By Maria Paravantes
Why Greece? It’s hospitable, safe, a value for money, offering a quality product at good prices. Why the Greek island of Rhodes? It’s diversity, the sheer variety and caliber of its offerings and the warmth of its people. These in a nutshell, according to Andonis Cambourakis, Vice President of the Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers (POX) and President of the Rhodes Hotel Association, are the reasons to visit Greece and then head to the Dodecanese island of Rhodes.
Speaking to the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) during the World Travel Market (WTM) in London earlier this week, Mr Cambourakis explained that it is primarily the human factor that sets Greece and Rhodes apart as a destination.
“Greek accommodation has achieved high levels of quality and what sets it apart from other destinations is its exuberant Greek hoteliers. Greek tourism is based on the Greek hotelier and the high quality of services offered together with an unbeatable feeling of hospitality,” he explains.
“You could say it’s a warm Greek embrace with a European quality.”
“Hotels in Greece are not and will not be isolated in certain parts of town away from the rest of society, their doors are open to the community and thus the visitor is made part of that community,” he adds.
Despite the positive figures for 2015, Mr Cambourakis does not mince his words: “Greek tourism has indeed achieved impressive figures but this is not enough, we cannot and should not rest on our laurels. We must focus on setting goals for 2016 and 2017, which are expected to be very difficult due to circumstances outside Greece and having nothing to do with what tourism is all about: tranquility.”
“Our goal should be to return to ‘normalcy’ after the refugee crisis and the financial turmoil that gave Greece and Greek hospitality an image it did not deserve,” Mr Cambourakis adds.
Describing the recent VAT hike in accommodation as a “tragic development”, Mr Cambourakis explains it will hinder the “smooth operation of our businesses”, and adds that the state must instead offer hoteliers incentives so that they can keep up with the growing demands of the market and maintain the high level of quality services and infrastructure achieved in the previous years.
“In this way, they can honor the visitor and prove that his preference and decision to visit Greece was well made and worth it.”