Ionian Islands Prefect, Spiros Spirou, addressing a Press Conference at the international fair for holidays, travel and leisure in Vienna, in which Greece stands out with its dynamic presence, assured that – despite the negative news concerning our country – Greece, and especially the Ionian Islands, retains its ancient hospitality, its traditional magnificence, and its love for the natural and human environment.
In his address at the Press Conference, director of the GNTO Austria Press Office, Panagiotis Skordas, stressed the fact that during the past year, over 17 million foreign tourists visited Greece, and that the number has increased by 10% in comparison to 2010, while the number of Austrian visitors surpassed 500.000.
Speaking to Austrian and foreign media representatives, the Prefect of Ionian Islands reminded the press that Greece and Austria are closely associated on a historical and cultural basis and have been for centuries, giving several examples of the two countries’ connection, while he emphasized the fact that in proportion to Austria’s population, Greece and the Ionian Islands are still top Austrian choices.
He also referred to the special ties between Austria and the Ionian Islands, particularly Corfu, initially referring to Empress Elisabeth of Austria – Hungary, the legendary Sissi, who had picked the island to build a mansion, naming it after her favorite character in Homer’s Iliad, Achilles. In addition, as he stated, an Honorary Consulate of Austria has been re-opened since December 9, 2011, and was recently inaugurated by the Ambassador of Austria in Greece, Michael Linhart.
The mayor of Corfu, Giannis Trepeklis, and the mayor of Zakynthos, Stylianos Bozikis, while addressing the Press Conference at the Ionian Islands reception, both stressed the significance of tourism as a key source of income for Greece and their region, making historical references, and noting the natural and cultural wealth of their islands which still attract Austrian visitors on vacation.
During the international tourism fair in Vienna, several optimistic messages have been conveyed concerning the prospects of Greek tourism for the current year, noting that last year, our country, following Spain, was the second most loved travel destination for the Austrian public.