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09 Nov

Christmas is one of the major Christian celebrations and in Corfu, Greece, it is still strongly connected with the
Greek Orthodox tradition. For Greeks, who in their majority are Orthodox, Christmas is second only to Easter in religious importance. The name 'Christmas'declares exactly the purpose of the celebration, which is the birth of Christ. Christmas in Greece, like many other countries, is celebrated on the 25th of December. During the early Christian years, Christmas was celebrated on the day of Epiphany, but in the 4th century, the 25th of December was settled as Christmas Day because it was connected with the 25th of March, when Greeks celebrate the Holy Conception Of Christ (Evangelismos). On Christmas Eve, children travel from house to house offering good wishes and singing Kalanda, Greek Christmas carols. Often their songs are accompanied by small, metal triangles and little clay drums.
Christmas gifts are exchanged on St. Basil's Day (January the 1st). St. Basil is the Greek version of Father Christmas and some families leave a log in their fireplace for him to step on as he slips down the chimney with a bag of toys.

The 25th and the 26th of December are Bank Holidays and Greeks usually attend Holy Mass on the morning of the 25th of December, and then gather together with friends and family to eat and celebrate the birth of Christ. They fast for 40 days before Christmas because they believe that they should celebrate this Holy Day with clean body and soul.
After 40 days of fasting, the Christmas feast is looked forward to with great an ticipation by both adults and children alike. The Christmas table is rich and, in every part of Greece, local dishes special to the particular day of celebration are added. Usually on the Christmas table there is meat (roast pork or stuffed or boiled turkey) and loaves of the famous Christopsomo (Christ's Bread). It is made in large, sweet loaves in various shapes, and the crusts are engraved and frosted with symbols that in some way reflect he family's profession. It is served with dried figs, nuts and honey. In many places the housewives prepare various pies and of course they treat their guests to Kourabiedes (almond cookies) and Melomakarona (honey glazed cookies), the Greek traditional sweets for Christmas.
The decoration of the Christmas tree is not originally Greek. It was introduced by the Bavarian King Otto, around 1830. Of course, today, like in most European Christmas traditions, the Christ balls, stars, angels, fairy lights and other mas tree is decorated with colourful ornaments. It is placed in the sitting area of the house and underneath it, St. Basil is supposed to leave the presents for the children on New Year's Eve. The typical Greek wish for Christmas is Chronic Polla and many presents are also exchanged on the 25th of December. The custom of Christmas cards is also very popular and Greeks decorate their sitting rooms with them, and also put them underneath the Christmas tree.
Christmas gifts are exchanged on St. Basil's Day (January the 1st). St. Basil is the Greek version of Father
Christmas and some families leave a log in their fireplace for him to step on as he slips down the chimney with a bag of toys. The 25th and the 26th of December are Bank Holidays and Greeks usually attend Holy Mass on the morning of the 25th of December, and then gather together with friends and family to eat and celebrate the birth of Christ.
They fast for 40 days before Christmas because they believe that they should celebrate this Holy Day with clean body and soul. Christmas in Corfu is a fantastic experience and if you are lucky to be a guest in a Greek home, you will be treated like a real guest of honour, since the message of Christmas for the Greeks is love, peace and hospitality. 

corfutoday.com

02 Nov

How to Build a Dream Content Team will be a key tech topic discussed at WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, with a stellar line-up of speakers, organised by digital tourism marketing experts Digital Tourism Think Tank (#DTTT).

In the last 18 months, many of the leading destinations and travel players have quickly adapted their approach to prioritise strong content marketing as the central component to gain traction online and engage effectively with potential visitors.

WTM London and Digital Tourism Think Tank will explore this trend further and look specifically at how to build a Content Dream Team on Tuesday 7 November on the WTM Global Stage.

Nick Hall, founder of the Digital Tourism Think Tank and overall destination marketing expert, will moderate the session and look to understand how teams are reinventing themselves to be more content ready and how they’re pulling together creative talent, putting an emphasis on editorial workflow to be able to engage wherever and whenever it’s relevant to do so.

