GTP has launched a weekly column that introduces the young professionals in the Greek hospitality industry. Every week, a young Greek entrepreneur will refer to issues related to their profession, the travel & tourism sector and Greece as a destination.
“I don’t just like my job, I love it!”
Anna Karamitsou was born in Athens, Greece but moved to the Kingdom of Bahrain when she was just over a month old. In 1996, she returned to Greece to complete her secondary education. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English & History from the University of Leeds and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of the West of England. In 2012, she settled back to Greece and her hometown of Milos Island.
She has over a decade of experience in the travel industry having worked as a travel editor, written for travel publications on a freelance basis and worked as a PR manager specialising on Travel, Tourism & Hospitality.
In 2013, Anna and her sister, Eirini, decided to restore and renovate their Milos home and create their Boutique Luxury Suites “Eiriana”. She now lives on Milos Island with her husband and young son and runs/manages Eiriana Luxury Suites which is open all year round. Her family also runs a small farm which produces all the local products that are used in the breakfast served at Eiriana.
Anna is also very active in local tourism initiatives and is part of a working group that aims for the promotion of Milos Tourism.
- What are the things you like best about your job and how would you describe your hospitality and tourism management philosophy?
The truth is I don’t just “like” my job, I “love” it! There is a great sense of fulfillment in a job where on a daily basis, I have both the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and from all walks of life, and be able to show them the wonderful island that Milos is. The hospitality and tourism management philosophy that I uphold is to successfully blend modern luxury services with traditional Greek hospitality.
- Have you had to face any challenges in your career to get to where you are today?
Like many young people, I was a “child” of the economic crisis in Greece. I, too, found myself unemployed in 2010, and had to opt between going abroad to find a job, or returning to my home town, as job opportunities in Athens were non existent. This was a very difficult time in my life and I lacked direction, but now, looking back, I feel the crisis was just the incentive I needed to create something wonderful, and what better place to do this then on beautiful Milos.
- In regards to hospitality, where do you think Greece needs to improve the most?
I feel the most serious issue in almost every Greek sector is the battle against bureaucratic and archaic procedures. Furthermore, although efforts have been made in this direction, Greece is still very behind in its classification of tourism accommodation, which often means tourists book expecting one type of accommodation, and find themselves staying in something all-together different. The concept of “boutique”, for example, is often one open to (mis)interpretation in the Greek hospitality sector.
- What is your region’s best kept “secret”? (In other words, what shouldn’t be a secret in your opinion and should be promoted more abroad?)
Milos has recently received the recognition it deserves, primarily and justifiably as one of the islands with the most beautiful beaches in Greece, selected beaches having made several Greek and international “best of” lists. Although the images of Kleftiko, the lunar landscape of Sarakiniko and the dreamy seaside village of Klima prevail, Milos is so much more. It has all types of tourism; sea, walking, health & well being, ecclesiastical, archaeological, cultural etc. In addition, having over 80 beautiful beaches means that the significance of the Catacombs of Milos — the most important early Christian monument in Greece and only second largest to the ones of Rome — is often overlooked.
- If you could pass on a message to the global hospitality and tourism industry about Greece, what would it be?
That Greece is an all-year-round destination not just a sea and sun destination. Athens and Thessaloniki are both fantastic city break locations, and Greece has ski resorts that can compete with the finest worldwide.
- What are your plans for the future?
Owning any business is a never ending quest for improvement; we have a long term plan that includes expanding our infrastructure and providing extra services and facilities to make our guests’ stay even more memorable. This, however, is part and parcel of our constant strive to promote Milos as a destination, and make continuous efforts in this direction.
- If you didn’t work in the hospitality industry where would you be?
I can’t imagine myself not working in hospitality. I have over a decade of experience in the travel sector; any other industry would be foreign to me! Despite many setbacks, this industry is the backbone of the Greek economy, and I am happy and proud to be part of the rich, ever-evolving tapestry that is Greek tourism.
Connect with Anna Karamitsou on LinkedIn