By Maria Paravantes on Santorini
Tourism as a field of study, the challenges, solutions and trends as seen through the eyes of academics is the focus of a three-day meeting on the island of Santorini organized by the University of the Aegean and Heliotopos Conferences.
Held at the Petros M Nomikos Conference Center in Fira, the first day of conference proceedings covered a wide scope of tourism-related issues including the potential of Athens as an emerging destination, uncontrolled tourism construction and spatial planning, the role of airports in destination development, the impact of ecotourism entrepreneurship on local communities, the role of low cost carriers (LCCs) in developing emerging tourist destinations, sustainable forms of tourism as well as terrorist incidents and tourism demand, managing crowds and carrying capacity at popular tourism destinations.
Day 1 concluded with a round-table discussion on the subject of destination management which focused on the urgent need to move from marketing to management.
All delegates agreed that each destination must create PPPs (public-private partnerships) in the form of DMOs (destination management organization) that will not only market a region but also be able to manage as well as draw up contingency plans for potential crisis situations.
Santorini Mayor Nikos Zorzos underlined the need for a legal framework that will allow local governments to implement decisions thus cutting red tape and saving time.
The president of the Santorini Hoteliers Association, Manolis Karamolegos, underlined the need to regulate illegal home sharing practices and added that besides the impact on the hospitality sector, the practice has also distorted local society with entire settlements being abandoned by locals and turning into tourist towns with no local color.
The IMIC congress – including both the 5th Aegean University Tourism meet and the 13th IMIC conference – will run through to October 21.
The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is a media sponsor of the IMIC 2017 International Conference.