Tourism Development Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia cut the ribbon to open the first Six Senses Spa in Europe on Saturday, April 14. Helping her was Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, a native of Hania, representing the women of Crete. Palli-Petralia came by helicopter from Santorini, where she had been on ministerial business. As she said at Elounda, after the blessing performed by Bishop Nectarios of Petra: «Tourism and culture are Greece’s two great sources of wealth, the permanent pillars that support our economy, and there is every indication that Greece, with its history, landscape, sea and islands has all the credentials to become in the near future the No 1 holiday destination in the world.» Bakoyannis welcomed yet another first for Crete, while architect Spyros Kokotos, who created the exemplary Elounda Mare resort, Porto Elounda with the first golf course in Crete, and now the Six Senses Spa, spoke of the decisive role played by Cretan entrepreneurs. He praised Iraklion businessman Theodoros Vassilakis, founder of Aegean Airlines, for making Iraklion a regular stop for Aegean Airlines flights from all major European airports. «We brought Mohammed to the mountain, and the Far East to Psiloritis,» said Kokotos. «My wife Eliana and I searched everywhere for the best spa. The Far East and the Turkish hamam provided the atmosphere, we put in the best designers and operators and the signature of art.» The spa is decorated with a large painting by Costas Paniaras as well as sculptures and other works by Costas Varotsos. Both artists attended the opening. The heated indoor-outdoor pool with an unimpeded view of Merabello Gulf was admired and tested by the many guests of this couple and their children Fotis, Ilias and Marinas. Popular singers Sakis Rouvas and Despina Vandi were there as friends of the children, but Rouvas responded to repeated requests by singing «Mona Lisa» superbly at the dinner held after the opening.