Speech by Nicholas Kelaiditis, Director at Large of the Hellenic Association of Travel and tourist Agencies
Dear ladies and gentlemen, Dear Friends
I am really glad that we have you all here, in our country, in order to see, and experience the “Greek reality”…
From the begging of the economic crisis in Greece, we faced a negative publicity for our country. The majority of the articles and images from the press and the announcements of National Governments were exaggerated, misleading and didn’t present the everyday reality.
Unfortunately, the presentation of Greece the past 2 years was negative, and had a great impact to the potential travelers.
But the daily reality of Greece is different, as you can confirm!
Myth No 1: Insecurity
I admit that when a demonstration occurs, there is a disruption in the ordinary life of the city. But, this disruption lasts for a very short period of time and affects a very limited area. It does not affect the rest of the country and, of course, holiday’s destinations.
Moreover, strikes and demonstrations take place in all democratic states, it is not a Greek phenomenon.
Myth No 2: Greece and Eurozone
Recently, we face a disruption about Greece and Eurozone through the national media.
Answering to the main concerns that are expressed , polls show that more than 80% of the Greek people are in favour of Greece remaining within the Euro zone. More importantly, the G8 Leaders placed emphasis on growth as well as fiscal discipline, whilst making a strong plea for Greece to stay in the Euro zone and the European Union, under the understanding that Greece is willing to commit to necessary structural reforms.
Moreover, Greek banks are solvent and like all Euro zone banks, have a guaranteed solvency by the European Central Bank. An infusion of 18 billion Euros, part of the PSI agreement, will reach the Greek banks this week from the European Support Fund (EFSF), further enhancing the solvency of the Greek Banking system. Holidaymakers will be able to make any kind of financial transactions as usual in Greece during the 2012 summer.
Reality No 1:
Greece is a civilized, stable, democratic, Eurozone country, Member of European Union.
Of course, our country is in a difficult situation, due to the recession. But, Greek Government and Greek people have made serious efforts in order to overcome the crisis.
As you may know, tourism is one of the key potential alternatives that our country has. Our nation is making a great effort to overcome the economic crisis.
HATTA, the Hellenic Association of Travel and tourist Agencies contributes dynamically to the development and promotion of Greek Tourism, providing through its members a variety of differentiated services that have been supporting the country’s developmental efforts while upgrading the quality of the tourist services offered.
HATTA represents Greece in the respective international and EU institutions of the tourism sector.
Within the framework of our cooperation, HATTA with the cooperation of our colleagues worldwide (the national Associations of Travel Agencies and tour operators), informed the tourist market; travel agencies and tour operators, holidaymakers, travelers, media, etc, about the real situation in Greece and why this is the best time to visit Greece for holidays.
We had plenty of replying messages from European and other Associations. Their feedback was extremely encouraging. They inform and assure their clients about the reality of Greece. Furthermore plenty of national associations take initiatives in order to promote and support Greek Tourism through interviews, advertisements and special campaigns.
We will continue our efforts…
All Greek Tourism entities are working on common framework. All together and every one individually, take initiatives in order to promote and develop Greek tourism.
Now, more than ever Greece needs the support and solidarity of European Governments, European citizens, in order to decrease the consequences of the financial crisis to the national economy.
We need your support and your positive feedback to the citizens of your countries, about the reality in Greece.
We believe that now, that all the lights are in Greece, is the best time to persuade potential travelers that Greece is an extremely safe country, which every traveler can visit, individually or as part of a group and experience its extraordinary and magnificent beauty.
We kindly ask you to inform them about all that.
Reality No2: This is the best time to visit Greece
Travel agencies, hotels and all the tourist enterprises in Greece offer great quality and warm full hospitality and Greece is more than ready to welcome every traveler. In fact, all the Greek tourist enterprises are offering very favorable rates during this time enabling guests to experience a great holiday for reduced prices with extra benefits.
Greece provides a huge variety of holidays and activities and quality and stress -free experience holidays for all.
- Greece is a true paradise for cultural tourism, a large journey into history and art. Educational excursions, theatrical productions, festivals, pilgrimages, visits to archaeological sites, monuments and museums, excursions to study the natural environment, folk art and culture – these are just a few of the many things that Greece has to offer in the cultural tourism sector.
- Greece is endowed with a particularly rich and diversified natural environment, with singular geomorphology, intense contrasts and many regions with great economical value. The country’s abundant natural “gifts” -thousands of lace-like (indented) coasts, imposing mountains, caves and gorges, lakes, rivers, biotopes of rare beauty and unique ecosystems, volcanoes, wineries, coupled with the mild climate- rank it among the ideal destinations for ecotourism and alternative forms of tourism.
- Greeks and foreign visitors are stunned by Greece’s majestic churches of the Byzantine era, countless rural churches, sacred places of pilgrimage and religious sites, all of which inspire awe. Whether they are here for religious purposes or purely for pleasure, visitors to mainland Greece and its islands are amazed by the countless number of sites of religious devotion and major references to the divine.
Visitors have the chance to see buildings and religious sites related to various dogmas and religions, which all co-exist in a state of ongoing dialogue and thus highlight the rare historic and cultural mosaic of Greece.
All through the year, Greece plays host to religious festivals with customs and traditions that have become deeply rooted over the centuries. These festivals, some local, some celebrated all over Greece, offer a chance for merrymaking and an escape from the dull monotony of everyday life. Fortunate indeed is the visitor who ends up as a spectator at such popular religious events
– The wealth and diversity of the Greek seas, the endless kilometers of the Greek coast and the thousands of Greek islands, the protected sea areas covering thousands of square kilometers, the mild climate, the high percentage of sunshine and its interesting and varying landscape make Greece the ideal destination for the development of sea tourism activities.
This advantage is strengthened both by thousands of years of marine tradition and by conditions favorable for sea travelling: the Greek seas are considered safe, distances between coasts are small, while conditions related to wind strength, ambient and sea temperatures are equally favorable.
Cruise ships under Greek flag organizing short or longer cruises to Greek ports and ports of other countries of the Eastern Mediterranean.
– I think that I don’t have to mention the marvelous beaches with the crystal clear waters, all over Greece, the high quality of Greek cuisine, the new world trend and the famous Greek hospitality!
All the tourist destinations and islands of Greece, are ready to welcome travelers!
Greece can provide you everything you dreamed of…
And this is the best time to visit Greece…
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.