Tourism and the primary sector with emphasis on agrifood were at the center of this year’s Peloponnisos Expo held in Tripoli last week.
More than 12,000 visitors had the chance to learn about products and services from both sectors during the five-day expo, which included the participation of some 220 exhibitors and dozens of buyers who had the chance to hold B2B meetings and enter collaborations.
The event was co-organized by the seven Peloponnese regional unit chambers of commerce, namely those of Arcadia, Argolida, Achaia, Corinthia, Ilia, Laconia and Messinia, with the goal to bring together regional stakeholders, create common ground, identify policy issues, and foster collaborations which will boost local economies.
Despite its wealth in destinations, the Peloponnese Region is still lagging behind in tourism flows. Aiming to tap into its vast potential, local tourism stakeholders and policymakers are only now finally coming together to create a strategy that will take its destinations into the new era attracting more foreign travelers who will chose to stay longer and spend more.
Tourism a Top Priority
In this direction, the Peloponnisos Expo this year held a day event with expert speakers covering the development of religious, alternative, fishing, hiking, wellness and medical tourism; ways on capitalizing on the history of the Peloponnese and its key role in the Greek Revolution of 1821 to be marked in a 2021 bicentenary; sustainable tourism growth through synergies; creating tourism products for year-long tourism – one bright example is the Menalon Trail, a 75km, eight-section footpath running through nine Arcadia villages, which was re-certified earlier this month; ways to tap into investor tourism; competitiveness of the Greek tourism product and its international standing; destination management; and limiting dependence of hoteliers on mass tourism (particularly after the decline of Thomas Cook).
“This year’s event focused primarily on the agrifood sector which for the region is the key driver in addition to all other productive sectors which represent the area of commerce in our region,” Arcadia Chamber of Commerce President Yiannis Troupis tells GTP Headlines.
In this direction, the Arcadia Chamber recently set up a department dedicated to the primary sector aiming to bring all professionals together under its umbrella.
“The aim through this collaborative effort is not only to showcase our products, businesses and services but to create the conditions for stronger entrepreneurship and the further development of the Peloponnese,” says Troupis, who is also the owner of a winery in the region.
Synergies – The Way Froward
Every year the expo is hosted by a different regional unit. This year’s host, Arcadia, at the center of the Peloponnese, and home to dozens of picture-perfect villages, endless beaches, lush untouched forests, award-winning products and gastronomic traditions, is still struggling to bring in the tourist crowds. Earlier this year, local authorities stepped up efforts to put the regional unit on the tourism map with the Arcadia Chamber leading the way.
A firm supporter of collaboration and synergies, Troupis is calling on business owners, producers, and farmers across the region to work together towards strengthening the participation of all regional units in the annual expo, which he says needs to “house”.
“We have requested the funding to create a permanent exhibition, conference and multipurpose space which will host the expo every year and ensure there is a continuation to our efforts,” he tells GTP Headlines.
Besides the two day events and B2B workshops, the Peloponnisos Expo came to a close on Sunday with a gastronomy event organized by the Kalamata chamber and featuring local chefs and products.
Kalamata stakeholders have also been very active in the promotion of the unit’s diverse tourism products, organizing earlier this year the 1st ALTE Peloponnese Tourism Exhibition and being the first to establish a “Gastronomic Community” under a recently launched effort to designate regions in Greece based on their food and wine products through clusters.