Extending the season and tapping into wellness tourism in spring and fall are key priorities for Crete’s regional authorities who joined German media and tourism professionals on the island that hosted the annual FVW workshop last month.
Germany’s leading trade magazine for tourism and business travel organized its annual meeting on Crete together with the Region of Crete and with the support of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) and the tourism ministry.
Titled “Sustainability. The Path to Longevity – Discovering the Authentic Crete and its Treasures”, the workshop brought together Germany’s top tour operators, travel agents and journalists who exchanged views and insight with local sector professionals.
Holding the largest share of the tourist market in terms of arrivals from Germany, and attracting significant investor interest, Crete remains a top choice for German travelers.
Workshop participants explored, among others, the further development of the Cretan tourist product, which is diverse and capable of attracting travelers to the island all year round. The workshop’s program aimed to offer delegates experiential experiences and included visits to Crete’s traditional sights and cultural spots.
Indicatively, in this direction, Crete’s Commissioner of Tourism, Michalis Vamiedakis referred to a three-pronged strategy – Crete: tourism + culture + products, which includes branding the island’s famed hospitality and lifestyle under the “Live Like a Cretan” motto.
Vamiedakis said the highest number of arrivals to Crete was from the German market and the tourist season had already been extended by one week.
Among the options for year-round tourism, workshop delegates suggested gastronomy and wine tasting tours, interactive activities, agrotourism, healing and wellness tourism, entertainment, sports and adventure, conferences, educational and scientific forums, and the development of city break tourism, mainly in Chania and Rethymno.
In the meantime, according to market analyst Crysostomos Antoniadis representing Trevo Trend, based on booking demands, Greece is ranked third for package holidays behind Spain and Turkey, with the German market marking a 14 percent rise.
Based on 64.2 million searches so far, up by 15 percent, interest in winter holidays is low with June and July, and then May, gathering the greatest demand.
According to German tour operators attending the event, including TUI Germany, Alltours Flugreisen, FTI Touristik, Ferien Touristik, and LMX Touristik, it is vital due to the strong demand – 40 percent of their clients request to visit Crete – to ensure bed capacity and airline seats. They added that travelers prefer to explore the destination, opting against all inclusive holiday deals.
Interestingly, according to German travel agents 66 percent of their customers said they were unaware of alternative Crete options with 22 percent expressing interest in destination sustainability.
Photos: FVW Workshop Crete, (c) Christian Wyrwa