Hall explained: “We’ll look at what skills are needed, how long it’s likely to take, what should and shouldn’t be considered in this journey and how a great content team should function on a day to day basis.”

Joining Hall on this content masterclass will be Mark Henry, Central Marketing Director for Tourism Ireland, telling their Game of Thrones story and how they’ve incorporated it into their tourism marketing campaign.

Other speakers include Ross Borden, Founder of Matador Network will share his knowledge on building a global creator network;Robert Wells, Marketing Manager for Evaneos will talk about communicating authentically local stories; Bart van Poll, Co-Founder ofSpotted by Locals will discuss how they work with local ambassadors and Simon Lewis from Travel Concept Solutions will share his news from a recently successful campaign.

WTM Portfolio Conference and Seminar Manager, Charlotte Sutton said: “The Digital Tourism Think Tank sessions at WTM have always been an extremely popular choice for delegates, with the hottest trends and leading speakers all sharing their knowledge and best practice.

“Nick Hall brings with him an abundance of knowledge, and this session will not disappoint. A must-attend session for those looking to update their content marketing strategy or simply just wanting to stay ahead of the game.”

This session will take place on the WTM Global Stage, from 16.00 – 18.00 on Tuesday 7 November.

Digital Tourism Think Tank will also be running a session on Wednesday 8 November, from 10.30 – 12.30 entitled The Era of Intelligent Tech in Travel.

01 Nov

All of us feel the need to go back to nature. Going away from the mundaneness of life, the mechanical and demanding reality of everyday routine. Summer seems to be the ideal time for a temporary escape in paradise, but what happens when you get the chance to live in a heaven-like place on earth?

This becomes the case for quite an unusual and high-spirited family, The Durrells. Not only does living in Bournemouth perpetuate the misery of losing a much beloved father but also offers little to the youngest son Gerald, punished at the age of nine by the headmaster for fighting back against a bully. The solution envisaged? The Greek island of Corfu – because as Larry, the eldest son tells the family: ‘What we all need is sunshine’. The ITV series The Durrells is written by Simon Nye, directed by Steve Barron and Roger Goldby, and produced by Christopher Hall.

Based on Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy, an autobiographical book containing the adventure of young Gerald and his family in Greece, the series is set in the stunning island of Corfu or Kerkyra, the second largest of the Ionian Islands. Through an ingenious use of sound and lighting, the viewer is introduced from the first episode of the series into the world of the Durrells. It opens with shot of the seaside of Bournemouth accompanied by the sound of heavy winds and high tides that smash on the shore, which represents the sole background music.

The camera then cuts to a long take of houses by the sea, overlooking a promenade area with vintage cars and people dressed in black suits and hats, as a popular song of that time plays in the background. The episode thus portrays the atmosphere of the 1935 seaside resort. The grey lighting of the outside is presented in sharp contrast with the much darker and gloomy view of the interior, as the camera frames the house and then cuts to an image of Louisa Durrell cooking. The scene that follows Gerald’s punishment and the following scenes that portray the everyday life of the family are intercut by the credit sequence. This is introduced by the use of the theme song of the series, composed by Ruth Barrett, alongside an expressive, rich-in-colour graphic that enlightens the gloomy atmosphere while presenting what is to become of the Durrells in Corfu. Throughout the series several scenes will be intercut by such extraordinary animated pictures: impressive wildlife, cypresses, donkeys, orange and lemon trees and of course the future house of the Durrells in Corfu. The light seems to come from heaven as they are surrounded by natural beauty and the real-life décor of the still remaining today Venetian architecture.

