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For years and years the major hub in and out of Greece was Ellinikon International Airport, but in 2001 the airport shut its doors and it has kind of been just hanging out ever since. Ideas for repurposing the space have been tossed around now and then, but it finally looks as though one group is planning some true upgrades and improvements in the form of turning it into a resort area.
After signing a long-term lease for almost a billion euro the Lamda Development group has some big plans and ideas for the former runways and airport land. Their dreams include making it a true international destination once more, but by somehow creating a resort within the city—something that they claim would be the first of its kind. Expect hotels, a marina, and a park larger than London's Hyde Park. Rounding things out would be at least a kilometer of new beachfront.
In a new weekly Friday column, we'll explore street food and other culinary specialties from around the world. Last week, it was the surprising taco trunk scene in Columbus. This week, we head to Athens, Greece, to see what's cooking.
This one might be as obvious as deep dish in Chicago or cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, but you absolutely must try a gyro in Greece. We say that not because you've never heard of one before, rather because, like the cheesesteak in Philly, you've never had one this good.
Greece Travel / Strikes / Athens Travel / Europe Travel / Tourism / Politics Travel / Travel Politics / Travel News / Tourism Industry / → All Tags
We hate getting involved in travel politics labor issues. We say things like 'hey, if your company or your country is in financial or economic trouble, maybe you should go to work,' which seems reasonable to us. You guys respond by yelling at us for - actual quote - "undermin[ing] the intrinsic and sacramental right for unions to strike or engage in collective bargaining." That's no fun for anyone.
That said, we'd be remiss if we didn't at least suggest the possibility that the 24 hour strike currently crippling Greecewhich is specifically designed in part to disrupt travel and includes that country's civil aviation authorityis probably not going to help Greece's troubled economy.
Your future vacation to the Greek Isles just got a little bit easier, as it looks like a new carrier has its sights on non-stop flights in and out of Greece. Sure there are seasonal non-stops for when the weather is warmer, but year-round options just aren’t available. That might not be the case for much longer thanks to this new airline with a new vision.
SkyGreece Airlines is based out of Canada—not Greece—and they're looking to link Athens with both Canada and the United States sooner than later. Obviously there’s still plenty to do before the flying fun begins, but if all goes according to plan they’re thinking planes will take to the air as soon as May of 2013. Nonstop options will depart and arrive from spots like Toronto and Montreal, as well as New York and Chicago.
Olympics Travel / Sports Travel / London Travel / Beijing Travel / Athens Travel / Sydney Travel / → All Tags
Love ‘em or hate ‘em the Olympics are here to stay—at least for another week or so. Unless you're already in the UK, it's a tad too late to plan a trip to London at this point, and who really wants to wait another couple of years to check out the athletes doing their thing? That’s why we suggest taking in the sights—and remaining sounds—of recent former Olympic cities and their venues:
· Sydney, Australia
In Sydney it’s kind of like the Olympics never left, as there’s always something going on at the city’s Olympic Park. There’s a chance to try your skills at archery, practice your BMX skills, and even check out the cauldron—it’s been lit to celebrate the games in London. As a bonus, you can even make your way over to the AMP Services building in Circular Quay to check out an exhibition showing off past Olympic torches.
After a shaky economic year, Greece is ready to lure back leery travelers and they're looking for volunteers to help out.
The Greek National Tourism Organization has just launched TrueGreece.org, a new website created to recruit volunteer travelers willing to spread the good word about Greece through social media.
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When we suggested taking advantage of Greek labor instability by scooping up cheap Athens hotel deals, that was premised on the idea that protesters would mostly ignore tourists. Certainly we never imagined that they'd actively try to ruin the Greek tourism industry, which powers almost one-fifth of the country's economy. Oops.
Last Wednesday and Thursday 150 protesters shut down the Acropolis, the ancient religious sanctuary-global tourist mega-attraction that rises above Athens. They didn't think they were getting enough money, so they wanted to make sure that tourist-dependent hotels and restaurants didn't get any either (we're paraphrasing, but only a little bit). Keep in mind these were government workers who shut down the site, not the usual hodgepodge of anarchists who normally get the blame for ruining everybody's fun. Government workers from the Culture Ministry no less, who are in charge of bringing tourists into contact with Greek's historical treasures, the Acropolis included.
Travel Deals / Dangerous Travel / Greece Travel / Greece / Athens Travel / Hotels / Political Travel / → All Tags
Remember how yesterday we went looking for all the travel deals that should have been popping up in Florida, because their tourism industry had ostensibly been wrecked by the BP oil spill? And remember how we didn't find any, because that was just something their governor made up? The situation in Athens, a city that's still in shock from the wave of recent deadly riots which rocked Greece, is in an opposite position.
Tourism to the capital really is in free fall, and the hotel deals really are eye-popping. If the world keeps spinning out of control like this, we might have to start making these posts into a regular feature. Anyone for "Disaster Travel: Pricelining Your Way Through A World of Political, Environmental, and Economic Upheaval?"
So if you're willing to take on a little bit of risk, and take out travel insurance, we've thrown together a few quick numbers and put them after the jump. If you start feeling guilty, remember that tourism makes up 17 percent of the Greek economy. They need this.