Greece bets big at the New York Times Travel Show

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The Independent Online

Greece may be facing bad press in Europe, but it's putting on a big -- the biggest -- show at the New York Times Travel Show, which kicks off February 26.

(Relaxnews) -

Greece may be facing bad press in Europe, but it's putting on a big - the biggest - show at the New York Times Travel Show, which kicks off February 26.

The Greek National Tourism Association has the biggest stand on the show's floorplan, eclipsing even that of American Express, the show's presenting sponsor.

It's probably a sound investment for the Mediterranean country; tourism accounts for approximately 18 percent of Greece's shaky economy. In 2008 around 17 million people visited, many going to one of the thousands of Greek islands, making it the 16th most popular tourist destination in the world.

Of course, Greece is only one of 150 countries selling themselves at the show, which runs February 26-28 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York. A total of 500 exhibitors will be on display at the show, making it one of the biggest in the calendar and a must for the world's tourism authorities. Turkey, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and India all have fairly large stands, but even tiny Macau is represented at the show.

The aim of the show is naturally to get people travelling, with strategic American Express "booking stations" placed around the hall. But for fans of window-shopping (or window-sightseeing), there is plenty of entertainment on show from around the world, including Mexico's "Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández," Puerto Rican salsa from "Danza Fiesta" and the Latvian national dance group "Jumis."

Speciality areas include pavilions for adventure travel, family travel, vacation home rental and cruises. The presence of Seaworld and Busch Gardens caters for animal lovers too - creatures on exhibit are set to include penguins, an American alligator, a lemur, the kookaburra bird and a Burmese python.

Foodies can gorge themselves on the food and drinks presented by each country; South African wine, Indian sweets, Ukrainian cuisine and tequila sampling from Mexico are all on the schedule. The Consul General of the Philippines, Cecilia Rebong, will even present a special demonstration of Filipino cooking.

The New York Times Travel Show is open to trade only on February 26 and opens to the public February 27 - 28. Admission to the show is $15 (€11.07) with a $5 (€3.69) discount if tickets are purchased with an American Express Card - under 18s go free.

Website: http://www.nytimes.com/travelshow

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