Ways to drive growth and improve competitiveness of the Ionian Islands Region were the focus of a sustainable destination development plan recently presented on the back of two such programs currently being implemented on Rhodes and Santorini.
The projects are jointly developed by a group of consultants including UK-based TEAM Tourism Consulting and Yellow Railroad, and Greek destination marketing agency Toposophy with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the tourism ministry, the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) and the Cyclades and Dodecanese chambers.
“We [region] have a long tradition in tourism and prospects for tourism development which we want to exploit and enhance. We perceive tourism as a network of activities, services and productive processes which are constantly evolving… This said, we feel our region must establish its position and role in this new global reality and identify the tools and strategy,” said Ionian Island Regional Governor Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, during a recent event in the region.
Key points of the management plan for the region include differentiating the Ionian isles from rival destinations by offering visitors genuine experiences and activities linked to local communities, ensuring sustainable development that will benefit both the destination and the tourists, and involving all stakeholders in strategy planning.
“The first steps for the successful management of a destination are to attract the most lucrative tourist markets, identify these markets, and develop products and infrastructure to increase overnight stays in one destination,” explained TEAM Tourism Consulting CEO Roger Carter.
“A destination like Greece needs to carry out a series of actions of international appeal, but this requires cooperation and consensus among stakeholders in order to achieve the desired outcome over time,” he added.
The seven Ionian islands (from north to south) are: Corfu, Paxi, Lefkada, Ithaki, Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Kythira.