The Greek tourism industry expects 28 million visitors this year. Just over a year ago, experts prophesied far poorer figures, and the forecast was correct, mainly for the holiday islands along the coast of Anatolia. Supposed flows of asylum seekers and refugees have frightened potential holiday makers. The announcement of high tax rates and feared price increases have strongly impacted the image of Greece as an attractive holiday region. There were cancellations in the tourist pre-bookings. Also, many travel agents stopped their direct flights to the islands. For a while, it seemed as if the country could never recover from recession. Nevertheless, tourism is still one of the debt-battered economy's promising sectors. About one-fifth of the Greek gross domestic product (GDP) is generated in the tourism industry. And one in five employees work in the travel industry. Commitment pays off Innovative ideas, new market strategies and private … [Read more...] about Greece: New holiday season, new hope
Everything has to be perfect: Jeanette Böhm casts a critical eye over her holiday apartment "Fichteperle" in the hugely popular Kreuzberg district of Berlin. Is the blanket neatly folded on the sofa? Are all the curtains open and are all the beds made? The trained carpenter nods. Everything is ready now for her guest's check-in. She is expecting three visitors from Switzerland. The holiday apartment is typical for Berlin, on the third floor in a backyard building. It has a bathroom, one bedroom and a big sitting room with an open kitchen. On the table next to the sofa there are books and brochures on Berlin. "It is important to me that my guests find everything here that they might need. I want to avoid that impersonal hotel experience," the 33-year-old Jeanette tells DW. The photographs on the wall were all taken by her, and guests can buy them as a memento of their visit to Berlin. From air-mattress to holiday apartments She lived in this apartment herself until 2011, when … [Read more...] about Holidaying in the heart of a Berlin neighborhood
Germany revealed more cases of a dangerous strain of avian influenza on Saturday, alongside reports that the disease had spread to Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Croatia. The H5N8 virus has affected some 30,000 chickens in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Authorities said an area of 3 square kilometers (1.2 square miles) around the affected farm had been sealed off. Berlin has set up a crisis management task force to tackle the issue, after reports also came in from Austria that another large outbreak was suspected in an area along the border with Bavaria. Authorities urge extreme caution At the same time, Switzerland has confirmed that a number of dead birds found along Lake Geneva were found to be carrying the H5N8 virus. Bern and Vienna both immediately took steps to contain the disease from spreading further, authorities said. This particular strain of avian influenza arrived in Europe from South Korea in … [Read more...] about Bird flu spreads in Germany, sparking fears for holiday meals
The latest "troika" report on Greece was published only shortly before the finance ministers' summit. It was rather mixed. The troika, consisting of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB), recognized some progress in Greece's savings and reform efforts, but still saw much room for improvement, particularly in the reform of a bloated bureaucracy and the privatization of state assets. The latest tranche of EU cash was dependent on this report. Despite the shortfall, the ministers released some 6.8 billion euros ($8.7 billion) of the ongoing bailout funds - though only in installments. Greece still has to complete a tax reform and put thousands of state employees into a transitional staff holding company before it gets any more money. Delaying doesn't help Strangely, two particularly stubborn critics showed themselves unusually generous on this balmy summer's evening in Brussels (08.07.2013). German Finance Minister Wolfgang … [Read more...] about EU finance ministers in a holiday mood
"Why shouldn't one consider a Muslim holiday in parts of the country where many Muslims live?" The suggestion by conservative Interior Minister Thomas de Maizierehas sparked a fundamental debate in Germany. De Maiziere's proposal quickly turned into a political issue within his own Christian Democratic Union (CDU). The interior minister has latched onto a hot topic that comes on the heels of a debate over whether the CDU lost votes in Germany's recent national election because it abandoned much of its conservative profile. But de Maiziere's own constraints, as well as accepted practice in Germany, put the proposal into perspective. All Souls Day (November 1), which honors the memory of the deceased, for instance, is only observed in regions where many Catholics live. De Maiziere envisions a regionally defined Muslim holiday. Reactions to the idea Holidays have a long tradition in Germany, said Lower Saxony's CDU party chairman, Bernd Althusmann, who immediately criticized the … [Read more...] about Could Germany soon have a Muslim holiday?