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Greece's latest tourism industry news by Greek Travel Pages (gtp)

2018 Year in Review: Greek Tourism Major News Stories

What a year 2018 has been for Greek tourism! 2018 is said to have turned out as the best year for Greece’s tourism industry, which has experienced a steady growth in the past years. Join us while we take a look at some highlights from the Greek tourism 2018 news agenda of GTP Headlines.

Industry in Review

Over 2,500 Greek Tourism SMEs to Receive Funding

A total of 411.5 million euros will be allocated to 2,527 small and medium-sized tourism enterprises in Greece, the Greek Economy and Development Ministry announced.

Five Greek Islands Get New Extension for Lower VAT

The five islands that have received the main burden of refugee flows in Greece will continue to receive a 30 percent discount on VAT rates.

UN Supports Greek Resolution on Return of Cultural Property to Countries of Origin

The UN has adopted a resolution, brought in by Greece, for the “return or restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin”.

‘Search Robots’ to Track Down Undeclared Airbnb Revenue in Greece

AADE has decided to use online "search robots" to track down taxpayers, who have failed to join the e-registry for short-term rentals.

Destination Management Essential for Greek Tourism, Says SETE

Destination management is essential for the future of Greece's tourism sector, according to the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE).

Greek 11-month Airport Traffic Up by 10.1%, Flights by 9.9%

Greece’s airports recorded a “historic high” in passenger traffic during January-November 2018, according to the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA).

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Commission Approves Extension of Athens Airport Concession Deal

A bid by Athens International Airport SA for the 20-year extension of its concession agreement has been approved by the European Commission.

Greece on Path to Develop Thermal Tourism

Great prospects have opened for Greece in the field of thermal tourism, according to European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) President Giuseppe Bellandi.

Declared Home-sharing Revenue Boosts Greek State Coffers by 160%

Greek State revenue has increased by a massive 160 percent, driven by declared home-sharing income, according to the Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE).

Athens Airport Among EU’s Leading 25

Athens International Airport (AIA) is among the leading 25 airports in Europe in terms of passenger traffic, according to data released by Eurostat.

Athens Hoteliers: Guest Satisfaction Among Top Priorities

The high satisfaction of guests in Athens is among the top priorities of the new Board of Directors of the Athens – Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association.

Greek MPs Pass Thematic/Special Interest Tourism Bill by Majority Vote

Greece has passed a bill covering thematic and special interest tourism, the upgrade of tourism training and the strengthening of entrepreneurship.

Revision to Greek Casino Law Paves Way for Hellinikon Project, Minister Says

An amendment to a law on the licensing terms for casino operations in Greece is expected to set the Hellinikon development project into action.

Corfu Island Crowned Best European Film Location of 2018

The Greek island of Corfu was chosen from among 12 European destinations and won the 2018 European Film Location Award, a competition launched by the EUFCN.

Ministers Present Greece’s New Shipping E-registry

The ministries of economy and shipping presented the new e-registry for Greek-flagged private and professional leisure boats and professional boats under foreign flags.

Greece Becomes PATA Member, Gains More Access in Asian Market

Greece has joined PATA as a European country member, gaining the opportunity to claim its market share from the different markets of the Pacific Asia region.

Greece Gaining Ground as Education Destination for US Students

Greece ranks high as an education destination for US students, with 4,351 visiting the country in the 2016-17 academic year, which is a 21.1 percent increase.

Greek Tourism Numbers Add Up to a Robust 2018 Close

As 2018 comes to a close, the Greek Tourism Ministry issued an update on figures, which back positive forecasts for a record year in tourism.

‘Greece-Russia Year of Tourism’ Ends with Big Music, Dance Event in Athens

The Greece-Russia Year of Tourism 2017-2018 initiative wrapped up with a big music and dance event held at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron).

Airlines to Provide Greek Police with Passenger Data as Greece Harmonizes with EU Rules

Airlines will be required to provide the Greek Police with data on passengers traveling into or out of Greece, as the country harmonizes with the EU’s PNR Directive.

Athens Joins Cities Alliance to Address Sharing Economy Impact

Athens Mayor Georgios Kaminis has signed a declaration with mayors from all over the world, which aims to address the impact of sharing economy practices on the economy and citizens’ rights.

Kalamata Airport Next in Line for Upgrade, Tender to be Announced

Kalamata Airport in Greece is next in line for an upgrade with the government to issue a call for a tender in the immediate future.

CIFFT: Greece Tourism Film Tops Public Vote as ‘World’s Best’ for 2018

Over 7,000 votes from the public named the “Greece – A 365-day Destination” video as the winner of the CIFFT "People's Choice" Award World's Best Tourism Film 2018.

