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Aristotelis Thomopoulos

Aristotelis Thomopoulos, President HELEXPOPresident,

Philoxenia 2009 greeting.

In the midst of the global economic crisis, Helexpo, the national exhibition center of Greece, has managed to place the 25th International Tourism Exhibition Philoxenia and the Hotel Equipment Exhibition Hotelia in the limelight of the European exhibition sector. This is due to the flexible services Philoxenia offers to exhibitors and visitors, but also because of this year’s “2nd European Tourism Conference” under the theme “Travel & Tourism: The Day After-From Recession to Growth” that will include very timely topics.

Apart from holding the status of one of the most profitable forms of tourism worldwide, exhibitions are also considered an “antidote” for businesses to fight the global economic crisis as they offer two key services: exposure and contacts with customers.

However, apart from the cost, are all exhibitions the same? The answer is no. Exhibitions are distinguished according to their quantitative data (which focus on visitor and exhibitor figures) and their qualitative data that reviews the performance of participating companies and each exhibitor’s investment. These services guarantee the goal of enhanced promotion and active contact with customers by optimizing the progress of the funds that are spent and ultimately achieving to boost sales.

Within this framework, Helexpo and the 25th Philoxenia provide services of added values that are the best way to increase sales. These services include the ExpoPartenariat, the electronic market AfterExpoMarket, the Helexpo Club and the Extra Promo Manual.

As of this year’s Thessaloniki International Fair, held in September, Helexpo now applies a new pricing policy to further support businesses amid the crisis. The new policy sees the reduction of the total cost of exhibition space and venue construction with high-level alternative venue options while free accommodation in 4- and 5-star hotels and free air tickets are also provided. The result is the reduction of the total participation cost up to 50 percent while additional opportunities for the funding of the exhibition space are available. Expenses can be met through 24 monthly payments with no interest charge, depending on the Helexpo exhibition in question.

Ultimately, just as the one-dimensional “sun and sea” model of Greek tourism has not boosted incoming tourism nor increased the foreign exchange inflow for many years, the exhibition sector in general and the tourism industry in particular must be targeted, differentiated and competitive.

As we all know, the final impacts of the crisis on Greek tourism were significantly smaller than originally expected but are not considered unimportant. Therefore, major international figures will participate in the 2nd European Tourism Conference of Philoxenia that we are organizing with Europress Media Group and holding under the auspices of the Culture and Tourism Ministry. All together we will explore the “day after” and discover how we can meet the gradual economic recovery and development of the tourism product after this recession.

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About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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