The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has unveiled two pilot destination management plans for the popular Greek islands of Santorini and Rhodes, setting priorities for their sustainable development and providing broad action plans for the next decade.
Funded by the European Union through the initiative of EBRD, the project was developed by a consortium of consultants including Team Tourism Consulting and Yellow Railroad from the UK, and Greek destination marketing agency Toposophy, with the support of the Greek Tourism Ministry, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) and the Chambers of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese.
The pilot-program was presented to tourism bodies, senior tourism executives and media representatives, during an event held in Athens, on Thursday.
“Our main objective is to maximize the performance of each destination and develop solutions for potential negative impacts, as well as facilitate the development of new experiences that can meet visitor needs and expectations,” said Roger Carter, Managing Director of Team Tourism Consulting during the event.
“We also aim to target visitors that will provide the greatest benefit to each destination in terms of spending, length of stay, season of visit and responsible behavior,” he added.
Vision for Rhodes by 2030
“An all-year-round sustainable destination of choice, through the creation and promotion of exceptional visitor experiences…. which will bring optimum benefits for the people of Rhodes.”
Rhodes‘ pilot scheme has set six strategic priorities which focus on developing the island as a destination for all seasons; broadening its appeal; creating a “sustainable Rhodes” in terms of environment, natural resources, communities, visitors and businesses; managing visitors in order to maximize visitor enjoyment and quality of life; spreading tourism benefits to businesses and communities across the island, and enhancing the visitor experience by focusing on quality.
To successfully meet the challenges, Rhodes’ marketing plan should focus on promoting its undiscovered areas and features that extend beyond its beaches, to the island’s history, green areas and off-season activities.
Furthermore, it should target the “culturally curious” visitors, outdoor enthusiasts, off-season short breakers, special interest tourists and MICE visitors.
Vision for Santorini by 2030
“An exclusive, paradise island, recognized globally as a leader in sustainable tourism management, where tourism and agriculture underpin a successful, sustainable economy…”
As in the case of Rhodes, Santorini’s destination management plan focuses on sustainable development; managing tourism flows to ensure quality of life for the residents and quality experiences for the visitors; conserving the quality of Santorini’s urban and natural environment; ensuring Santorini achieves optimum value from tourism; developing new experiences for off-season holidays; providing a model for improving tourism during summer, and enhancing the brand.
The marketing plan for Santorini also highlights its globally iconic scenery, romantic features and gastronomy.
Santorini’s target segments – according to the marketing plan – should be the romantic escapers/honeymooners, foodies and off-season short breakers, as well as – on a secondary basis – cruise visitors and sybarites.
The two pilot destination management plans are currently under public consultation and after finalized, will be available on www.destinationmanagementplan.gr, in English and in Greek.