ASTA: Greek Tourism Ministry Most Supportive in the World

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has lauded Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura for her support in promoting tourism and fostering ties between Greece and the US.

Thessaloniki to Welcome School for Tourist Guides in 2019

A school for tourist guides will open next year in the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece, according to the Greek Tourism Ministry.

Greece Shares Best Tourism Practices at WTM London 2018

Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura, during WTM London 2018, shared Greece's best practices and actions implemented to overcome challenges and achieve tourism growth.

Athens Named European Capital of Innovation 2018

Athens has been named European Capital of Innovation 2018, a title awarded to the city that is best able to improve the lives of its citizens through innovation.

Ancient Theaters of Epirus: A Doorway to the Full Travel Experience

The Epirus Region launched over the weekend its new tourism product and branding concept - the Ancient Theaters of Epirus cultural route.

Tziallas Elected Vice Chair of OECD Tourism Committee

Greek General Secretary for Tourism Policy and Development George Tziallas was elected Vice Chairman of the OECD Tourism Committee for 2019.

Apollo Trails: New Footpath Network Launched in Messinia

A new network of footpaths named "Apollo Trails" has been launched in the Ambeliona region of Messinia in the Peloponnese.

Greece’s Alexandros Vassilikos Elected to HOTREC Executive Committee

HOTREC, the European umbrella association of hotels, restaurants and cafés, has elected Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos as an ExCom Member.

World’s Oldest Intact Shipwreck Ever Discovered May be Greek

A 23-meter ship that appears to have rested at the bottom of the Black Sea undisturbed for over 2,400 years, is believed to be Greek.

Greece Remains in Visa Waiver Program of United States

United States authorities have notified the Greek Citizen Protection Ministry that Greece remains in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) of the US.

Shipping Minister: Corfu-Othoni Islands Ferry Link Set for 2019

Greek Shipping Minister Fotis Kouvelis announced that a ferry route linking the Ionian island of Corfu with the Othoni islands would launch at the start of 2019.

#someTHINKdifferent: SETE’s Revamped Tourism Conference Gets Big Round of Applause

The annual conference of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) this year sported a new look and concept that included a number of interesting keynote speeches and fireside chats focusing on destination management and digital skills.

UNWTO Looking to Help Greece Attract More Tourism Investments

Greece and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have decided to join forces and attract more tourism investments to the country.

Visit Greece Website to ‘Speak’ 10 Languages

Visit Greece, the official tourism website for Greece, run by the GNTO, is undergoing a revamp and will be available in 10 languages.

Athens – Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association Elects First Female President

Labrini Karanasiou-Zoulovits has been elected president of the Athens – Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association.

AEGEAN: 5th Best Airline in the World for 2018

Greek carrier AEGEAN is the fifth best airline in the world for 2018, according to the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler (CNT).

UNWTO Says Greece a Showcase for its Tourism Success

UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili referred to Greece's tourism strategy as an example for other countries to follow.

Circular Foresees Weight Limits for Santorini Donkey Rides

In efforts to protect Santorini's donkeys, the ministry issued a directive prohibiting the transport of "heavy" tourists up the island's steep inclines.

Greece Earned €35 Billion from Travel and Tourism in 2017, Says WTTC

Travel and tourism in 2017 contributed a total of 19.7% to Greece's GDP and amounted to 35 billion euros generated in the Greek economy, according to WTTC data.

Greece Lifts Cash Withdrawal Restrictions

Bank account holders in Greece are now free to withdraw any amount of cash from ATM machines and banks, following a Finance Ministry announcement.

Greece Salutes World Tourism Day 2018

On the occasion of World Tourism Day 2018, key figures in Greek tourism underline the importance of tourism and the digital transformation.

INSETE Handbook to Aid Greek Tourism Enterprises in Waste Management

SETE's research department INSETE has released a handbook on "Recycling and Solid Waste Management” for tourism enterprises.

Greece’s Labor Contract for Hotel Workers Extended

Labor Minister Efi Achtsioglou has signed the relevant ministerial decision for the extension of Greece's hotel sector collective labor contract.

Q&A on Short-term Leasing in Greece

Questions and Answers (Q&A) for property owners interested in leasing their homes for short-term accommodation purposes via online sharing platforms, such as Airbnb.

Russian Tycoon Ready to Put Private Isle Skorpios to ‘Good Use’

Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev is ready to set a 185-billion-euro VIP tourism project into motion on the Greek islet of Skorpios.

Turkey’s High Court Rejects Plea to Turn Hagia Sophia into Mosque

Turkey’s High Court has ruled that the former Greek Orthodox church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul cannot be used as a mosque and will remain a museum.

