During opening ceremonies, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis declared that a total of 596.2 billion drachmas in financing from the EU’s Third Structural Fund would be funnelled into the industry between now and 2006.
Future prospects for Greece’s tourism fair Philoxenia do not look particularly bright. Local tourism professionals went as far as to say this year’s fair was Philoxenia’s last opportunity to present a new face, and it didn’t.
“Except for some interesting side events, for years now Philoxenia has failed to find its role within the general Mediterranean and Balkan area, nor within the country’s future tourism possibilities,” said one leading tourism professional.
Public sector operations, such as Helexpo, he said, are simply unable to create and implement a clear development plan. There is a chance, however, that Helexpo may soon fall into the capable hands of the private sector. Expressions of interest in acquiring a 30% stake, and the management, of Helexpo were accepted last month.
Groups that have submitted expressions of interest, two according to press reports, will be notified if they meet the requirements for participation in the international public tender. Those that do will have until January 26 to submit a proposal. A five-year business plan and marketing strategies are also required.
According to the press reports, 30% of the firm and its management will go to the successful bidder, 40% will remain under state administration, 10% will go to Thessaloniki authorities and the remaining 20% will be listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Meanwhile, back to this year’s Philoxenia, the fair showed that the private sector has progressed by leaps and bounds over the past decade. Not only were exhibition stands particularly well designed, for the most part, but also these same companies took advantage of Philoxenia to launch new products and announce future plans.
Greek Travel Pages was but one such company. Besides an up-market stand, Greek Travel Pages launched its new ‘gtpweb’ Internet site.
Greek Travel Pages invited all tourism professionals at the fair to drop by and sample and explore GTP’s exciting new web site, www.gtpweb.com. Professionals were surprised to find there were more than 17,000 Greek destinations within the site, complete with each destination’s mythology, history and culture, as well as all available information that relates to that locale.
Any domestic location in the site can be found by clicking the “Destination guide” and then any area on the map shown, or through a search by name, code, area code, postal code of classification.
The Gtpweb also includes 30,000 coastal shipping routes, some 10,000 Greek tourism enterprises, art and culture information, and links to other superb Greek tourism-related sites. Soon, a full-fledged accommodation search, complete with hotel and other types of lodging photos, will be incorporated into the site.
Although it is not necessary to register on opening the new site, those that take the time to do so will find they have access to information that is not available to the non-registered user. Registration to surf gtpweb is in two categories: simple user and professional user. Presently, each user explores all gtpweb pages, but in the very near future professional users will have the power to use specific tourism business tools (those marked with key icon).
To successfully complete the gtpweb’s submission form, all information with an * must be filled in. In some cases, N/A (not available) will suffice.