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Greece tops at Prague World Travel Exhibition

Greece (or Recko) was the most prominent at the recent Holiday World<.> 2000 exhibition held in Prague…

Greece (or Recko) was the most prominent at the recent Holiday World<.> 2000 exhibition held in Prague. Indeed, Greece was the `honored` country at the international show. There was more space and representations of Greece than any other destination, not only by people from Greece, but by local tour operators and agencies who sell Greece as well.

And, all for the people of the Czech Republic. They flock south to the Aegean shores by charter flights (some 85%), coaches and private cars. This year some 245.000 are anticipated, according to Alexandros Mourkoyannis, director of the EOT based in Prague. This represents more than a 20% increase over 1999 when there were some 200.000.

And the Czechs explore just about everywhere from the Chalkidiki peninsula to Peloponnese, the Ionian islands (especially Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Ithaca), Santorini, Crete, Rodos, Thassos, Lemnos, Lesvos, Samos, Chios, and Loutraki, Tolo, Kavala, just about everywhere in Greece. Samplings of ouzo and various Greek wines were offered to travel trade reps at the show and the island of Chios distributed its unique mastica candy.

The EOT works with an incredible number of Czech tour operators, some 280 of them, according to Mourkoyannis. Some are based in villages, and operate one or two busloads a year.

Dafnis and Fedra Tours combined brought some 90.000 Czech tourists of Greece last year, and anticipate an appreciable increase this year. These companies are owned by Georgios Nanakos, who also owns Jorgios tours in Hungary, which is the leading tour operator from that country to Greece.

Also, among the leaders is Greece Tours, which works in cooperation with Goldair. This year, this ten year old operator expects to escort more than 20.000, up some 30% from 1999.

Average stay of Czech tourists is eleven nights, at an average cost of 150.000 drs. a package. The Czech have been noted as good spenders with high pocket expenditures while on holiday. Many take the classical tour of Greece, to explore in depth.

At Holiday World 2000 Mourkoyannis, who is EOT director for the Visagrad countries, (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary) hosted an elegant reception for over one thousand guests in the travel trade at the sumptuous Prague Castle with Greek music and costumed dancers from the island of Crete.

Although there were many visitors to Holiday World 2000, an estimated 52.000 the show was described as `suffering from a bit of stagnation` due to the Kosovo crisis and aftereffects, according to Jiri Vanis, public relations representative of Agentur Triumf, organizer of Holiday World 2000.

There were 879 exhibitors from 68 countries covering more than 10.000 square meters in the Exhibition Congress Center in Prague.

Officially represented at Holiday World 2000 were the Prefecture of Larissa, Preveza, Thesprotia, Chios and Kaval, the Rodos Hotel Associations, Crete, the Regions of Macedonia, Loutraki, North Aegean, Ionian Islands, Astir Palace Hotels, Epicurus Travel, Fragline Ferries, and the island of Thassos. Holiday World 2001 has been scheduled for February 8-11.

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