I love Greece, I love meeting up with my relatives and very old friends. I love the places where there are not hordes of tourist. The places that are the real treasures of Greece, we should keep a secret. We should keep the ugly disneylands on a few barren and ugly islands far from the mainland, line the beaches with cash registers and shovel junk food down the throats of the ugly people, like one does for factory raised pigs. How can the hordes, whose forefathers first visited Greece in the 12th Century and, cooked and ate most of the Greek population, have any fine feelings about anything. How do you explain to the Horde somethings as marvelous as a Church service lit only by a few candles before the daybreak, and the five Priests who Chant like Gods in praise of their supreme God. Standing alone, but, one cannot not be alone in the thousand year old Church; it is seemingly filled with all the souls of those that have stood before these Icons and heard the same songs of praise to their God. When, surprisingly, a Priest begans me to come forward to receive a teaspoon of wine, I thank him for his generosity, as that teaspoon of wine is his greatest treasure. As the wine flows to my throat, the five Priests chant " Christos Anesti" over and over again bringing the memories and joy of a childhood Easter, and, tears to my eyes. Such great Drama and Pathos make one truely believe that the Priests are connected to their God. Silently the Priests disappear into the icons. I am left standing alone in the large Church with tears in my eyes. They make one wish, one had the strength to be a Christian.
Where are the masses of comments here folks? I know that many of you do go to Ellada, some every year, so you must have both great tourism stories but also great ideas based on your own wonderful holidays to the land that the Gods themselves chose for their home - Ellada. Where can you buy the best bougatsa in all of the Hellenic Republic? Which region makes the best yoghurt? Which island stuns you the most? How did you react when you saw the first bagpipes ever made in the museums up north? Are you inspired when you see the many statues built to honour the great women of Hellenism? Which beach is the best beach in that nation? Who makes the best Greek pizza? I could certainly give you my answers but I would love to read yours. Or maybe you have an idea of how we can help tourism in practice and you can find the funds to send, say, ten people over there for a month to physically work on projects. To restore local museums. Top build a jetty or two for boats. To paint old buildings in bright Hellenic colours. Hellas is our patrida, the land that we do owe so much to so we must do what we can to help. Are you ready?
Congratulations to Neos Kosmos for so quickly coming on side of greater tourism for the Hellenic Republic. While tourism has recently accounted for 17% of their national economy, the potential is there for this figure to soar to greater heights. Ignoring the problems that do exist regarding tourism, there is no doubt that the potential there is one for a level of tourism that could easily rival the French Riviera. Afterall, the most stunning beaches you could ever see, the most amazing waters, the most stunning biodiveristy, mountains that make you feel as if you are amongst the gods themselves and... I could go on for ever. Of course added to the most natural beauty of any nation that I have ever visited is also an ancestry, a realm of antiquities that is simply inspirational, so much so that I had to walk barefoot at the Acropolis, at Olympia, at Delphi, at the Olympic Stadium... The only immediate thing missing,and here I lay out a challenge, is for a swim along the length of the Corinth Canal. I am advised by cousins living nearby it has never been done so imagine the tourism factor in that alone.

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