The series offers it all from comic situations, possible love stories, natural conservation matters, financial crisis, ancient olive groves and breathtaking views that will make you green with envy. Another asset of the series is the cast, as you are sure to witness the highest level of acting, most notably that of Keeley Hawes as Louisa Durrell, Milo Parker as Gerry Durrell and the talented Daisy Waterstone as Margo Durrell, who never ceases to amaze with her skill and ability to arouse a rollercoaster of emotions. One cannot help but compare the series with the 2005 BBC adaptation of the My Family and Other Animals extracted from The Corfu Trilogy, with a screenplay also written by Simon Nye. Spreading the same Greek spirit, the ITV series goes way ahead of the film, proving itself more than just a strict adaptation, offering absolute freedom to the director and including in a just and absolutely necessary manner Greek actors in the cast, most notably Alexis Georgoulis as Spiros Hakaiopoulos and Yorgos Karamihos as Dr. Theo Stephanides. The series comprises 2 seasons so far, the original release being 3 April 2016, with the third season filmed this summer and expected to come back on the air in 2018. The series has been nominated for the Best Drama Series in 2017 at the BAFTA TV Awards and has won through the joint work of Leslie Caron and dog Tchi Tchi the Palm DogManitarian Award, at Cannes Film Festival 2017.

Not only will The Durrells take you on a journey in a tableau-like paradise, a land of unspoiled beauty where nature flourishes undestroyed by human intervention, but it will also make the viewer understand and feel the true spirit of Hellada. Whether you have been to Corfu and want to explore the promised land of Greece once more, or you have planned your holiday and are about to visit the Durrell’s White House situated in the village of Kalami on the north-eastern coast of Corfu, the series is a must if you want to get into the Greek mood or chase away the nostalgia of leaving the

01 Nov

“Greece was a destination in the Mediterranean that stood out this summer. Thomas Cook’s bookings for Greek destinations rose 24% in the summer of 2017 compared to the summer of 2016”, noted Martin Ratchford, from the tour operator Thomas Cook’s financial team

The group announced it planned to add a third Casa Cook Hotel, after the two existing in Rhodes and Kos, as well as new destinations across Greece and even more contact to acquire new hotels.Thomas Cook is expending its presence in Greece during the summer of 2018.

The group dubs Greece s one of its most promising in the Mediterranean in the tourism sector in terms of projected growth for 2018. “Greece was a destination in the Mediterranean that stood out this summer.

Thomas Cook’s bookings for Greek destinations rose by 24% in the summer of 2017 compared to the summer of 2016”, pointed out Martin Ratchford, a member of the group’s financial team on the occasion of the Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum under way from 16 to 18 October in Spain.

He undelined he was “excited about what Greece can offer” and sees an improvement in the legal framework and the share of bank financing, which allows the group to look at more acquisitions in the country.

The group proposed new destinations in Greece, apart from traditional islands for the 2018 season starting a new program, for the wider area of Pieria with connection flights to Thessaloniki from Great Britain. Thomas Cook is also banking on the growth of Chalkidiki region as a destination for its customers.

31 Oct

The Minister of Tourism, Elena Kountoura and Joanna Lumley present Greece to Media at WTM London.

Greece organises a press conference and networking event in WTM London Media Centre - ME580 - Press Conference Room on Monday 6 November from 14.00-15:30.

The Minister of Tourism, Elena Kountoura will host the event and provide an update on tourism developments in Greece, with a re-cap of a record-breaking 2017 and projection towards 2018, focusing on Greece as a 365-days-a-year tourist destination and the importance of sustainable development in tourism for local communities.

She will be joined on the stage by author and actress, Joanna Lumley, who will talk on her personal experiences during filming in Greece as well as the unique and diverse portfolio of attributes that establish Greece as an all-year-round destination for UK holidaymakers .

The press conference will be followed by a networking event with Greek wines and canapés.

 

30 Oct

Presentation
This MOOC “Tourism Management at UNESCO World Heritage Sites”, produced by the UNESCO-UNITWIN Network “Culture, Tourism, and Development”, provides an introduction to tourism at UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Moving from UNESCO’s principles and doctrines, the MOOC covers Communication Technologies, Economy, Management and Planning, and more... It is aimed to policy makers, site managers, students and people active in the tourism industry.
This MOOC is designed and run by an international network of prestigious universities: highly profiled researchers and professors share their knowledge with you in an accessible way on tourism at UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Format
The course consists of 8 modules, released one per week. During each module, learners will be able to gain knowledge about different aspects of Tourism Management at UNESCO World Heritage Sites thanks to ad-hoc documents and videos produced by members of an international network of prominent universities.
Participants will also have the opportunity to assess their understanding and learning progress through quizzes, as well as through various activities, discussions, and peer-to-peer evaluated activities.
The course remains available with all materials for enroled students to use for about 1 year.

