By Nikos Krinis
For four days, Greece’s active, explorer and adventure travel options were promoted to tourism professionals and travel agents from abroad at the Nostos Expo 2016, the first international meeting for alternative tourism in Greece.
The exhibition took place October 14-17 in the coastal town of Nafpaktos in western Greece, in a specially designed area.
“Considering that this was the first Nostos Greek Alternative Expo, we are quite satisfied by its results and the impression it made on both visitors and exhibitors”, said Nafpaktos Mayor Panagiotis Loukopoulos.
The aim of the exhibition was to introduce Greece’s alternative tourism side to visitors and foreign travel agents and contribute to establishing Greece as an all year round destination.
During Nostos Expo, more than 90 exhibitors had the chance to present their products — that referred to alternative tourism forms such as thermal springs, hiking, trekking, sports, gastronomy — to a large number of visitors that came to Nafpaktos from all over Greece.
The expo also served as a platform of communication for Greek professionals to present their products — and contribute to the expansion of the tourism season — through pre-set B2B meetings with 31 hosted buyers from 25 travel agencies from nine countries including Austria, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Greece, Cyprus, Serbia, Russia and Israel. According to the organizer, a total of 674 B2B meetings were held.
A series of conference events took place on the sidelines of the Nostos Expo 2016 that focused on the prospects and opportunities offered by alternative forms of tourism in Greece.
Among the basic conclusions of the conference sessions was that cooperation between the public and private sectors is essential in order to create the appropriate alternative tourism product to offer international visitors. In regards to appropriate infrastructure needed to support alternative tourism forms, all speakers underlined the important role of each destination’s local authorities.
Sessions of the conference touched on various forms of alternative tourism, for which there are many development opportunities throughout Greece, such as hiking tourism, cycling tourism, spa/wellness tourism and agritourism (or agrotourism).
Nostos Expo happenings
Moreover, activities and sports demonstrations were featured on the sidelines of the exhibition in specially designed outdoor spaces.
Mountain biking: In a specially equipped mountain bike track in front of the exhibition’s entrance, Greece’s representative at the Olympics Dimitris Antoniadis and champions Orpheus Syrigos and Basilis Ziakas showed off the sport to an audience of fans.
Archery: Opposite the main entrance of the exhibition, the archers of Hellas Archery and the sports club of the Greek Federation of Archery “Pelopas” Patras introduced all to the sport of archery.
Kite surfing: With the wind as their ally, the sea athletes of the Nautical Lepanto club presented one of the most impressive sports to a lively audience.
The four-day expo also included gastronomy events, music performances and a prize draw.
“The first Nostos Greek Alternative Tourism Expo has shown that alternative tourism can be the key for the further development of the Greek tourism product and can also help in extending the tourism season”, aid the Deputy Mayor of Nafpaktos and head of the Nostos Greek Alternative Tourism Expo organizing committee, Yiannis Sypsas.
“The results of this first attempt motivates us to begin our efforts as of today in order to make the next exhibition even better”, he added.
Nostos Expo 2016 was organized by the Municipality of Nafpaktos and supported by local businesses including hotels and restaurants. The exhibition was held under the auspices of the Tourism Ministry, the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), the General Secretariat of Sports, the General Secretariat for Youth and the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE).