32-year-old sprinter Irini Vasiliou has “baptised TUI’s renamed Heraklion aircraft in Crete on Monday.
The Hanover-based British-German leisure, travel and tourism company wrote on their social media account:
“What a day in Crete, including impressive water fountains. The name of the aircraft is now Heraklion. The aircraft’s godmother is Heraklion-born 32-year-old sprinter Irini Vasiliou. More than 70 guests, including the Greek Minister of Tourism Vassilis Kikilias were on site.”
During the naming ceremony of the TUI fly aircraft at the Nikos Kazantzakis Airport in Heraklion, Kikilias reiterated the ministry’s goals for the year ahead, which include extending the tourism season, expanding destinations, and moving ahead with the implementation of a sustainable tourism model.
Global tour operator TUI named one of its Boeing 737-8 aircraft “Heraklion”, after the capital of Crete, where the group does business.
“There is a positive trend in demand at the moment and that is why we’ve brought the first arrivals four weeks earlier,” said Managing Director TUI Fly Oliver Lackmann. He added that TUI Group is planning on bringing about 3 million visitors to Greece and that it had added 62 new flights for April to Crete, Rhodes and Kos.
In total TUI this year expects to operate some 40,000 flights to 19 Greek airports with 9,000 from European destinations from and to Crete alone.
Kikilas called on tourism stakeholders – hoteliers, travel agents, airlines and travel agencies – to make a coordinated, organized and strong effort every day, so that more visitors come to Greece.
The minister expressed his optimism about welcoming visitors earlier than ever before, adding that the goal in 2022 will be to attract “more travelers, more higher-income visitors, who respect customs and culture, love Greece and will come again and again, thus supporting the hundreds of thousands of people active in tourism”.
For her part, Vasiliou is a Greek sprinter who competed in the 400 metres at the 2016 European Athletics Championships, and at the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2020 Summer Olympics she competed in the 400 metres.
Her twin sister Anna is also a 400 metres athlete.