Prerequisites
The MOOC is open to everyone wishing to learn more about how tourism works at UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It has, however, a special focus on professional figures such as academics, site managers, state agencies, and other professions involved in tourism.

Course Schedule
Week 1 : Concepts, Doctrines and Lists (I). 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage
Week 2 : Concepts, Doctrines and Lists (II). 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
Week 3 : Tourism at World Heritage Sites
Week 4 : Tourism and Local Communities
Week 5 : Site Conservation/Enhancement and Tourist Management
Week 6 : Tourism Interpretation on World Heritage Sites
Week 7 : eTourism for Heritage
Week 8 : Tourist Economy related to Heritage

 

Evaluation
The assessment process is based on weekly quizzes, where participants can test their knowledge, and peer-reviewed online activities in which to put the newly gained notions into practice. Learners successfully completing the course will then receive a free course completion certificate.

Partners
UNESCO-UNITWIN Network "Culture, Tourism, Development"
The UNITWIN Programme was launched in 1992 and serves as a closely knit system of cooperation in research, documentation and training to facilitate exchanges and knowledge-sharing among universities, decision makers, non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector.

More infos

28 Oct

As the name implies these are places where people go to drink their coffee. Outside the big cities, these old-fashioned cafés gradually evolved into the focal point of male society in their particular neighbourhood or village. They became convivial places where men could meet, play cards or backgammon, catch up on the news and gossip, talk business, and have fun away from their womenfolk.

Because politics is rarely absent from Greek conversation, they also came to be called “little parliaments”, some even identified as belonging to one party or another.

The café is the Greek equivalent of the Londoner’s club. But they are also a link between the village and the outside world. For it is here that the traveller, after being grilled about his presence in the community, will find the answers to his own questions. (There is always someone who speaks English among the regulars.)

It is in these kafeneia that, as you sip your aperitif, you’ll discover Greek mezedes, the tempting little dishes that accompany alcohol, that are so much a part of Greek culture and which vary from place to place. They are served on small plates either before the main meal or at any time during the day to accompany a drin, whether ouzo, raki, wine or beer.

It is true of many provincial cafes that you could say “Tell me what drink and meze you were served and I can tell you where you were”. The variety of appetisers can vary greatly depending on the region, culinary tradition, location (mountain or seaside), the occupation of the regulars (farmers,fishermen, shepherds), but also on the time of year, as many mezedes are seasonal. They may consist of anything ranging from the ultra simple nuts, olives, rusks, slices of bread, tomato, cucumber, pickles and raw artichokes to fried or baked potatoes, cold cuts, local cheeses, salted fish, taramosalata, melitzanosalata, tzatziki, octopus or a speciality of the cafe owner.

Many cafés are genuine landmarks and transport us back to bygone days. The same goes for the owners who have managed to preserve the ethos of a disappearing world.

THE MOUZAKITIS CAFE-GROCERY IN AVLIOTES
Corfu’s villages, scattered about the island’s riotous green landscape of tall olive trees, cypress trees and vineyards, are well preserved with tile-roofed, pastel-coloured houses, and very few concrete monstrosities among them. This fairytale scenery had convinced me that I would find old cafes. Unfortunately, the results of my search were meager. Two or three noted cafes had recently closed, the main one being the amazing Olympia cafe-grocery in Lakones, whose proprietor Theodoros Mihalas had just died. The situation was salvaged by another cafe-grocery, in Avliotes this time.
A long and narrow tile-roofed building with ochre walls and green windows trimmed in white, right on the main street and across from a small square, has housed the Mouzakitis family cafe for nearly a century. I encountered the same play of colour inside, reinforced with a pink stripe along the lower walls. Small green metallic tables, wonderfully spare wooden benches, an old wood-burning stove, shelves filled with necessities and old photographs on the walls composed the indoor scene. Spyros, also known as “Fondas”, is the third generation of the Mouzakitis family to tend the store.
This young man introduced us to the cafe’s history:
“My grandfather Thodoros in 1928 began the business which was from the very beginning both a cafe and a grocery store. We have photos of all the elders sitting in a row outside on the narrow pavement along the cobblestone street, sunning themselves as they watch the foot traffic. Furthermore, the processions always stop for a little while here in Aforesmenos square for a short prayer. Young people nowadays might prefer more modern cafes but this place has known its share of glory with celebrations, singing accompanied by violins, accordions and guitars. In any case, though I work in tourism I do what I can to work here at the same time and to keep it alive with my mates.”

