Greece Needs Cheap, Free Diaspora Flights

Here's good ideas: free air fare for young Greek-Americans to visit the homeland, and while we're at it, bring back cheaper U.S-Athens flights, say our readers.

They say the highest form of flattery is to imitate. The State of Israel has recently begun a program of providing free airfare for young Jewish people from the U.S. to travel to Israel for the summer. What a great idea! Why doesn’t Greece do the same?

Can you imagine the longlasting impact it would have on young Hellenes to be able to go home to the fatherland for the summer? Believe me, it made a different for me. In 1967, my father dragged me kicking and screaming there. I was a third-generation Hellene with absolutely no feeling for Hellas.

I went, I saw, and I returned reborn. Since then, my family and I have returned over 10 times (to date). Someone in Greece needs to start thinking outside the box. Believe me, my father’s return on his investment was beyond even his belief.


I, like many, am ecstatic that Greece’s economy will get a boost from its tourism and that people will see the beauty that truly is Greece. I hope, however, one day the Ministry of Tourism and the Greek airlines will assist in lowering their airfare so more Greeks and Philhellenes from the Diaspora will be able to visit.

To think a family of five may need to pay between nine and ten thousand dollars just to get to Athens airport seems surreal, considering you can be treated like a king as part of an all-inclusive package in the Caribbean for that price.

I think the Tourism Department should follow the example of some other countries and lower the airfares and create different tourism package zones in different areas in Greece, thereby, getting the people to Greece and creating opportunities for them to spend additional money inside Greece.

Please bring back the $700 round-trip ticket from NYC to Athens! Hope to return to Greece soon….after I mortgage my house.

Art Vrettas


  1. Israel receives over 10 billion dollars a year in US taxpayer aid and is able to offer these programs to anyone of the Jewish faith anywhere. Greece doesn’t have this luxury. I think it is a great idea and I would love to see it implemented but unless Greek Americans start a special fund to pay for this, I don’t see the Greek Government getting involved at all. Maybe anyone who graduates Greek School or finishes Goya will get a free trip to Greece! What a great incentive this would be for our youth.

  2. Thank you Art to the response of my e-mail suggestion. If not free flights then reduced flight costs tied into a tourism zone packages (by geography and 3 cost options: Luxury,three star, and Value packages) would insure a return to the hotels and airlines that buy into the concept. As stated it is upsetting to know others have pioneered similar ideas with success and now with fewer airlines and more costly tickets no major programs have been created for the Greek-American Diaspora who think of going to Greece yearly but cannot afford it. Thankfully Florida and the Caribbean to name a few others provide affordable options (but it ain’t Greece). Maybe the National Herald can pitch the idea to the Tourism Dept of Greece. Thank you again.

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