Northern Greece vintners look to woo tourists

Thirty-seven winemakers from northern Greece said yesterday they would open their installations to the public, in an effort to boost the tourism potential of the industry. «Winemakers want to come into contact with the Greek tourist, offering a different vacationing option,» Yiannis Vogiatzis, who heads the initiative, told a press briefing in Thessaloniki. «The promotion of wine tourism, particularly abroad, would be easier if there was a nationwide network,» he added. Macedonia and Thrace tour operators’ chairman Dimitris Mantousis said it was important for the initiative to be promoted by the Greek National Tourism Organization abroad. The initiative, titled «Wine Routes in Northern Greece,» is the result of cooperation among 16 development companies sponsored by local government organizations. It is part of the EU-subsidized Leader+ program, and, apart from the 37 wineries, includes 120 regional businesses, including hostels, restaurants, traditional product enterprises and alternative activities. Together, they form an agritourism network along eight main wine routes in the region.