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Patmos to get promotion on the tourist trail

- by Andy Cornish

Plans to promote the islandof Patmos as a top holiday destination will get off the ground this year.

The Dodecanese island of Patmos has long been slightly off the Greek island holiday tourist trail but all that could be about to change over the coming years.

Famous as the island where apostle St Paul wrote his Book of Revelation, the small island of Patmos also has several good sandy beaches and plenty of tourist infrastructure.

The religious connection makes Patmos a popular port of call for Greek island cruises and its a favourite destination for Greeks.

Now tourism leaders want to develop the island as a much better known international holiday destination.

Greek government ministers met recently with island officials to discuss ways to promote Patmos as a holiday destination.

Ministers particularly want not only to attract big spending high end tourists looking for luxury accommodation but to extend the tourist season beyond the high summer months.

Plans are already in the pipeline to include Patmos in a visa-free pilot scheme which would allow non-EU visitors from Turkish ports to stay on the island without having to get a visa first.

Ministers also plan to cut red tape for island hotel owners, ease the expansion of yacht marinas and promote Patmos at international tourism exhibitions.

"Τhe uniqueness and religious tradition of Patmos are factors that can be further highlighted to boost arrivals to the island," said Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni on a visit to the island.

A new ferry route linking  Patmos to the islands of Samos, Kos and Kalymnos is also expected to launch next year.

Shipping lines have already lodged bids to run the new ferry services between Samos, Patmos, Lipsi, Leros, Kalymnos and Kos

The new ferry route will also be promoted at international tourism exhibitions to attract an early interest in Greek island holidays on Patmos.

The island will also get two new desalination plants to resolve the problem of a drinking water shortage that has troubled Patmos for a number of years.