Working together on proposals for novel travel experiences with a view to sustainable tourism development and fairly distributed economic benefits was the key issue addressed during the 1st Regional Meeting for Tourism which took place within the 5th Athens International Tourism Expo (AITE) last week with the participation of 13 Greek regional authorities.
“In order to win the future, we must be innovative and, above all, we must be ‘doers’, inventive and effective,” said Union of Greek Regions (ENPE) President and Thessaly Regional Governor Kostas Agorastos.
The event brought together regional authorities and tourism professionals who shared insight on ways local governments and communities can cooperate to tap into local resources, promote tourism products and reap the social and economic benefits.
Speakers stressed the need to link tourism with the primary sector as well as ensuring a greater uniformity of the tourist product with regard to seasonality and geographical distribution of revenue.
“Achieving a co-ordinated approach to initiatives related to Greek tourism and the tourism industry in order to draw up a new framework for action to enhance competitiveness and its ability to grow sustainably is a priority for regional government,” said the head of ENPE’s Committee on Tourism, Culture and Sport, Sofia Mavridou.
“To achieve this, regional tourism strategy must redefine its development model based on knowhow and innovation, the interconnection and interaction of productive sectors, tapping into ecological and cultural resources, the quality upgrade of products and provided services,” said Mavridou, who is also alternate prefect of Pieria.
Mavridou went on to list the following as top priorities for an updated regional tourism policy: boosting tourist consumption and per capita spending; linking tourist consumer demand with the increase of domestic production of consumer products, and strengthening the ties between sectors; the quality upgrade of tourist services; ensuring competitiveness of the tourist product on the international market; extending the tourist season; diversifying and enriching the tourist product; integrating economic development with environmental protection and innovation.
Mavridou underlined the importance of promoting a unified tourist product which is centered around innovation, activities, qualified staff, protection of the natural and cultural environment, and the management of tourist flows.
On a final note, referring to the excellent cooperation between the tourism ministry and the regional authorities, General Secretary of Tourism Policy and Development George Tziallas called for emphasis to be given to thematic forms of tourism, and particularly to congress tourism.