In the midst of yet another international crisis, and a slow economy, Greeks took full advantage of this year’s Panorama tourism fair, the eighth, in hopes of finding some special deals and domestic holiday possibilities this year.Exhibitors said they were truly surprised at the numbers and the level of visitors to this year’s fair. Most had to get a special delivery of additional brochures and promotional material in order to satisfy demand.
The fair’s organizers, the Kalofolias Group, said the fair surpassed their initial expectations in every respect. “The exhibition welcomed more than 43,800 visitors and it hosted about 400 exhibition stands where there were some 600 exhibitors,” said the group.
Three side events at this year’s fair were of particular interest: the Kapa Research’s third annual survey on domestic tourism; a seminar on “Tourism in the International Environment, Forms of Cooperation;” and a professional presentation by the Ionian Island Prefecture, which was the honorary Greek destination at this year’s fair.
According to the domestic tourism survey, some 60% of Greek households said the present economic situation would affect their vacation plans this year. They said the situation would force them to take more economic holidays this year. But some 31% of those surveyed said they still planned on taking an average of three domestic trips this year – most during the summer, Easter and Christmas.
And although almost everyone said they would spend less this year, more than 16% said they would spend around 1,500 euros on their holidays this year. Another 22% said they would hold expenses down to between 601 to 900 euros, while another 22% of those surveyed said they would spend from 301 to 600 euros on their vacation this year.
More than 84% of all surveyed said they would prefer to take their summer vacation, an average of two weeks, during July and August.
Overnights for the most part are split among hotels, rented rooms and summer homes, but the study saw an increase this year in the number of those preferring their summer home compared with other lodgings.
Concerning lodgings, the most important aspect is cleanliness (84%). A similar percentage considers Greek tourism services fair to good.
The “Tourism in the International Environment, Forms of Cooperation,” which was organized by the Kalofolias Group and the Hellenic Association of Travel & Tourism Agents, included speakers from both home and abroad.
They all stressed the need to search for cooperation opportunities and to join forces within all areas of tourism activity. Only in this way, they said, can we increase the possibilities to develop Greek tourism and to reinforce its bases so as to meet the ever-increasing demands of the international marketplace.
They agreed that Greece was far behind in the area of cooperation, which means the country is not able to take advantage of present opportunities.
Panorama’s honorary destination, the Ionian Islands, is one of the first such destinations to take true advantage of the fair. Under the leadership of Anastasia Kanellopoulou, secretary general of the Ionian Islands Prefecture, and also president of the non-profit Ionian Island Tourism Company, the islands were the stars at the fair.
Its stand was not only extremely well run, but the destination also made sure it was heard. It held press dinners, island presentations and got deeply involved in every aspect of the fair, including taking part in the fair’s seminars. In all, an example all other prefectures should follow.