“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.
“There are very few places in the world that can actually give you the opportunity to experience the absolute diversity and Greece is one of them.”
Lydia was born in Athens in 1987 and raised in a bilingual environment as her mother is German. She completed her studies on Hospitality at the Advanced School of Tourism Education of Rhodos (ASTER) and received her Master of Business Administration (MBA) in negotiation and conflict resolution (MBA/MSNCR) from Creighton University. Her career in tourism began at TUI Hellas, where she worked from 2008 until 2015. Lydia has gained experience in various positions in the sector, her last being Destination Manager for GPA/Travelplan as incoming project manager. Lydia is currently working as the Sales & Marketing Manager at Avance Rent a Car. She is fluent in Greek, German and English. Lydia describes herself as a passionate traveler, in love with photography and nature’s natural beauty.
- What are the things you like best about your job and how would you describe your hospitality and tourism management philosophy?
I adore traveling, being able to exchange opinions with various people involved in the industry, learn something new each day and have the ability to see a brighter future, not only for me but also for the company I work for. The individuality of tourism is that the main factor of your job – people – changes every single minute. And this is the most fascinating thing about it. Every day you have to change, evolve, adapt, break the limits, create and start over again the next day. I strongly support the “if not me, then who?” quote and this is the only way I can go home at ease after a full working day .
- Have you had to face any challenges in your career to get to where you are today?
I consider myself lucky because I am actually doing what I studied, in a form at least, which is rather rare nowadays in Greece. Being part of a multinational company some years back, it was inevitable to strive daily to prove you belonged there, not only as a young person but also as a woman. Today I stand proud of myself, not so much for my professional achievements. I hope there will be many more in the future to present, but for the fact that I have adapted and evolved enough to continue in this field and to still maintain the “true me” and by that being able today to work for people appreciating not only what I can offer business wise but also on a personal basis.
- In regards to hospitality, where do you think Greece needs to improve the most?
We are depending way too much on the fact that we are all born in a “touristic country”. There are many people still involved in the hospitality business that do not have the proper training or that are involved in the business plainly by chance. This is an essential burden that we need to shake off. Hospitality professionals must motivate their people to learn, to love their job, to take initiatives and to learn to accept responsibility. We need happy people offering hospitality and travel services. The world is an endless place but we are lucky enough to be in Greece so… let’s make the most of it!
- What would you say is Greece’s best kept “secret”? (In other words, what shouldn’t be a secret in your opinion and should be promoted more abroad?)
For me Athens is a magical city. Although a capital that includes everything such as as traffic and noise, you can still find peace of mind and beauty. For me the best thing you can do while traveling in any part of Greece, is to take a day to “feel” Athens. Walk downtown, grab some street food, have a drink and just feel the “Athens effect” deep inside your soul!
- What is your favorite place/city/beach in Greece and why?
I’m in love with the northern part of Greece, Halkidiki in particular and especially with the second peninsula.It may lack the glamor and high life of the first one but you can rebuilt yourself in the tranquility of its deep green-blue waters, reboot and re-estimate your goals, hopes and thoughts. Kavourotripes and Karidi beach have captured my heart forever with their crystal-clear waters and sense of tranquility. I imagine opening a window of a house next to the water and inhaling the sea breeze in the morning.
- If you could pass on a message to the hospitality industry about Greece, what would it be?
We have changed, we have evolved. The triptych “sea-sun-fun” still exists but Greece has so much more to offer! At each and every corner you can combine free time, culture, business, relax, adventure and romance. There are very few places in the world that can actually give you the opportunity to experience the absolute diversity and Greece is one of them.
- What are your plans for the future?
Being already almost a year in my thirties, I have promised myself that for at least the next ten years, I will do things that will broaden my mind. Travel, experience, learn, live. I am happy and content today for my job, my life. But in ten years from now I want to look back and be sure I did the best I could; worked hard and lived as much as possible. It is not always easy to keep a balance between those two, but I believe we will eventually find out how essential it is in the future, but then we will not be able to change neither of those. I like to think of the saying of Onassis “At your job you must be serious but at life you must be crazy”.
- If you didn’t work in the hospitality industry where would you be?
I like to think of myself as a peoples person, so I guess I wouldn’t go far from the business I am in at the moment. Anything involving interaction with interesting people, challenges and travel intrigues me. Luckily, hospitality is such a wide sector that I always find a new challenge. The possibilities are endless and our world – our hospitality world – offers so many opportunities for us to make the most out of it. The fact that I can stimulate my brain daily with new ideas, thoughts and projects makes me think that maybe, just maybe, some people are truly born to be in the hospitality business and that I am one of them.
Connect with Lydia Tsekoura on LinkedIn