An insider's guide to Greece: discover just why you should choose Greece for your next holiday with our interview with insider expert and founder of UP Greek Tourism, Yorgos Kleivokiotis.
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Yorgos Kleivokiotis is one of the founders of UP Greek Tourism, a recent Greek tourism initiative that took the unusual step of promoting Greece on a huge billboard in Times Square. In the face of sometimes negative headlines about Greece in the current economic crisis, Yorgos talked to us about just why Greece is still such a fascinating and hospitable destination for holidays.

What was the idea behind the UP Greek Tourism campaign?

The intention was to help the Greek economy by supporting tourism. The idea started with a Facebook page in 2010, which was a symbolic 4-month event inviting people to visit Greece.

The event, which I sent to my friends on Facebook, became viral and reached some 170,000 people and some coverage by blogs and radio stations.

A year later, we decided we could convince Greeks and friends to co-fund an advertising campaign for Greek tourism. That‘s how UP Greek Tourism was created.

What has been the campaign achieved so far?

So far, we have managed to crowdfund two advertising billboards, one in Times Square in New York and one on 7th Street in Washington DC.

We have also seen a lot of media coverage from large publications in both sides of the Atlantic, including features in CNN, New York Times, The Guardian, Hindustan Times, many blogs, etc. The term we coined, UP Greek Tourism, gives over 400,000 results on Google search. And the best is yet to come.

What does Greece offer that is different to other Mediterranean destinations?

All Mediterranean countries are beautiful and have much to offer the traveller. Greece is similar to many of them, but with some unique features.

Firstly, Greece is much more politically stable than many other Mediterranean destinations like most of North Africa or Lebanon.

We do have protests in the centre of Athens now and then, but even these stop in the summer periods. We are a more liberal country than Turkey. We have far better coast life than Italy. We have better tourism infrastructure than Croatia. Compared to France and Spain, we have a lot of sites with archaeological interest.

Lastly,  we have some of the Mediterranean‘s friendliest people and some of the best food and nightlife, and of course there is no better place for a cruise. Greece is therefore similar to the other Med countries, but in many ways unique.

What would be your ideal sailing itinerary around Greece be and do you have any tips for finding the best beaches?

Although I‘ve only had a few trips with a yacht, my preference is for the Aegean, except in August where it‘s too windy. I love the small islands of Koufonisia and the beaches of Milos.

Do you have personal tips for enjoying the premium side of Greece?

I would certainly advise you to visit the regular premium holiday destinations outside the peak periods of July and August to enjoy a more authentic experience. Also, yachting is a must-try during your visit. Finally, there are some fantastic new hotels in the Peloponnese and the wine region in the North of Greece that I would definitely recommend. 

Where do you spend holidays in Greece?

I go everywhere but most often I spend it with friend in Paros, which is great for summer sports, and at the family summer house in Kefalonia.

Find out more about UP Greek Tourism

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