New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
U.S. Ambassador in Athens Geoffrey Pyatt and leaders of major Greek American organizations have joined – once more – their voices with “Greek News” in urging Americans to visit Greece this year.
“I hope that Greece, with its year-round natural beauty and cultural gems will be a top travel destination for every American tourist”, says Ambassador Pyatt, in his message for the 10th annual “Let’s Go to Greece” Campaign, that started on May 20.
“All of us can go for 1 week, 2 weeks, or a month and spend time in our dreamland. Greece the home of the Gods”, says AHEPA’s executive director Basil N. Mossaidis.
“We should all respond to Greek News’ call of “Let’s Go to Greece and Cyprus this Summer”, says Hellenic American Leadership Council’s executive director Endy Zemenides.
“I encourage all my fellow Greek Americans to consider taking their vacation to Greece this year, and most importantly, all of us should encourage our non Greek American friends to also visit Greece”, says Nick Larigakis, Presiednt of the American Hellenic Institute.
Ambassador Pyatt’s message for the 10th “Let’s Go to Greece” Campaign
The longer I stay in Greece, the more the country’s timeless landscape reveals its treasures. Last year, I advised Americans to “dive deep” into Greece, and this year, I recommend that Americans enjoy Greece’s splendor in all seasons. You’ll be amazed not only by Greece’s breathtaking islands and Blue Flag beaches (Did you know that the largest concentration of Blue Flag beaches aren’t on some island but on the peninsulas of Halkidiki?), but also by its mountains, deep gorges, and otherworldly caves. As I tell my friends back home, if you only visit Santorini and Mykonos this summer, you’re barely scratching the surface.
Spring is a magical time of year when blooming wildflowers transform Greece’s rocky landscape. For a truly memorable experience, I advise Americans to participate in Greece’s Carnival and Easter festivities. The Patras Carnival is one of the largest in Europe, and smaller towns like Naousa in the heart of northern Greece’s wine country have beautiful and moving celebrations. I spent Easter in Corfu, where the solemn epitaphios, followed by fireworks from the Venetian Fortress, pots raining down from windows, and the fantastically talented marching bands exemplified the great abundance and joy of the Greek people.
This summer, my family and I will visit Kythira, the birthplace of Aphrodite. I look forward to taking in panoramic views from the castle in Chora, hiking the old watermills in Mylopotamos, and relaxing on the beach in Kaladi and Avlemonas. And I will return to Mani, the fantastically rugged south of the Peloponnese, a region with a rich Byzantine history and a proud role in Greek independence.
Fall is one of the best times to travel in Greece, with fewer crowds, lower prices, and the warmest water of the year. Travel to the Peloponnese to take a wine tour in Nemea, explore the mysterious medieval town of Monemvasia, and visit the site of the first Olympic Games in Olympia. Or discover the stunning historical sites of northern Greece, including the tombs and newly reopened palace at Vergina, which collect some of Greece’s impressive Macedonian history.
I also want to make a plug for visiting Greece in the winter. The mountain villages of Zagorahoria and Pelion with their stone-and-slate houses, rustic home cooking, and miles of well-marked hiking trails make for perfect winter getaways. There are also many great places to ski in Greece: Kaimaktsalan, Metsovo, Arachova, and Kalavryta can all be combined with trips to cultural sites and even beaches.
It’s no surprise that the country known for its hospitality has earned the State Department’s best possible travel advisory level. More and more U.S. airlines fly direct routes between the U.S. and Greece, and American companies are expanding their footholds in Greece’s cruise, hotel, and car rental markets.
The United States is invested in Greece’s economic recovery, so I applaud efforts, like this Greek News tribute, to increase tourism. I hope that Greece, with its year-round natural beauty and cultural gems will be a top travel destination for every American tourist.
BASIL MOSSAIDIS, AHEPA
What doesn’t Greece have? Every year we hear of something new and fun to do in Greece. Is there really something we can’t do in Greece? I think not. All of us either by birth or by association, love Greece. It is a unique place. The history, the nightlife, the arts, the beach, the sun, the food…need I say more.
AHEPA has for years advocated travel and vacations in Greece. We support Greece in more than just words. The American travel industry statistics show nearly 1 Million Americans visited Greece in 2018. All in all, 33 Million visitors entered Greece last year, spending Billions of dollars in Greece.
The country of our forefathers is the country people want to visit. We are all excited about having Greece as part of our lives and we want and look forward to millions of visitors again. Greece needs and has for years depended on tourism dollars. All throughout the troubled times, Americans came to Greece in records numbers to support Greece, this year is no different.
As Greece begins to come out of the worst economic challenge since the second world war, we are proud to support and drive business to Greece. All of us can go for 1 week, 2 weeks, or a month and spend time in our dreamland. Greece the home of the Gods!
Basil N. Mossaidis
ENDY ZEMENIDES, HALC
We should all respond to Greek News’ call of “Let’s Go to Greece and Cyprus this Summer.”
It seems that every summer over the last few years, both countries are breaking records for tourism and understandably so. More direct flights, more luxurious hotel options, an avant garde culinary scene on top of great traditional cuisine — adding all this to the great beaches and amazing cultural sites make Greece and Cyprus the best possible vacations you could take this summer.
Congratulations to Greek News for continuing this campaign — let’s make it another record breaking year.
Executive Director, HALC
NICK LARIGAKIS, AHI
I congratulate, once again this year, the important initiative of the Greek News for helping to encourage members of the Greek community in the United States to take their vacation in Greece! When Greek Americans always ask, how can we help Greece? Simply stated…the best way is for all of us to visit Greece as many times as we can. So let’s all seriously consider taking our vacation to Greece this year. Not only are we receiving a top quality vacation experience in one of the most beautiful locations on the planet, but in the process continue to assist in the economic recovery of Greece. I, for one, will go to my home town on the island of Skopelos for 3 weeks in August, as I always do. And I encourage all my fellow Greek Americans to consider taking their vacation to Greece this year, and most importantly, all of us should encourage our non Greek American friends to also visit Greece!
President of AHI