Parallel events on the occasion of the
28th International Tourism Exhibition Philoxenia
Philoxenia Paves The Way For Religious Tourism
The international conference “Religious and Cultural Tourism in Southeast Europe, Models of Development – Cooperation Opportunities” took place during the 28th Philoxenia International Tourism Exhibition and focused on the prospects for developing synergies in the field of pilgrimage-cultural journeys.
Tourism Ministry Secretary General Anastasios Liaskos announced that the ministry would soon sign a cooperation agreement with the Church of Greece concerning pilgrimage tourism. He said the ministry also planned to publish a pilgrimage tourism guide and sign agreements with Orthodox Churches in Eastern Europe.
During the conference, it was also mentioned that the Church of Greece would sign cooperation agreements with the travel agency of the Vatican and the Orthodox Churches of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Albania, aiming to develop and promote Pilgrimage routes.
Hellenic Chamber of Hotels Board Of Directors Meeting
Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris participated in the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels Board Of Directors meeting that took place during the 28th Philoxenia International Tourism Exhibition. Mayor Boutaris requested for the hotel chamber’s support for the reconstruction and upgrading of the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization.
During the board meeting, Mr. Boutaris referred to the initiatives of the Thessaloniki Municipality towards the promotion of “Destination Thessaloniki” and underlined the need to promote its multicultural past.
In this context, he announced the celebration of the 1150th anniversary of the first mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius in 2013. The celebration will take place in May 2013 in Thessaloniki through a series of parallel events. Mr. Boutaris also announced that a conference on religious tourism would take place in Thessaloniki in October 2013.
Council of Hotel Associations
The Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers held its annual council of hotel associations during the 28th Philoxenia International Tourism Exhibition. “This year is not only a difficult year but it is the fourth difficult year for the hotel sector,” the federation’s president, Yiannis Retsos, said. Among issues discussed at the council were the illegal (non-licensed) hotels and rooms to let in Greece and the survival problems of Greek regional hotels that depend mainly on domestic tourism (that has plunged this year) and are burdened with the high price of heating oil.
During the council, an open discussion was held between the presidents of hotel associations with Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni. A series of important issues were brought to the minister’s attention that included visa facilitation, the high VAT on ferry tickets, the opening hours of archaeological sites and museums and the lack of liquidity of hotels.
Marketing Thessaloniki Forum
The forum, organized by the Hellenic Institute of Marketing of the Regional Department of Macedonia of the Hellenic Management Association (EEDE), featured presentations on the branding and marketing of Thessaloniki and the city’s infrastructure.
Topics discussed included the destination’s promotion to international markets, the necessity of an aviation strategy and the city’s need of a convention bureau to attract major conferences.
Greek Breakfast At Philoxenia
Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni attended the inauguration of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels’ stand and highly praised the chamber’s Greek Breakfast program that links Greek domestic products with the cuisines of Greek hotels.
According to the chamber’s president, Yiorgos Tsakiris, already 54 hotels across Greece have qualified and are participating in the Greek Breakfast program while another 109 applications are under examination. The chamber expects the number of hotels interested in participating in the program to increase significantly in the near future.
Chalkidiki Announces Actions For 2013
The Chalkidiki Tourism Organization gave a press conference at the Chalkidiki stand on the first day of the 28th Philoxenia International Tourism Exhibition and informed the audience on its cooperation agreements with the International Hellenic University and the Hellenic Chef’s Association of Northern Greece in regards to the Greek Breakfast program.
During the press conference, the organization’s president, Grigoris Tasios, presented three videos of Chalkidiki produced to promote the destination via the Internet and youtube: one four-minute video with scenes of beautiful Chalkidiki, one two-minute video on Chalkidiki’s tradition and culture and another two-minute video for the destination’s gastronomy.
The organization also announced its close cooperation with Turkish Airlines. The daily Thessaloniki-Istanbul flight will begin as of 6 December with seven flights a week.
Limnos Announces Efforts To Boost Tourism
The Municipality of Limnos gave a press conference during the 28th Philoxenia International Tourism Exhibition and, according to the island’s mayor, Antonis Hatzidiamantis, Limnos is making efforts to attract more tourists from Northern Greece by improving ferry connections from Thessaloniki, either through circular ferry connections with other islands of the Northern Aegean such as Thassos and Samothrace (a request has been filed to the Tourism Ministry) or from Istanbul and the Turkish coast.
In 2015, due to the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli operation, the Municipality of Limnos plans to create excursion routes with the help of cruise ships that will transport visitors from Limnos to Gallipoli.
South Aegean Region Presents New Tourism Strategy For 2013
The regional vice governor of the South Aegean region, Eleftheria Ftaklaki, gave a press conference during the 28th Philoxenia International Tourism Exhibition and presented the region’s new tourism strategy for 2013 that will focus on extroversion, the image revamp of the region’s islands and the utilization of NSRF resources.
During her presentation, Ms. Ftaklaki presented the region’s new logo for the promotion of the South Aegean islands of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese to the domestic and global market. The South Aegean’s new logo contains a colorful windmill and the slogan “Endless Blue.”
Ms. Ftaklaki said the region’s key priority was to extend the tourism season from March to October (today the tourism season runs June-September) so the islands could recover the lost seasons of spring and autumn.
The new tourism strategy for 2013 also includes an “island hopping” scheme that is expected to benefit the region’s smaller islands.
During Philoxenia 2012, the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) traditionally held its award ceremony and honored the best travel agency brochures and websites of the year.
Philoxenia’s tourism awards this year were given to the eight Greek regions that supported this year’s exhibition, namely East Macedonia and Thrace, North Aegean, Western Macedonia, Thessaly, Ionian Islands, Central Macedonia, South Aegean and the Peloponnese.