OSE Presents ‘New Era’ for Greek Railways

The Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) recently announced a number of improvements and new planned services at railway stops in Greece.

Greek Bill for Waterways Tabled in Parliament

A bill that includes the provisions for the establishment and operation of waterways in Greece was tabled in parliament by the Greek Transport Ministry.

Acropolis Museum in TripAdvisor’s Worldwide Top 10

The Acropolis Museum in Athens, is among the top in the world, ranking sixth on the Top 10 list of TripAdvisor’s 2018 Travelers’ Choice Awards for Museums.

Collective Labor Agreement for Travel, Tourism Agencies in Greece Extended

The collective labor agreement for workers of travel and tourism agencies in Greece has been extended.

Greece’s Online Registry for Short-term Rentals Goes Live

The electronic registry for property owners leasing their homes for short-term accommodation via online sharing platforms, is now operational on www.aade.gr.

Greek Banks Charge Foreign Card Users Extra Fee at ATMs

Greeks and foreigners using credit or debit cards issued abroad to withdraw cash from most Greek bank ATM machines, will be charged an extra 2-3 euros.

American Airlines to Connect Athens with Chicago in 2019

American Airlines announced that it will launch a daily seasonal service to Athens in Greece from Chicago in the US for the 2019 summer season.

Paggaio Declared European City of Sport 2019

The municipality of Paggaio, near Kavala in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, has been announced as the European City of Sport for 2019 by ACES Europe.

Greece Exits Bailout Era Amid Uncertainty, Betting on Regaining Trust

August 20 marks Greece’s exit from a nearly eight-year-long aid program.

New Ministry Seal to Certify Greek Enotourism Enterprises

Wineries open for visitation across Greece will be awarded a special seal indicating that they abide by the standards for the operation of wine tourism enterprises.

Greek Revenue Body Launches ‘Apodixi Please’ Campaign to Nab Tax Evaders

The "Apodixi Please' campaign is urging tourists in Greece to ask for a receipt with their transactions.

Grand Hyatt Athens Opens in Greek Capital

The Grand Hyatt Athens, the first Hyatt hotel in the Greek capital and the first Grand Hyatt branded hotel in Greece, has opened its doors.

First Burger King Restaurant Opens in Greece

SSP and Fraport Greece have opened the first fast-food Burger King restaurant in Greece at the “Diagoras” Airport on the island of Rhodes.

Greece Aims to Establish Amphipolis as Archaeological Tourism Destination

The Culture Ministry has secured 276,000 euros in funding for works on the Amphipolis site to include the construction of a walking routes network. 

Greek Tourism Ministry Approves Revised Rating Scheme for Rooms to Let

The Greek Tourism Ministry has approved a revised rating scheme for rooms to let, laying out the terms for classification.

UNWTO Encourages Travelers to Visit Greece

Aiming to support Greece following the devastating wildfires in the Attica region, the UNWTO is encouraging travelers to visit the country.

Greece Wildfires Leave Dozens Dead and Missing

Wildfires ravaged the Northeastern Attica coastline in Greece on Monday, July 23, leaving over 70 people dead, hundreds injured and dozens missing.

Greece Launches Online Ticket Service for Admission to Museums, Sites

Visitors of certain archaeological sites, monuments and museums in Athens, Crete and the Peloponnese can now buy tickets online.

CLIA: Greece 3rd Most Popular Cruise Destination in Europe

Greece is the third most popular cruise destination in Europe with 4.09 million passenger visits in 2017, according to a report released by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Greece’s Public Revenue Body Issues Traveler Rights Guide

Duty free sales, VAT exemption and cash limits are some of the issues covered in a newly released guide by Greece’s Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE), for travelers visiting the country.

Greek OTA Tripsta/airtickets Temporarily Suspends Operations

Greek online travel agent Tripsta/airtickets is temporarily suspending the issuance of airline tickets due to "a massive liquidity problem".

Greek Mayor Invites Superstar Beyoncé to Milos

The Mayor of Milos has invited US singer Beyoncé to visit the island, following the release of her new video that features the Greek marble sculpture of Venus de Milo.

Europa Nostra 2018: Greek Church Wins Grand Prix Prize for Cultural Heritage

Greece’s Byzantine Church of Hagia Kyriaki on Naxos received a 10,000 euros award and was declared a Grand Prix laureate at the Europa Nostra Awards 2018.

Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens Aims for March 2019

The fully renovated and extended Astir Palace in Vouliagmeni, is set to open for business in March 2019, with the seal of approval of the Four Seasons hotel brand.

Greek Tourism Developments on SETE Brussels Agenda

Ways to attract higher quality visitors and bring in investments topped the agenda of talks between the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) and EU officials.

