Greece’s tourism leadership and associations should launch a closer cooperation with their Israeli counterparts to discover the exact needs of Israeli travelers, the managing director of the Israel Tourist & Travel Agents Association, Yossi Fatael, recently informed Greek hoteliers, travel agents and investors.
The Greek tourism professionals and representatives of leading investment companies were among the 100 entrepreneurs that accompanied Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on his recent official visit to Israel.
In a meeting in Tel Aviv on 8 October, Mr. Fatael advised the Greek side to conduct qualitative research to attract more arrivals to Greece from Israel.
The association’s managing director stressed that Greece has a huge potential to attract more Israeli tourists but must adjust its product and offer authentic experiences.
“Do not just create (sun and sea) packages and try to sell them… Israeli travelers are seeking for local experiences,” he said.
Greece needs to promote its destinations
Israeli travelers opt for the Greek islands, as the country’s mainland has yet to be discovered by Israeli travel agents, according to Mr. Fatael. He added that Israelis currently opt for family travel packages.
The association’s managing director said Greek and Israeli travel agents should work together to offer a “Mediterranean experience” and sell both countries to long haul travelers through joint travel packages.
The Israel population sums up to 7 million and 1,6 million travel abroad at least two times per year (3,8 million outbound trips). Each year Israel experiences a 5-10 percent increase in outbound tourism.
On the topic of investments, Mr. Fatael said that not many Israeli businessmen have invested in Greek real estate.
“The recession holds back investments due to insecurity but there is money in Israel ready to be invested,” he said.
Israeli travelers speak out on social media
The meeting with the Greek tourism professionals became quite interactive once Mr. Fatael turned to social media to find out what Israelis seek when choosing a holiday destination.
During the meeting, Israeli consumers – via social media – informed Mr. Fatael that they are highly interested in traveling to Greece and opt mainly for theme tours, special interest tours (culinary, photography, trekking & hiking) and winter excursions.
Among the many comments Mr. Fatael received on his social media account, the most preferred Greek destination mentioned by the Israelis was Northern Greece.
When generally discussing Greece as a destination for their vacation, some consumers found the country overpriced and difficult to access. “Direct flights from Ben Gurion Airport to Athens, Thessaloniki or Kavala are needed,” an Israeli social media user told Mr. Fatael and the Greek professionals during the meeting.
The Greek tourism professionals and representatives of leading investment companies that met with the managing director of the Israel Travel Agents Association included (in alphabetical order): Aggelopoulos Konstantinos, Investment Manager at Invest in Greece; Alexopoulos Charis, Managing Director of Domotechniki SA (representing also Domotel Hotels and Resorts); Katopis Katerina, Director at Dolphin Capital Partners; Dimitriou Dimitris, Special Advisor to the General Secretary of Public Property; Metaxas Andreas, CEO at Metaxas Group of Companies; Papagiannakis Dimitrios, Non Executive Director & Legal Advisor at Titania Hotel Enterprises; Papachristou Dimitris, Chairman & CEO at BuildUp real estate development and investment; and Theofanopoulou Maria, CEO of GTP, Danae.travel, Danae Airlines and Member of the board of HATTA & SETE.