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Zakynthos Looking to Raise the Bar, Eyeing Alternative Tourism

Zakynthos. Photo © Panos Karas / Shutterstock

Aiming to take the popular island of Zakynthos to the next level, tourism authorities and professionals are looking into ways to tap into alternative forms of tourism in efforts to bring added value to the island, which is particularly known for its “party atmosphere” and for the famous Navagio (Shipwreck) Beach.

Prompted by a recent survey which ranked the Ionian island relatively low as an alternative travel option, the island’s hoteliers discussed during their general assembly this week ways to promote Zakynthos’ alternative and special interest offerings which include cycling, diving, and gastronomy tourism, among others.

Referring to the need to expand its offerings, Laganas Hotel Association President Christina Tetradi said Zakynthos “has been orientated towards the ‘sea and sun’ model based on seasonality and relying largely on major tour operators”.

Tetradi, who is also vice president of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, added that the island has much more to offer, “an ideal destination for visitors of all ages due to the vast array of options”. At the same time, she underlined that tourism generates considerable income for Zakynthos, “offering jobs directly or indirectly to more than 15,000 professionals”.

Navagio beach, Zakynthos

Tetradi said it was time to tap into the available offerings and transform these into “a product and in turn establish a dynamic brand name that will attract tourists in higher socioeconomic brackets”.

“Compared to other Greek destinations and in terms of alternative tourism, Zakynthos is not performing as we expected, which means that there are prospects to develop alternative forms of tourism, addressed towards a different visitor of a higher quality and higher standard of living, who will complement our tourist product and stimulate our local economy,” said Thodoris Kolpondinos, head of the Tsilivi Hoteliers Association.

Other issues discussed included high taxation and its impact on competitiveness, infrastructure needs, as well as the need to change mentalities and practices with regard to waste management and environmental protection.

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