Destination Thessaloniki: Attracting Conference Tourism to Greece
Developing the northern port city into a prime conference tourism choice was the focus of “Destination Thessaloniki” held at this year’s Philoxenia exhibition.
The workshop was organized by Thessaloniki Convention Bureau (TCB) in collaboration with the Greek National Tourist Organization (GNTO) on the sidelines of the 30th Philoxenia, one of the country’s main tourism and hospitality shows, which ran 13-16 November in Thessaloniki.
Macedonia-Thrace minister George Orphanos stressed the need of an organized plan in order to best utilize what the port city has to offer and pointed out that quick fix solutions haven’t paid off in the past.
Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris made special mention of the municipality’s plans for the city’s promotion within the framework of the Thessaloniki 2030 action plan.
“Tourism is not an end in itself. We start by highlighting the wealth of the city and that is its cultural offerings,” Mr. Boutaris said, adding that plans include the improvement of infrastructure and traffic management. The city’s mayor proposed the creation of a theme-based tourist product along the lines of the chocolate theme park launched at the International Thessaloniki Trade Fair earlier this year.
TCB president Despoina Amarantidou pointed to the need to make the best use of Thessaloniki’s geographical position and the need to adopt an “internationalized modus operandi.
“Making Thessaloniki a city of Europe, a city of the world,” she said.
Mrs. Amarantidou referred to the TCB’s “Ambassadors Program” initiative which aims to support local and professionals to organize conferences in the city. The Ambassadors Program is expected to boost MICE tourism in and around the city by 30 percent in the next five years, she added.