Greece’s participation at this year’s ITB Berlin travel fair once again – as with the 2004 Olympic Games – proved that it only takes commitment for Greece to succeed. The tremendous success of our country’s ITB participation also showed that near miracles can be accomplished when the private and public sector work together for a common goal. And, just as important, both sectors are beginning to realize the importance of marketing.
This year it was almost impossible to find a fellow countryman who wasn’t impressed and proudly excited with the Greek advertising and promotion program carried on throughout the days of the fair. Everywhere you turned within the fair there was a Greek flag or a reminder of Greece. Even Berlin itself dressed its central streets and transportation system with Greek destination reminders. The center of the city even sported a huge Greek destination video wall.
And it wasn’t just the Greeks that were impressed. ITB’s opening ceremonies were broadcast almost everywhere in the country thanks to the fabulous shows enacted by Greek singers Alkistis Protopsalti and Helena Paparizou.
While impressed, most of us are wondering if Greece can keep up the promotion momentum seen during ITB. Yes, the impressive new pavilion concept – the huge Greek pavilion won the coveted ITB award as the best European presentation – will most likely be seen again. And yes, we may even see a slight increase in this year’s promotion and advertising since the previous tourism minister’s plans have been approved and are underway. But without the promise of increased promotional funds for the 2006-2007 campaign we may never see the likes of this year’s Greek presentation ever again.
And without a more in-depth cooperation between the private and public sector, especially concerning advertising and promotion, it’s difficult to imagine a continuation of last month’s commitment to promote Greece.