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A hopeful rise in #GreekTourism arrivals this year, 25 million expected to visit

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ITB Berlin 2016 – Greek Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura and Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) Andreas Andreadis.

The Greek Tourism Confederation expects the number of visitors to rise to a record 25 million this year and bring 800 million euros ($897 million) of extra income,

Andreas Andreadis, president of Greek Tourism Confederation said in an interview in Athens on Tuesday March 29.

Andreadis said he expects as many as 900,000 Russians to arrive in Greece and they will account for about half the increase in revenue

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Summer bookings: Turkey’s to fall, Greece’s to rise, hopefully

The Greek tourism sector is rubbing its hands in expectation of the tourists who have dropped neighboring Turkey from their holiday agenda and instead opted for Greek shores,the greektravelpages wrote.

Turkey’s bookings  falling  sharply

Due to the rising political tensions between Turkey and Russia, terror attacks on German tourists, terrorism in nearby countries and problems with refugees and Kurds, Turkey has many problems that will directly affect tourism and medical tourism in 2016 and 2017.

Tourists are avoiding Turkey en masse, write gtp, with Germans recording a 14.39 percent drop, US tourists decreasing by 9.53 percent, Japan travelers by a massive 58.96 percent and Russian holidaymakers, which was until recently Turkey’s main market, by 51.56 percent. The number of Greek visitors also fell in February by 20.82 percent at 34,176.

In recent years, the number of tourists to Turkey went up by several million each year, until 2015.

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Medical tourism numbers also grew spectacularly, although some of the official figures are not entirely trustworthy. From a peak of 42 million in 2014, tourism numbers have fallen, with 2015 figures looking to be around 36 million.

The trend on medical tourism is expected to show an even bigger fall as the numbers of Russians, Germans and Italians going to Turkey have fallen significantly.

Russian outbound numbers on tourism and medical tourism have fallen and will fall further in 2016 due to political instability, EU sanctions, falling oil prices and the value of the Rouble falling against foreign currencies.

On the same day the Greek President of Hoteliers in Greece, Andreadis, announced the expected rise in Greece’s tourism activity , separately, on March 28,  Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry reported a 10 percent drop in year-on-year arrivals last month, the most in a decade.

Tourism and medical tourism have been heavily dependent on Russians and Germans. According to Turkish authorities, 5.5 million Germans visited the country in 2015 and there were, until late 2015, millions of Russians.

Turkey is concerned about the loss of Russian business, but increasing business from European countries had been offsetting this. Turkey is popular with German, French, Italian and Spanish tourists. The country used to be one of Germany’s most popular travel destinations, but after this year’s assault on a German tour group in Istanbul and two other attacks deliberately aimed at tourists, bookings have fallen sharply.

Tourism , unique Greece’s growing sector

While Andreadis made no comment on Turkey or its tourism industry, the expected influx of higher-spending Russian tourists couldn’t come at a better time for Greece as its economy struggles to grow and its finances still hang in the balance.

Tourism has been one of the few industries that kept growing during the crisis, with rising to a record 23.6 million people last year.

In 2015, international tourist arrivals to Greece grew by 7% to reach 23.6 million, while exports generated by the sector increased by 6% to euro 14.2 billion.

Its total contribution to the country’s gross domestic product was 18.5 percent, almost twice the European average, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Andreadis said the increase will boost GDP by an extra percentage point this year, with revenue rising to 15 billion euros from 14.2 billion euros in 2015. 

In 2015, the number of visitors from Germany specifically rose by 14.3 percent compared to 2014, to reach 2.8 million, while the overall rise in German visitors to Greece since 2010 has been 38 percent. Last year, German visitors contributed 2.26 billion euros to the Greek economy, according to the Bank of Greece

 

UNWTO projects a positive 2016 for tourism in Greece

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ITB Berlin 2016 – Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); Elena Koundoura, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Greece; Dimitris Tryfonopoulos, Secretary General, Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO); Iris Gleicke, Parliamentary State-Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, also,  expressed, on March 17,  the confidence of the Organization in the continued growth of the tourism sector in Greece.

Meeting Minister of Tourism of Greece Elena Kountoura at the side-lines of ITB to discuss the situation and prospects of tourism in Europe and Greece, Mr Rifai said

“we have no doubt that Greece will maintain a powerful image worldwide as a major tourism destination and that the country will consolidate its growth in 2016, as shown by booking trends”.

 

sources: gtp pages, International Medical Travel Journal, Bloomberg, Hospitalitynet

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National panic in the closed borders’ vast hot spot that is Greece

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Chaos leading to  generalized national panic is the latest  update on refugee crisis in Greece by thousands arriving every day back to Athens from the closed Greek -FYROM border and some more thousands daily sent from the islands to Piraeus and then Athens, while the country realises that not only European solidarity  is a illusion, but more dramatically, that sharing of the refugee burden has proved to be a utopia itself .
“Greece becoming a vast camp”, Peter Sutherland, United Nations Special Representative for International Migration tweeted on Wednesday .
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced in Parliament  that from now on Greece “will not assent to agreements” unless all its partners are forced to participate proportionately in the relocation and resettlement of refugees.
The management of the refugee crisis by Europe has been disappointing,
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday in an address in Parliament, and urged European Union countries to honor the bloc’s decisions on sharing the burden of the  crisis, warning that  that if they did not, Athens would block future agreements.

