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2017 Year in Review: Greek Tourism Major News Stories

2017 was not only a year of record arrivals for Greek tourism. This year, new laws, new investments, new airline routes and new hotel chains entering the Greek market dominated a great part of the tourism news agenda. Following is a collection that includes the most-read and most important GTP Headline stories of the year.

Industry in Review

Greece’s New ‘Stayover Tax’ to Be Charged to Hotel Guests

The new stayover tax, which will be imposed on Greek hotels as of January 1, 2018, will be charged to guests and will not be subject to VAT.

Greek Tourism Sector to Shoulder Tax Burden in 2018

Greece’s tourism sector is set to bear the brunt of the country’s economic recovery according to the economy ministry’s latest set of measures set to take effect in 2018.

Hellinikon Project Gets Green Light from Greek Gov’t

The Presidential Decree that paves the way for the development of the multi-million-euro Hellinikon project was signed in Athens.

Aegean Introduces New Distribution Channel Fee to Travel Agents

Aegean Airlines has informed travel agents that a Distribution Channel Fee (DCF) will be imposed on tickets booked through certain GDS systems.

Sustainable Tourism: UNWTO Announces Roadmap Towards 2030

The UNWTO has announced a roadmap for advancing the contribution of tourism towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Thessaloniki Port 67% Sale Agreement Signed

Greek assets fund TAIPED signed an agreement for the sale of a 67% stake of the Thessaloniki Port Authority to SEGT Limited for 231,926 million euros.

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Lampsa Completes Hotel Investments in Athens Center

Lampsa Hellenic Hotels SA has completed its investment projects in the center of Athens, marking its long-lasting presence in the tourism sector.

Schengen Zone Airport Checks Legal, Biometric IDs a Requirement

European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos recently stated that Schengen zone checks were both legal and carried out in most countries regularly.

UNESCO Names Greece’s Rebetiko Song Heritage of Humanity

The rebetiko music genre - known as the Greek blues - has been included on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.

SETE: First Signs for 2018 Greek Tourism Season are Positive

The first signs for the 2018 tourism season in Greece are positive, according to the president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Yiannis Retsos.

Greece to Welcome More ‘Wyndham’ Hotels in 2018

Hospitality giant Wyndham Hotel Group announced that it will continue to expand its presence in Greece in 2018 in collaboration with Zeus International.

Greece’s ‘Boutique Hotel’ Certification Officially Available via Online Platform

The “boutique hotels” certification platform of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels will officially launch on December 11.

Alexandros Vassilikos Appointed New President of Hellenic Chamber of Hotels

Alexandros Vassilikos, CEO of AIROTEL Group of Hotels, has been appointed as the new president of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels.

Greece Moves Ahead with Rules for Airbnb-type Rentals

The rules property owners in Greece need to follow in order to legally rent out their homes or apartments for the short-term were officially made public.

‘Atalanti Hills’ Tourism Project Goes to Greece’s Council of State

A draft Presidential Decree, concerning the 1.5-billion-euro tourism investment of Atalanti Hills, has been submitted to the Council of State for approval.

Greece, India Ink Air Services Deal

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Indian counterpart signed an air services agreement for the launch of direct flights between the two countries.

SETKE Introduces Lodging Brands ‘Elite’ and ‘Smotel’

The Greek Confederation of Tourist Accommodation Enterprises (SETKE) recently announced the launch of brands for lodgings in Greece.

Crete’s Kastelli Airport Works to Kick Off in 2018

Works on the Kastelli airport project on Crete are said to begin next spring after the finalization of the 480-million-euro deal and its parliamentary approval expected in early 2018.

Tourism, Fiber Optics Projects for Skorpios Islet OKed by Greek Gov’t

Dozens of luxury villas and restaurants as well as a fiber optics network will be constructed on the Ionian islet of Skorpios.

Patra, Western Greece, Named ‘European Destination of Excellence’

Patra, located in the Region of Western Greece, has been honored with the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) 2016/2017 accolade.

