By Maria Paravantes in Berlin
Quality, authenticity and consistency, the three factors, according to Spyros Galiatsatos, Vice Governor of Tourism & Promotion for the Ionian Islands Region that will keep travelers coming to Greece.
Speaking to the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) on the sidelines of the ITB Berlin this week, Galatsiatos explains that ”like everything else in life, tourism too is in flux’’.
‘’There has been a reversal of practice. In the past, it was the entrepreneur who provided the product, today the same entrepreneur is expected to adapt or create the product based on the specific demands of the client. So now the customer sets the pace – he says, I have this much money and I want this,” Galatsiatos told the GTP, adding that in Greece this comes on top of the fact that the tourism professional is now expected on the one hand to satisfy the customer but at the same time due to the crisis minimize his gains.”
Representing the Ionian island cluster – Kerkyra, Paxi, Lefkada, Ithaki, Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Kythira – Galiatsatos told the GTP that it is vital to reexamine the operation of the sector and reconsider whether the extension of the tourism period is feasible and desired by all parties involved.
“Any approach must first place the human element at its center. Do all tourism professionals want to work all year round?’’
He is quick to point out that nothing can be achieved in the long term if there hasn’t been careful preparation before. By attending events like the ITB, we gain valuable insight and feedback which helps us – those who have done the homework – to distinguish the needs, to rectify the problem areas and at the same time to collect the rewards of the actions taken,” he explains.
Besides the traditional markets, the Ionian isles have now begun to attract South Korean, Turkish and French travelers.
As for the different “types” of tourism, Galatsiatos is daring in his answer. ”When you offer hospitality to a visitor it goes without saying that you offer everything – all these so-called forms of tourism – quality, good food, nice sights, warm company… so in essence an overall rewarding experience. This is what tourism is all about.”