Commission to Back 32 Greece Reform Projects with €20m

A total of 32 projects in Greece have been selected to receive EU funding, following a decision recently adopted by the European Commission.

Greek Taxi Drivers React Again Over Liberalization Law

Greek taxi drivers are reacting to a Transport Ministry decision to amend an omnibus bill that paves the way for the further liberalization of the profession.

Greek PM Agrees to Name for FYROM: Republic of North Macedonia

After 27 years of debate between Greece and FYROM on the Macedonia "name issue", Greek Prime Miniter Alexis Tsipras has reached an agreement with the country.

Attica Group Acquires Full Control of Hellenic Seaways

Attica Holdings (Attica Group) now owns the majority stake in Greek ferry operator Hellenic Seaways, following an agreement with Minoan Lines.

Greek Trade Body Launches Traveler Rights App for Protection

A new application aimed at protecting travelers visiting Greece and informing them of their rights, was launched by the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE).

SETE Lists 12 Steps Needed for Greek Tourism to Further Develop

Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) President Yiannis Retsos listed 12 specific steps Greece's development program for tourism should include.

Ministry: Program for Greek Tourism Businesses to Operate All Year Round

The Greek Tourism Ministry is planning to launch a program entitled "Tourism Businesses Open 365 Days a Year", in efforts to promote Greece as a year-round destination.

2018 will be Best Year in History of Greek Tourism, Says PM Tsipras

Expecting Greece to welcome some 32 million foreign visitors this year, PM Alexis Tsipras said 2018 will be "the best year in the history of Greek tourism".

New Democracy Promises to Slash Taxes in Greek Tourism Sector

New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has promised to reduce taxes in the Greek tourism sector, once his party comes to power.

Greece Presents Ambitious Post-bailout Tourism Plan

A development plan drawn up by the Greek government, concerning the next steps for when Greece exits its bailout program, includes tourism among top priorities.

Int’l Driving Permit a Must for Vehicle Rental in Greece

Non-EU travelers will be required to hold an International Driving Permit together with a valid national driver's license if they wish to rent vehicles in Greece.

AHEPA to Hold 2021 Convention in Greece

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) will hold its 2021 Family Supreme Convention in Greece, in efforts to promote the country as a tourism destination.

Greek Tourism Begins Digital Transition Journey

The Tourism Ministry and the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) are embarking on a digital transition to better meet tourists' needs.

Greece Once Again Second in the World with Most Blue Flag Beaches

Greece once again ranked second in the world on the Blue Flag quality award list for beaches, according to the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature.

Germany Lifts Stricter Airport Checks on Outbound Flyers from Greece

The German interior ministry has called off stricter airport security checks for passengers traveling on outbound flights from Greece, which were implemented in 2017.

Uber to Suspend ‘uberX’ Service in Athens

Uber has announced that it will suspend its "uberX" service in Athens, Greece, due to the passing of a new law that effects ridesharing services.

Wyndham Opens First ‘Dolce Hotels’ International Franchise in Greece

Wyndham Hotel Group has debuted its "Dolce Hotels and Resorts" brand in Greece, with the opening of the Dolce Attica Riviera in Vravrona, East Attica.

‘Stayover Tax’ Charged to Short-day Hotel Stays in Greece

The "stayover tax" in Greece will also be charged to short-day hotel stays and overnights at Airbnb-style rentals that offer additional hospitality services.

Greece Clarifies When Airbnb-type Rentals are Subject to VAT

Greece’s Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE) has issued a circular that clarifies which properties rented for the short-term are subject to VAT.

Kountoura Expects Over 30 Million Tourists in Greece in 2018

Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura expects the number of international tourist arrivals to Greece in 2018 to surpass last year's record.

New KTEL Bus Depot Planned for Eleonas in Athens

Greek transportation authorities are looking into ways to move ahead with the construction of an intercity bus (KTEL) depot at the Eleonas neighborhood in Athens.

Greece Sets Legal Framework for Thalassotherapy Centers

The technical and operational specifications for the development of thalassotherapy centers in Greece have been announced.

Greek Parliament Passes ‘Stayover Tax’ Amendment

Greek Parliament has passed an amendment to the law of the "stayover tax", which is charged to guests at hotels in Greece.

Athens Gears Up to Become World Book Capital City 2018

From April 23 and for a year, Athens will be known as the World Book Capital 2018 and celebrate with a series of book-related events across town.

Santorini Cruise Ship Controls Kick Off

In efforts to decongest the world-famed caldera, Santorini's local authorities announced the launch of a new berthing management system for incoming cruise ships.

New US Travel Advisory Says Greece Safe Destination

Greece is among the world’s safest destinations, according to a new travel advisory system assessing security conditions for American holidaymakers, announced by the US State Department.