European Council Amends Schengen Area Entry/Exit System

The European Council has adopted a regulation amending the Schengen border code in relation to the entry-exit system.

Athens Sees Rise in Demand, Drop in Guest Satisfaction

Despite a rise in demand for Athens as a destination, the Greek capital saw a drop in its customer satisfaction scores, according to a GBR Consulting study.

Thousands Hit the Streets for 35th ‘Athens Marathon. The Authentic’ – Photo Report

More than 51,000 professional and amateur runners enjoyed perfect weather conditions in the 35th “Athens Marathon. The Authentic” on November 12.

Grigoris Tasios Elected President of Hellenic Hoteliers Federation

Grigoris Tasios was elected as the president of the Hellenic Hoteliers Federation (POX) on Thursday, November 9.

Qatar Airways to Link Doha with Thessaloniki in March 2018

Qatar Airways will launch four weekly flights connecting Doha to the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki as of March 27, 2018.

Greece to Host Major Int’l Tourism Events in 2018

Greece is getting ready to host two major international tourism events in 2018, Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura announced during the WTM London 2017.

UNWTO: International Tourism on Track for a Record Year

Destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million tourist arrivals during the first eight months of 2017, some 56 million more than in the same period of 2016.

Dolphin Capital Inks Deal with Kerzner for Kea Island Luxury Tourism Project

Dolphin Capital has entered into an agreement with Kerzner for the development of a luxury tourism project on Kea in Greece.

Thomas Cook Boosts Greece Presence with New Hotels

It’s a busy year ahead for British travel company Thomas Cook with ambitious plans to expand its presence in Greece with four new hotels.

Turkey Lifts Greece-bound Boat Ban

A ban on all Greece-bound Turkish-flagged boats was lifted, following a meeting between Greek Shipping Minister Panagiotis Kouroublis and Turkish Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan.

TUI Invests in Greece: 10 New Hotels and More Cruise Ship Visits

Travel giant TUI plans to expand its presence in Greece by opening 10 new upscale hotels and adding more visits from its cruise ships to Greek ports.

Air Mediterranean Announces Seven New Routes from Athens

Air Mediterranean is launching new scheduled direct routes between Athens and seven destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Air China’s Athens-Beijing Direct Flights Take Off

Air China's much-awaited first direct flight between Athens and Beijing landed at Athens International Airport (AIA) on Saturday, September 30, carrying over 200 passengers.

TripAdvisor: Acropolis Museum Among Best in the World for 2017

The Acropolis Museum in Athens is among the top in the world, ranking 8th on the list of the 2017 Travelers' Choice Awards for Museums by TripAdvisor.

Ministry Presents Pilot Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) for Greece

The Tourism Ministry introduced a pilot Tourism Satellite Account that aims to achieve a complete picture of Greece’s arrivals and revenue from tourists.

Greece Wins UNWTO ‘Best Video in Europe’ Award

Greece scooped the "Best Video in Europe" award at the UNWTO Tourism Video Competition 2017 with its “Greece – A 365-day Destination” production.

Greece Elected to UNWTO Executive Council

Greece has joined the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the 2018 – 2021 four-year term.

Astir Palace to Become Greece’s First ‘Four Seasons’ Hotel

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Astir Palace Vouliagmeni S.A. have announced plans to bring the first Four Seasons hotel to Greece on the Astir Palace peninsula.

UNWTO Barometer Says 2017 Positive Year for Greek Tourism

Greece ranks 2nd in terms of per capita travel surplus and 5th for per capita international tourist receipts, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

Hollywood Stars, VIPs Love Greece, its Islands and Sun 

Everyone from A-rated Hollywood actors and popular athletes to fun-loving fashionistas and sexy models are taking in a bit of sea and sun in Greece.

Earthquake Hits Kos in Greece, Island’s Port Closed

The Greek island of Kos in the Dodecanese was hit by an earthquake measuring 6.4 magnitude in the early hours of Friday, July 21.

