Greece's tourist season was opened earlier than ever before in history, with the landing of a Delta flight at Athens International Airport on Tuesday commemorating this event.
The Delta flight took off from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias was there with US Ambassador in Athens Geoffrey Pyatt to receive the first direct flight by an American airline to the Athens International Airport for this year's tourist season.
Kikilias made the following statement:
"We welcome the first direct American flight to Eleftherios Venizelos Airport.
"We are very happy that it is very, very early this year and it is a vote of confidence for the country and Greek tourism.
"Nine direct flights daily from the USA for Greece, which shows how important our effort is - and it will be successful - to bring tourists from America to Greece.
"Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much for your support."
For his part, Pyatt said:
"First of all, congratulations, Minister [Kikilias]. I want to say congratulations also to Delta.
"This is the first American flight of this tourism year for which we have extremely high expectations. Greece has so much to offer.
"The spring is a fantastic time of the year here. And I’m really excited that we have the first of our direct American flights.
"The earliest it’s ever been. This is just the start.
"We’re going to have a record number of direct flights from the United States this year.
"I also want to say, since we’re meeting against the background of the terrible developments in Ukraine, how much I admire you, Minister, for your clear statements about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but also the Tourism Ministry’s initiatives to provide jobs in the tourism sector for the Ukrainian people who are displaced by the violence that their country is suffering.
"It’s great to have some good news today to focus on. And I’m very, very optimistic that we’re going to see a record number of American tourists coming to enjoy everything that Greece has to offer over the next eight or nine months or so."