By Maria Paravantes & Nikos Krinis in Berlin
For Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) CEO Filip Boyen (photo), Greece is excellent value for money, it has exactly what it takes to become a leading luxury destination.
Speaking to the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) during its Berlin Showcase 2017 held in the Shan Rahimkhan Salon on Tuesday, Boyen stressed that the economic crisis has only given Greece the opportunity to become even better.
”I think Greece is still excellent value for money. Number 1 because I love the country… It’s not only the weather, it’s people, it’s food, it’s history and culture. So you have all the ingredients to be a luxury destination.”
Boyen adds that Greece has benefitted from the recent instability in the region. ”Over the last two years you’ve [Greece] been sort of lucky with the problems in Turkey, in Egypt, in the region, and that has given a lot of people the opportunity to visit Greece, and I think this will be very important for the future. I am 100 percent sure that this was a journey of discovery for most people. They had the opportunity now to visit and I am sure they will be back,’’ he said.
During the Berlin event, representatives from several boutique hotels in Puglia, Provence, Lake Como and Forte de Marmi – all meeting the stringent SLH criteria – were there to talk business. Greece currently has 39 hotels – many on Santorini and Mykonos – belonging to the SLH group. Boyen explained that out of the 1,000 requests submitted every year, a mere 5 percent meet the 730 standards annually assessed.
”The criteria is to be independent, no brand names, to be small, because our average size is 48 rooms. The hotel has to have a lot of character… it can be culture, it can be history, it can be authenticity but what we like a lot is hotels that have been handed down from generation to generation because they are embedded in the community, they are in a great position to show the client the best of the destination because they’ve been there for so long,’’ Boyen told the GTP.
Experience and Emotions
Boyen was quick to add that proprietors must also be knowledgeable and have a ”vision for luxury’’.
”We need quality, we need consistency because the travel trade deserves it, because the consumer deserves it and I want the owner to be proud to be part of the SLH.’’
Though Boyen expressed optimism about the future of luxury travel to Greece, he did add a piece of advice: ‘’Greece has great potential but care must be taken not to over-build and not to over-price. I’ve seen it so many times… if governments are not smart and they over- build and over-price, they kill it. There should be a level of value for money, always.’’