Greek Hospitality Sector Welcomes New Hotels

The hospitality sector in Greece this year is welcoming the opening of new hotels in Athens and in different parts of the country.

‘documenta 14’ in Athens Attracts 300,000 Art Lovers

Athens' section of the "documenta 14” art show attracted some 300,000 visitors during the last three months and will close its doors on July 16.

Marriott’s First ‘Moxy Hotel’ in Greece to Open in Patra

NBG Pangaea Real Estate Investment Company has signed a franchise agreement with Marriott International to open Greece's debut Moxy hotel.

Roaming Charges End Across EU on June 15: Frequently Asked Questions

Mobile roaming charges in the European Union will be lifted from June 15 and travelers will be able to "roam like at home" in all 28 countries of the EU.

Greek Tourism Legislation Now Codified, Soon Available Online

All laws and rules involving the Greek tourism sector, dating back to over 100 years, have been brought together and codified.

Athens Riviera Set for Massive Growth

The Region of Attica signed a 150 million euro agreement with construction firm Aktor for the redevelopment of the Faliro Delta.

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels Launches New Classification System

The Hellenic Chamber of Hotels announced a new classification procedure for accommodation in Greece and invites professionals to apply for certification.

Yiannis Retsos Elected New President of Greek Tourism Body SETE

The Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) has elected Yiannis Retsos as its new president. Retsos, who previously served as first vice president, succeeds Andreas Andreadis.

Greece Ranks 2nd in World for 2017 Blue Flag Beaches

Greece ranked second place in the world, among 47 countries, on the 2017 Blue Flag quality award list for beaches and marinas.

WEF: Greece Jumps 7 Places in Global Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Rankings

Greece made an impressive climb of seven places in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017.

‘Spatosimo’ Air Passenger Fee Now €12 for All Greek Airports

An amendment tabled in Parliament brings changes to a fee, known as the 'spatosimo', imposed on airline tickets of passengers travelling from Greek airports.

Greece to Receive €1.3b from EU for Infrastructure Projects

Over 1.3 billion euros of Cohesion Policy funds will be invested in a series of projects in Greece, according to the European Commission.

US President Donald Trump: ‘I love the Greeks’ – Video

US President Donald Trump proclaimed March 25 as Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy.

Fraport Shows Revamp Plans for the 14 ‘Gateways of Greek Tourism’

Fraport Greece has released plans on the development works for the upgrade of the facilities of the 14 Greek regional airports it will soon manage.

Greek Girl Power @ ITB Berlin on Int’l Women’s Day

Greek female tourism professionals - owners of accommodation enterprises, family-run businesses, restaurants, tavernas, shops and stores, as well as government officials - made their presence felt at this year’s ITB Berlin held earlier this month, demonstrating in full force that...

Emirates First Direct Flight from Athens to New York Takes Off

Emirates' much-awaited first direct flight to New York from Athens took off from Athens International Airport on Sunday, March 12.

Scoot Picks Athens as its First European Destination

Scoot, a subsidiary of the Singapore Airlines Group, will expand into Europe from June 20 with four flights a week between Singapore and Athens.

Mayors of Athens, Lesvos Shine on World 2016 Top 10 List

Giorgos Kaminis (Athens) and Spiros Galinos (Lesvos) are among the 10 most outstanding mayors in the world, according to the World Mayor 2016 competition.

Athens Ranks Among Top 5 Best European Destinations for 2017

Athens is fourth Best European Destination for 2017, according to the results of an online competition by the European Best Destinations (EBD) organization.

University Study Reveals Refugee Crisis Repercussions on Greek Island Tourism

The ongoing influx of refugees seeking access to Europe through the Eastern Aegean islands is impacting tourism growth, according to a new study.

Athens Art Scene Gets it on NYT’s 2017 Places to Go List

The New York Times has included Athens in its "52 Places to Go in 2017" list, adding that "the Greek debt crisis has not dampened Athens’ thriving arts scene" and backed by a photo of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC).