The promotion of Kos — one of the islands at the centre of the refugee crisis — is a strategic priority for 2017, Greek Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura said during a meeting with South Aegean Prefect George Hatzimarkos on Wednesday. The meeting took place at the Tourism Ministry in Athens and was also attended by the president of the Dodecanese Chamber Yiannis Pappou and MPs from the Dodecanese.
One of the main actions announced was that Kos will be included for a second year in the country’s marketing and promotional plan to leading tour operators in Europe and Russia to increase travel packages to Greece.
As underlined by Minister Kountoura, Kos’ reputation as a tourism destination is showing signs of recovery.
While referring to the ministry’s contacts with leading tour operators, she listed those that agreed to expand their 2016 programs for Kos and launch new air routes and travel packages to the island next year.
Tour operators TUI Germany, Thomas Cook and Neckermann Reisen have expanded their programs to the island until October and TUI Austria recently announced the launch of two weekly flights to the Dodecanese island in 2017. Other good news for Kos includes the announcement made by the UK’s Jet2 Holidays that it will add seat capacity and increase travel packages to the island in 2017.
Kos promotion in 2017
During the meeting, the minister said that the targeted actions for Kos launched this year, which helped the image of the destination recover, would continue in 2017 in direct cooperation with the Region, the local government and the private sector.
Following negative media portrayal of Kos due to the ongoing refugee crisis, during the 2016 season the ministry gave extra promotion to the island aiming to boost its tarnished image.
In 2016 Kos received extra publicity by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) through the visitgreece.gr website and via global online travel platforms and satellite television networks and was promoted in the a campaign to boost last minute bookings to Greece.
Additional actions included the island’s privileged participation in international tourism exhibitions and promotion in a video campaign of the Athens News Agency that was distributed to foreign markets via the GNTO offices abroad. Kos was also included in a special program with attractive hotel rates to attract Greek tourists.
Since the start of the year, the GNTO has scheduled over 20 familiarization trips for tour operators, travel bloggers and foreign journalists on Kos. These fam trips will continue in October.
Moreover, during the meeting it was announced that plans for the 2017 Greek tourism season include the promotion of thematic products such as conference tourism, sea tourism, sports tourism and gastronomy tourism. The ministry is also planning new cooperations with leading foreign tour operators in view of agreements to be made for travel packages and flight plans for 2017.