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“Planning a Trip to Greece is almost as Funny as Visiting the Country Itself”

08 July 2010 / 12:07:34  GRReporter
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“Planning a trip to Greece is almost as funny as visiting the country itself” - this is the logo of the most popular site for tourists wishing to visit Greece, made by the fan of the country – the American Matt Barrett. Matt Barrett’s Greecetravel.com advertises Greece to all who want to link with the country.   

If you type “Greece, trip” in English in Google you will immediately get to the webpage of Greecetravel.com. This is not an initiative of the Greek National Tourism Organization or of other organization, but of the American advertising agent Matt Barrett. Barrett, who is of Greek origin, has been uploading everything connected with Greece on the Internet for 15 years – his travel experience in the country and the most interesting a tourist can see. Every day he replies 50 e-mails written by travelers and is actually considered a “goodwill ambassador” for Greece in the network.

Matt Barrett was born in 1954 in New York. His surname was Ikonomopulos, but later he changed it and took the surname of the great guitarist of Pink Floyd Syd Barrett! He had lived in Greece for several years when he was a child. Later moved across the ocean but continued to visit Greece for the summer holidays.  

”Then I was a musician, playing guitar and singing in the bars on the islands in Athens, and especially in Οld Captain on Sifnos. When the Internet appeared I had already gathered much material, stories, photos and practical information for travelers which I uploaded on one page. This happened in 1995 when there were still a few sites about Greece” tells he for the Vima newspaper.

”I started to develop the webpage while in a bus on the island of Crete. I was sitting by a British tourist who complained that except the nice weather there is nothing nice in Greece. I wanted to show the world what can be found only in Greece and so I wrote everything I knew and what I did, because if there is something we do not know well is how to have a nice time in Greece,” says the American traveler.

Mr. Barrett has a communication company in the USA. “There I promote Greece and my webpage across the country. I turn to students and teachers who would come to Greece while they are still young and build a relationship with the country as opposed to the Greek National Tourism Organisation, which believes that it should focus on the VΙΡ tourists and Hollywood. I am something like a private office for public relations of Greece, like the Greek National Tourism Organization, but the difference is that I know what I’m doing” notes with sense of humor Mr. Barrett.

”Sometimes I have to reply to more than 50 e-mails daily from people seeking information about their trip, the food, the history and demonstrations,” he adds. “I want to help people understand that despite the many problems it can have it is worth visiting Greece. Strikes may discourage a tourist, but will not affect his vacation. There is no reason to cancel the trip because of the nonsense you are watching on CΝΝ” he notes. Mr. Barrett attaches great importance to the comments that visitors write on webpages such as Facebook and Τripadvisor and notes that when an unhappy traveler describes his experience this may carry “negative energy” and hurt the image of the country.

According to Mr. Barrett the future of Greece is in tourism. “If you destroy it, nothing will remain and the country will look like Haiti. If you want to see what will Greece look like after several years without tourism, look at Cairo or Gaza!” is the conclusion of Mr. Barrett, who  says that “the Greeks are wonderful people.”

”I think Athens is one of the most exciting cities in the world, something like a cultural experiment, which has got out of hand and now all are waiting to see what will happen. Greeks are great people. Surely there are many lazy, spoiled and selfish people, and that, unfortunately, is part of the package,” he notes. Unions must understand that as they hold tourists captured by stopping the ships or occupying the Acropolis, just turn the Greeks into a laughing stock around the world,” said Matt Barrett.

Tags: NewsTourismTrips
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