The thirty-ninth international tourism industry exhibition Xenia was recently held in Athens under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism Development and the Greek National Tourism Organization, and was sponsored by Aegean Airlines.
Health and Social Solidarity Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos inaugurated the exhibition and characterized it as a “proposal for quality,” as Xenia, “is now well recognized as a serious and reliable institution of Greek tourism.”
Secretary general of the tourism development ministry, Spyros Efstathopoulos, was present in place of Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos, who was in China during the exhibition. Mr. Efstathopoulos asserted, “The greatest bet in Greek tourism is to make our comparative advantage into a competitive advantage.”
The annual Xenia exhibition is, according to the organizers, “a point of reference for the tourism industry.” They claim, “It allows for an appropriate business climate where representatives from the sleep, food and beverage and entertainment sector can meet suppliers, but also for forums on contemporary issues concerning the tourism industry.”
The Council of Ideas and Actions (SID), of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises, held a forum during the exhibition in cooperation with Xenia under the theme “Destinations-limitations, we entertain on the planet.” The forum asserted, through a number of key speakers, the need to create a new tourism dogma where the protection of the environment is a pivotal aim.
An example of this was SETE’s “Green Room” open to visitors throughout the exhibition, which allowed insight into the construction of a bedroom and bathroom with environmentally friendly material. President of SID, Alexandros Aggelopoulos, said: “The construction of the green room must impress as an idea, as we have the power and the responsibility to renew our contract with the planet, and this visual aid aims to be a stimulant for the steps we must take.”
Guest speakers presented models of environmental management and “ideas, solutions and thoughts in this direction.” Dr. Panagiotis Karamanos, manager of environmental services at Athens International Airport, spoke about the airport as a pioneer in environmental concern. He said: “Athens International Airport aims for the responsible and efficient management of all environmental issues that arise from the airport’s operation, based on the principles of sustainable growth and continuous improvement of its environmental policy.”
Additional guest speakers included Amalia Karagouni, professor of microbiology at the University of Athens, who talked about “Protected zones: their contribution to tourism,” and George Vasilakos, president and managing director of Johnson Diversey, a leading global provider of commercial cleaning and hygiene products and solutions, who spoke about “Green hotels: A journey to sustainable cleaning.”
The closing of the thirty-ninth Xenia exhibition, according to organizers, essentially “opens the way for the fortieth anniversary of the institution that will be marked by cooperation with EuroPartners, a dynamic member of the Association of Greek Exhibitions and Conferences Organisers, which will host the first Exclusive Tourism Forum in 2008.”