The ASTA Destination Expo, to be held in Athens during April 14-17, 2018, is expected to boost inbound tourism from the United States to Greece, according to Robert Duglin, vice president of business and development, meetings and events for the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
“I think business will certainly double for Greece in 2019 and beyond,” Duglin told Greek travel agents and tour operators on Friday during a meeting in Athens. Approximately 208 US travel agents have already registered to attend the ASTA Destination Expo so far, with the number expected to reach 350 to 400 by April 2018.
During the expo, US and Greek travel agents and tour operators will have the opportunity to network, negotiate and establish new partnerships through B2B meetings. Furthermore, pre- and post-event tours will be held to a number of Greek destinations, including Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Corfu and Rethymno on Crete.
“US travel agents are coming to see what is unique in Greece: The culture, the food, the tours, the new things that are being offered… unique experiences that people will be able to take back home and share with their clients,” Duglin told GTP Headlines.
US “millenials” seek experiences
According to Duglin, today’s US travel agents and travelers seek new experiences. “We are starting to broaden people’s horizons on what there is to see and do in Greece. They are a new generation of people selling travels…The Americans back in the ’60s or the ’70s traveled differently but today they like to explore and get more into a destination’s culture”.
Furthermore, young travelers – the so called “millenials” – do not have as much disposable income as the older generation, but they spend a higher percentage of their income on experiences. “They may not make as much money, but they are spending more on restaurants, travel, hotel and experiences,” Duglin underlined.
They also tend to use travel agencies, when seeking new experiences.”We find millenials using travel agencies maybe more than the older generations, because they need someone who is an expert in this area to search on their behalf. For that we use the term ‘curated experiences’ or ‘hand-chosen’,” Duglin said.
ASTA is among the world’s largest associations of travel professionals. It currently counts 8,944 members from 3,586 US companies or agencies, while also representing the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA).