Two destination management plans for Rhodes and Santorini, as well as a destination management guide for the development of corresponding plans at other destinations in Greece, are now open for feedback after the completion of a pilot program carried out by the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the tourism ministry.
The destination management planning initiative implemented this month aims to help island businesses and local communities respond to the challenges of tourism, including diversifying destinations, reducing the dependence on the “sun and beach” model and combating the threat of “overtourism”.
A destination management guide for the development of similar plans at other destinations countrywide will be presented on October 30, in Chania, Crete in collaboration with the local hoteliers association.
Additionally, the results of the program, which started in May, and relevant studies will be presented in Athens on October 31, in a sector event and will then be available online in English and Greek.
“Tourism cannot operate on autopilot mode. For the next day, it is necessary to formulate directions and take immediate action, drawing up a strategic plan. Strategic maturity is necessary for the preparation of the project so as to ensure a successful course for the future. Not just for tourism, but for the economy and society in general,” said SETE President Yiannis Retsos during the Rhodes event this week.
SETE’s contribution to the destination management program focused on providing program consultants with specialized research data collected and assessed by INSETE, SETE’s intelligence unit; presenting the program, its website and questionnaires aimed at tourism businesses and the local community to SETE members on Santorini and Rhodes; offering feedback together with Marketing Greece and INSETE on the destination management plans for Rhodes and Santorini, as well as on a destination management guide for the development of corresponding plans at other destinations in Greece; and participating and supporting the final events for the presentation of the projects on Rhodes, Santorini, and in three other destinations, including Athens.
“Destination management is aimed at bringing out the benefits of tourism development when it is implemented on sustainable terms. A key principle is the development of longterm development plans that are the product of close and sincere cooperation between actors active in each destination,” said George Maltezos, representing the EBRD in the areas of property and tourism.
“Tourism is the locomotive of social and entrepreneurial activity and therefore must be managed with a vision and realism focused on its social footprint but also on fostering a tourism consciousness,” he concluded.