Alexis Tsipras made clear that

“Greece will not agree to deals (in the EU) if a mandatory allocation of burdens and responsibilities among member countries is not secured.”

“Some don’t realize that the common rules either apply to all or they don’t exist,” he said. “Also, agreements are either implemented by all or they don’t exist. It’s shameful for the decisions taken by the EU heads of state to be annulled by some sub-gatherings,” he said, noting Greece will demand its partners “to act responsibly”.

“We will not allow Greece to become a warehouse of souls,” he said.

Addressing worries that flow restrictions at the northern border could swell the number of migrants stranded in Greece, Tsipras said he would meet political party leaders to form a common stance before an early March summit of EU leaders on the migration crisis.

 

NATO to send illegal migrants back to Turkey

Migrants rescued by NATO vessels in the Aegean Sea will be returned to Turkey, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said early Thursday after the military alliance finalized an operation to monitor the smuggling networks that help people reach Greece.

“In case of rescue of persons coming via Turkey, they will be taken back to Turkey,” Stoltenberg added.

NATO vessels arrived in the Aegean last week, and are carrying out reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance activities, the NATO chief said, adding that the alliance is also establishing direct links with the European Union‘s border agency Frontex.

Participating NATO vessels can operate in Greek and Turkish waters, but Ankara and Athens have agreed not to send forces into each others‘ waters or airspace, Stoltenberg said. The two sides are embroiled in a long-running territorial dispute.

He noted that NATO is uniquely placed to facilitate the cooperation and exchange of information between Greece and Turkey, as both countries are members of the alliance, while only Greece is in the EU.

Stoltenberg‘s comments came hours before a meeting Thursday of EU interior ministers in Brussels to discuss joint efforts to curb the migrant inflow.

On Wednesday, Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel  agreed to intensify efforts to implement EU decisions and start NATO operations in the Aegean Sea immediately to counter smuggling networks to reduce migrant inflows, while hours earlier,  Angela Merkel had a telephon conference with President Obama, and as well Francois Hollande  and David Cameron, where the four of them  agreed they were firmly committed to the Nato migration mission, noting the importance of Greece and Turkey working together and with the international community to ensure the mission’s success.

Four vessels under German command, including personnel from Canada, Greece and Turkey, were rerouted last week from another part of the Mediterranean Sea, according to NATO officials.

NATO agreed two weeks ago to help combat the flow of migrants to Europe in response to a request by Turkey, Greece and Germany. But work to agree the details of the operation ran into difficulties after Ankara signalled reluctance to take back anyone rescued at sea.

 

sources:: ANA- MPA ,europeonline

 

 

 

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Following Athens, Schengen pressure locks on Rome

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For Rome it is has been made clear that if Schengen goes, Dublin goes

Italy’s preference on the matter is  clear, with Gentiloni saying that it is the Dublin convention that requires review, especially the clause which requires asylum-seekers coming into the EU to be processed in their country of arrival. This clause has made Italy and Greece the buffer zone for Europe, receiving all migrants heading from Asia and North Africa to Europe via Turkey and the Mediterranean.

via Following Athens, Schengen pressure locks on Rome.

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He “never feared the Cyclops”, from Vrisa of Lesvos to the top of Harvard

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From Vrisa, Lesvos to the “top” of Harvard

Three of his innovative methods do rank the 74 year old Ophtalmology Professor from Vrisa among the top 100 opthalmologists worldwide, and the Harvard Unversity in Massachussets has given his name to the specialised Chair of Studies while hunging his portrait in the auditorium of the Clinic Eye and Ear Massachusetts and while his bust graces the Harvard Campus courtyard .

Evangelos Gragoudas is recently awarded by the Champalimaud Vision Award 2014 which is considered scientifically close to a Nobel Prize on Vision and Ophtalmology research , and is a proud Lesvian abroad, who as he says, saw with the eyes of Literature and Philosophy the world when he was studying at the High school of Polychnitos, and that’s how, he says, he did it to “save the world” in his own way.

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Hailing from Vrisa, a small, picturesque village of 1,000 inhabitants in the south of Lesvos, the leading Greek scientist excels the last 46 years in America, where he teaches ophthalmology, but also … Cavafy.

The Alexandrian poet, Cavafy, has a prominent place in his office at Harvard, where there is a large photo of the lyrics from “Ithaca”:

“the Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,the angry Poseidon do not fear, such ones in your way you will never find “.

In the age of 74 years, Evangelos Gragoudas is still working feverishly, operating surgeries three times a week on complicated ophthalmological cases while training new scientists. Due to his immense love for Greece, he always greets with joy and pride young doctors from home, while the «Gragoudas Chair» of Harvard is funded with 3.5 million Dollars.