KYRA SOPHIA’S CAFE AT SOKRAKI
As you go uphill towards Sokraki and beyond Ano Korakiana you follow a snaky winding path that leads to Mount Korakio. This road, full of twists and turns, overgrown with olive trees, barely wide enough for your car, was once a major thoroughfare in the dense road network constructed under the British. Suddenly you reach a clearing and there looms Sokraki. The view is stunning: all Corfu at your feet, an infinite olive grove punctuated by tall cypress trees stretches from north to south, from the Ionian to the Adriatic coast. The village is deserted and the cafes hermetically closed. But I happen upon Kyra Sophia’s cafe, named “Varzas”, reputed to be the best, and she has left her keys on the door.
I heave a sigh of relief, walk in and am confronted by a furious woman dressed in work pants getting ready to leave. “Good morning,” I said, “could I possibly have a coffee please?”
“Hey are you bonkers? This is no time for coffees. It’s been raining for days and so today, now that the sun is finally shining, we are going out to pick our olives. But come back tonight for a snack.”
My wheedling got the better of her -as that night I was going back to Athens- so she let me in to see her bit of paradise and take a few photographs.
“All the other cafes have been renovated, but I’ve kept mine the way it always was and that’s what the tour guide who brings a few visitors now and again advised me to do. Pity you’re leaving, we could have had a pleasant time tonight.”

TA OLYMPIA CAFÉ
Known to locals as Zisimos’s, Ta Olympia café cum bar/sweetshop was a landmark in Corfu town up until 2013, as the only café on the Liston that had retained its prestige as well as its original pre-War atmosphere.
The Liston arcade, designed to resemble the rue de Rivoli in Paris, owes its name to a curious tradition: In the days before unification with Greece, only aristocrats whose names were listed in the Libro d’Oro or Golden Book compiled during Venetian rule, had the right to walk under its arches, protected from the sun or rain.
“Ta Olympia” opened its doors in 1928 under the ownership of Zisimos Papafloratos, as successor to the famous lounge of the Saint George Hotel. It was then that the hotel was at its most glorious, patronized by Oscar Wilde, the Durrells and dozens of other celebrities. The legendary billiard room may have ceased functioning but the eclectic décor and atmosphere retained the elegance of bygone eras, with the principal element the ceiling with its painted moulding, its mirrors and refined furnishings.
A place rich in memories. Who could forget the peerless Zisimos, the memorable Rena Vlachopoulou who as a girl of seventeen in 1938 first sang on a stage in front of the café, not to mention the veteran waiters always impeccably dressed with their green jackets and ties as they served coffee, sweets, and ouzo with superb appetisers.
Ta Olympia exists no more, a victim of badly conceived development, but the Liston’s atmosphere is embedded in the memory of the old timers as well as the appearance of the other establishments in the historic arcade which were very influenced by Zisimos’s café.

 

The Greek Gastronomy Guide website (greekgastronomyguide.gr) was created to be a showcase for Greek gastronomy as a whole, in all its aspects and all its dimensions. This is because we believe that the logic that connects the network “Landscape – Environment – Agricultural Economy – Agricultural Produce – Gastronomy – Culture – Tourism” could and should form one of the bases for the country’s future development. Our goal is to provide a detailed “census” of the gastronomic identity of every region in the country through a holistic, but primarily human-orientated approach.

