A number of ways to promote religious tourism in Peloponnese were presented by the Peloponnese Tourism Organization, during the 3rd Panhellenic Conference on Religious Tourism, held recently in the town of Pyrgos.
Organized by the Pyrgos Hoteliers Association, the Region of Western Greece, the Municipality of Pyrgos and the Holy Metropolis of Ilia among other organizations, the event hosted representatives of Greece’s Holy Metropolises, the Ecumenical Patriarch, travel organizations, tourism and hospitality professionals.
“Religion and culture are important forms of tourism for the Peloponnese and through targeted activities could lead to significant development,” Peloponnese Tourism Organization President Konstantinos Marinakos said during the event. “However, religious/pilgrimage tourism remains unexplored and therefore not promoted,” he stressed.
The organization’s proposals to help promote religious and cultural tourism in the Peloponnese, include:
- Works to improve accessibility in pilgrim monuments especially on mountainous regions,
- The documentation and evaluation of all religious sites, locations and cultural heritage monuments in the Peloponnese,
- The development of a strategic plan by the Greek Church, the state and private tourism bodies in order to attract visitors and enhance tourism in a way that will not affect the everyday operation of religious brotherhoods and monasteries,
- Activities that would attract pilgrims from countries of Southeastern Europe, where Orthodox Christians exceed 450 million and are aged up to 40 years old, with a high level of education and income,
- Activities that would promote thematic excursions and tours in collaboration with the Church of Greece,
- The development of an advertising and public relations program,
- The interconnection of pilgrimage tourism with other alternative forms of tourism, such as hiking, cultural and educational tourism.
“These goals could be achieved with the collaboration of the Greek Orthodox Church, state and private-sector bodies involved in tourism,” Marinakos underlined.
The conference was held under the auspices of the Greek Tourism Ministry.