On Friday, December 4, 2015, Evangelos Gragoudas received an honorary doctorate of the Department of Medicine, by Aristoteleion University of Thessaloniki where he spoke with tears to the press for the love for his country.

“All of us who live for years abroad, and have learned to another way of progress and and evaluation, we are saddened when we realize that our homeland , our country, Greece, is moving back or stays stagnant.”

“Even now, we must change our culture, by trying to adapt the structures of the system to the new circumstances. The crisis in the economy should make us wiser, more mature and more fair. “

On the age of 15 years Evangelos Gragoudas, while still studying in the high school Polichnitos, he had read all the books of the small library of his village.

On his 20’s,being a medical student at the University of Athens Medical School, he translated with a classmate notes from foreign scientifical loterature and together they distributed to their fellow students an ophthalmology manual, which was a pleasant surprise for their professors.

In 1969 he left Greece for Boston and and soon he won a scholarship to Harvard Medical School, where he studied and afterwards taught for many years “It was like living in a dream. I always had in mind the verse of Ithaca … … …” hope the voyage to be a long one …” I really wanted to traverse distant streets literally and figuratively, I realize now ” he says.

The 74 year old professor comes 2-3 times a year in Greece, in his residence he reserves in Athens, but also in his hometown’s one in Vrisa of Lesvos.

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Visit our latest published greek2m.org Special Lesvians Page  and enjoy the beauty and the significance of Gragoudas’ hometown, Vrisa, which stands there, in Lesvos, since the early humans stepped earth, many million years before. Learn why

“I miss Greece. It is the most beautiful country in the world, because it is always sunny, surrounded by the sea, people are joyous and welcoming, has a rich history. It is a place to live, ” he says, but he thinks long enough before answering the question if you he would like to return back from the States .

“Having read quite a lot of philosophy, actually since my young age, I have overcome my fears. I know I am temporary, I know what I want, I know every moment what to do … but I have no answer still. We will see….”

 

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Visit also our Greek2m Fully Updated HomePage specially dedicated to Lesvos’ Nomination for becoming the European Culture Capital in 2021

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@MartinSchulz, @tsipras_eu on LifeCrossBorders in the #Aegean ditch

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During the scheduled visit of Alexis Tsipras and Martin Schulz to Lesvos, the reality coincidentaly appeared this time more dramatic than expected, and nude…

go to our Photo Album News udate 

visit our #Empathy@Aegean Special updated Homepage by greek2m

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A No by Greece to EU for joint patrols in Aegean, registration centers in Turkey proposes Lesbos

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“No official European documents raise the issue of joint sea patrols, but if Greece is asked,the answer will be no “–answered unofficially to the media the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias , on the scenario of joint Greek and Turkish patrols on the Aegean Sea for the EU’s external border protection,,,

go to full article by Greek to me 

Visit our special section on Greek to me Newsblog

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Refreshed, still shaken up, Alexis finds his first New Day in the middle of the Human Tsunami

downloaddscf22151dscf2214112009770_10153770494033054_6657468495254576029_n11953249_10203355687931483_4925696500142433443_nalexandreou_doSUUQr.jpg.600x600_q8511224071_10203342433080120_3825312607602006348_nDSCF2225h_51848787BC Get the Updates  of Greece’s election and the migrant crisis  on  Greek to me  Home Page and sense Greece by a glance on what ever shook it lately, but did not bend it, once again….

Alexis Tsipras, leader of SYRIZA who refreshed his people’s trust on his face, personally this time, by a smashing electoral victory on  Sunday’s 20th election, has been sworn in as prime minister on Monday afternoon, and his government is expected to be sworn in a couple of hours.

SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras party, that had been split in a dramatic way one month earlier, came this time first with 35.473%,  followed by a difference of 7,5% by the opposition party New Democracy, with 28.09%.

Soon after the announcement of the voting results, Tsipras told the media that as Independent Greeks (ANEL) party leader Panos Kammenos – his coalition partner in the former government – had publicly expressed his support, there has been a majority, therefore the way was open to form the government which he did, as soon as he was presented on Monday by the president of the republic with a mandate on Monday.

But Greece’s actual Crisis has no moment to wait, especially the Migration influx crisis, which stiflingly overloaded the biggest Aegean isle, reaching the peak of this oveload on the peak of the tourisistc season of this island on mid August till the first 10 days of  September.  On Wednesday, Alexis Tsipras will attend the emergency European Council meeting on the migrants issue where he will also represent Cyprus Republic President Nicos Anastasiades, by request of the latter, who is in the United States.

On Sunday, Tsipras will attend the United Nations conference, where he is expected to meet with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a reception for country leaders.

Tsipras’ now  Emergency political priority as he said would be the proposal of the founding of a council on European issues, modelling the national council of foreign policy, where representatives of parties may participate institutionally, provide information and table proposals.