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ON OUR RADAR GREECE


ON OUR RADAR KALAMATA By Andrew Doherty


Y


ou’ve most likely already sent clients to Athens to visit its ancient monuments, but have you considered selling one


of Greece’s lesser-visited cities? Enter Kalamata, a coastal metropolis situated between the Taygetus mountain range and the Messenian Gulf, and famed for its olives. Kalamata offers everything you’d expect of a Mediterranean hub – beaches, charming local restaurants and historical intrigue – without the Greek capital’s crowds. Getting to the city is about to become


easier too. Jet2 is debuting a twice- weekly flight from 3 May to 1 November between Manchester and Kalamata, marking the airline’s first foray into the Peloponnese region. The new route arrives at the perfect time for the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), whose 2020 strategy involves spreading the economic benefits of tourism by promoting lesser-visited cities.


“We plan to reach out and appeal to a much wider demographic in the UK,” said Emy Anagnostopoulou, director of the GNTO in UK and Ireland. “City breaks, which have been a core trend over many years, are becoming more popular in Greece. We are directing [city breaks] at those who seek a deeper knowledge of the culture, lifestyle, pace and true character of our cities.” Culture vultures and history buffs have plenty to explore in Kalamata – the city houses a medieval castle, a clutch of neoclassical buildings and 19th-century churches. A 45-minute drive north will take clients to Messene. Founded in the fourth century BC, the site comprises the remains of temples and houses a restored theatre that also serves as a summer music festival venue. Sun worshippers can top up their tans


at Kalamata beach, which stretches three miles and is dotted with numerous bars, cafes and tavernas. Of course, life doesn’t stop after


dark. Night owls should head to Plateia Kentriki square for drinks and dancing, while the southern end of the old town offers a rock music pub scene. With the festive spirit of Christmas


gone and dreary February looming, Mediterranean sun sounds tempting. If your clients are partial to a touch of sun, fun and Greek food, then Kalamata should be an easy sell.


ESSENTIAL INFORMATION


Climate: Summer average temperatures reach 25°C, while the most daily sunshine (12 hours) occurs in July. Transport: A taxi from the airport costs around £17 and takes 10 minutes. The local KTEL bus, which travels directly to Kalamata station, costs about £1.50 one way. Accommodation: Beachfront boutique hotels and all-inclusives.


13.01.2020 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE


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