Philoxenia 2009 greeting.
This year’s 25th International Tourism Exhibition Philoxenia takes place amid a global economic crisis with tourism figures that have fallen considerably. In real terms it is a drop that has reduced turnover by 30 percent.
It is encouraging that 2010 will be better than this year.
The crisis has revealed the ongoing weaknesses of the Greek tourism product, but has also highlighted its high strengths and prospects.
The sea and the sun are no longer enough to improve Greece’s competitiveness in the tourism industry and our country needs a diversified tourism product. The development of alternative forms of tourism is the only way to prolong the tourism season in combination with the establishment of a national exhibition and conference policy.
Finally, of major importance is the strategic planning to attract new airlines, especially to our regional destinations; better shipping connections to the island chain; and the lifting of cabotage to support cruise in Greece.
Also the transformation of the GNTO and the Civil Aviation Authority into tourism promotion agencies and marketing services in combination with a successful advertising campaign would surely deliver immediate results.
The formation of a new national strategy and modern framework for the tourism development of our country should be the priority of the new government.
With this wish we welcome the tourism professionals to the hospitable city of Thessaloniki, our beautiful Macedonia!