Attracting tourists to Larissa was at the center of the region’s Hoteliers Association promotional campaign presented to international tour operators at the World Travel Market (WTM) earlier this month.
Seven-, eight- and 15-day travel packages with everything from hiking and rafting to over-50 trekking and canyoning are part of the association’s promotional campaign of the Thessaly region in central Greece. Larissa entrepreneurs, in the meantime, are primarily targeting the German and UK markets in efforts to promote Larissa as a destination while tourists visit the wider Thessaly region.
“As professionals we can promote our products on the market and we know who to speak to. The Larissa Hoteliers Association has prepared special package tours based on the offerings of the Larissa region, including Mt. Olympus and Mt. Kissavos trails as well as our 20km shoreline,” Larissa Hotelier Association marketing manager, Tasos Gousios, told GTP.
“Larissa has no airport but it is serviced by the Nea Anchialos National Airport. It’s really not about what Larissa does not have but about making the best use of what we do have,” Mr, Gousios added.
Mr. Gousios made special mention of the 7th Artfools Film Festival and the Mt. Olympus World Ski Mountaineering Cup set to take place in February.
Graduate studies at University of Thessaly
In the meantime, a new graduate program, the first in tourism and culture, was introduced in October at the University of Thessaly. Under the title “Planning and Development of Tourism and Culture” the one-year program is already running for 2014-15.
“We are the first to draw up marketing plans for cities like Larissa and Kozani,” Alex Deffner, professor of Urban and Leisure Planning at the University of Thessaly, told GTP.
“It’s not by chance that all these activities and development are taking place in Thessaly right now… we’ve always said – especially when we tried to introduce a tourism planning course – that a tourist destination like Thessaly must have a distinct identity,” Mr. Deffner explained