“New Faces” is a column by GTP that introduces the young professionals of the Greek tourism industry. In each column, the Greek professionals refer to issues related to their profession, the travel & tourism sector and Greece as a destination.
“The most exciting thing about working in tourism is that you need to continuously adjust to new challenges…”
George Semertzakis was born in 1974 in Heraklio, Crete, and is a graduate of Staffordshire University, from where he received a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Business & Financial Economics. George also attended the University of Durham and received an Msc in International & Corporate Finance. His career in the Greek tourism industry includes positions at the Costa Navarino luxury resort (Senior Sales Manager), Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts (Senior Sales Manager), Cretan Pearl Resort & Spa (Director of Sales and Marketing) and Epirus Palace Hotel (Director of Sales). In March 2017 he joined the team of the luxury Kenshō Boutique Hotel & Suites and holds the positions of Director of Sales and Acting Hotel Manager.
- What are the things you like best about your job and how would you describe your hospitality and tourism management philosophy?
The tourism industry itself is a very exciting industry. It is one of the few industries in Greece that gives you the chance to communicate with other nationalities and to open up new prospectives. Especially, during the last few years that this economic turmoil has grounded Greece into very low development, the tourism industry gives you the chance to look ahead with a different prospective and to think positive for the future. As such, you always need to strive in order to offer the best possible services to guests in order for the industry to continue to thrive.
- Have you had to face any challenges in your career to get to where you are today?
There are many challenges that I have overcome and I am sure that there are much more to come. Hospitality, like most industries, is affected by a series of incidents, including economical, political, geographical etc, which can severely affect your planning and your preparations. However, this is the exciting thing about this job. The most exciting thing about working in tourism is that you need to continuously adjust to new challenges and make sure that you are still standing. Sometimes you will not be as successful, but you learn from the mistakes and move forward.
- In regards to hospitality, where do you think Greece needs to improve the most?
This question of course has not only one answer. And since this discussion has been made many times in the past, I am not going to say something new. We all know what we need. I will just highlight a few things, but there are much more with the “same weight” on the scale. We need the right branding/marketing, improved infrastructure, the right planning and targeting and the right education for all of us involved. Like I said, this does not have a simple answer as there are many more other things needed.
- 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?)
Greece has been a tourism destination for many years, so there are not that many secrets left. However, there are some more areas that have not been promoted enough and they can be “the next best thing” in Greece and help in the all year round destination “dream”. I am referring to the mountain areas of Greece. Particularly, the Pindos mountains in Epirus, the Olympus mountain in Pieria, Pelio, etc. These destinations are still unknown, even to the Greeks. These destinations can be the driving force in order to succeed tourism, all 365 days a year. However, it needs a lot of coordination between the public and the private sector and I don’t know how this will be done given the current economic situation. The public sector has limited resources and the private sector is not strong enough.
- If you could pass on a message to the hospitality industry about Greece, what would it be?
Again, I am not going to say something new. Greece is a safe destination, with good and quality services. More important as Greeks we have hospitality in our DNA. Many times, I have come across guests saying that the “x” hotel is perfect or the “x” tavern was brilliant… This is because the personnel offered them an authentic hospitality experience and this is something that you can’t find in many destinations. So as Greeks, besides our economic problems, we are still smiling and welcoming our guests like they are our true friends.
- What are your plans for the future?
My plans? Well, actually to be successful in whatever I do. When I take over a task, I aim to finish it in the best possible way. Those are my plans, to be successful in whatever I am assigned and to continuously learn and improve myself.
- If you didn’t work in the hospitality industry where would you be?
Maybe working in the stock exchange or in a bank or something similar, since my studies are in that sector. However, I have been in the tourism industry for many years and I cannot think of doing something else. I love what I do and I love my job. If I go back to the past, I would choose to do the same.
Connect with George Semertzakis on LinkedIn