 

18 Oct

World Travel Market London is the leading global event for the travel industry, generating more than €2.5 billion of business contracts between attendees. Now in its 37th year, this show attracts a global audience that shape the travel industry.

The new-look three-day format introduced last year, has been universally well received from all participant groups, the organizers said in an announcement.

Over three days, the travel industry comes together as almost 5,000 exhibiting destinations, technology and private sector companies to find and network with 51,000 travel professionals, key industry buyers, journalists, digital influencers, students and tourism Ministers.

This vibrant event offers the opportunity to discover the world under one roof, and be inspired by industry leaders discussing trends, issues and innovations in the travel industry.

The WTM World Travel Market will take place on 3 days from Monday, 06. November to Wednesday, 08. November 2017 in London.

Opening times
Monday 6th November: 10am-6pm (invite only)
Tuesday 7th November: 10am-6pm
Wednesday 8th November: 10am-6pm

Read More
16 Oct

When visiting Corfu, it can often feel as if you are being transported to another time and place. Although the island has long been a haven of today’s rich and famous, there are moments when you feel as if you must take a step back and really view the island for what it is – a place where the island’s ancient history and modern sensibilities seem to coexist. On top of that, there are places that truly feel ancient, such as Perithia, the oldest village on Corfu. Here is an overview of Old Perithia and what you can do when you visit:

History of Perithia
Perithia, or Old Perithia, is an old village located in the northern mountains of the island. It is also listed as a UNESCO world heritage site because it is a gorgeous example of the history of the island. The village is dated back from the 14th Century A.D., but it is possible that there were inhabitants there from well before that. There were about 130 homes that were built here and all of them were made by hand. At its peak, there were as many as 1200 inhabitants according to the records. It was also considered to be one of the wealthiest villages on the island and the abundance of natural beauty around it was also a revenue generator, as is evidenced by the leftover grapevines that are still in existence in the area.

Escape from the Tourist Crowds
Corfu is a popular island for visitors and it can often get busy, especially during peak tourist season. Although this is something that attracts people to the island in the first place, it can be nice to find a place to escape and get away from it all. This is one of the reasons why many people visit Old Perithia. Since it is tucked away in the northern mountains on Corfu, it isn’t exactly easy to get to, which means that this historical site doesn’t get the as many visitors as some of the popular resorts and beaches on the island do. You can visit here to truly unwind and take in the island’s beautiful scenery.

What to Do in Perithia
Although the village was abandoned at one time, there are still some inhabitants in the area. However, many of the homes are abandoned. For visitors, this is simply a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the regular tourist crowds. Spend some time looking around some of the older homes. You can also hike in the surrounding mountains and take plenty of pictures of the beautiful sceneries. There are also some tavernas in the area, which offer the visitor a chance to eat a traditional Greek meal in a natural setting. If you are interested in learning more about the village and its history, you can also either take an official tour or do a self guided tour.

Although Corfu is a busy island, it is nice to get away from the tourist crowds and enjoy the beautiful environment.

greekboston.com

09 Oct

by Joanna Booth TravelWeekly

Help new parents find holiday heaven with advice from Joanna Booth.
Like this and want more details? Click here to download and save as a PDF.

“Ooh, haven’t you grown?” Being on the receiving end of this comment with baffling regularity as a child, I vowed never to make it myself.

But then people I knew started to have kids, and I was struck with the terrifying pace at which they change.
This factor can make booking holidays with children that much more challenging. A child of six is a very different beast from a six-month-old, and the two have very different needs.
The world isn’t short of hotels with kids’ clubs offering elaborate activities, cuddly characters that make the rounds at breakfast, and labyrinthine water slides. Yet all this is of only passing interest to the parents of a six-month-old, who really want to know how they’re going to sterilise a bottle, whether they’ll be able to find a properly vetted babysitter and if their room has a decent balcony so they can enjoy a well-deserved sunbathe during naptime.
Finding hotels that suit the needs of parents travelling with babies may be trickier than for older families, but there’s good news too: for once, you’re not corralled into the hellish confines – and higher prices – of school holidays.

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