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Greece’s Trikala Invests in Sustainability to Boost Tourism Growth

The city of Trikala, central Greece. Photo source: Visit Greece

The Municipality of Trikala in Thessaly, central Greece, is investing in sustainable practices aiming to both facilitate the life of its residents and achieve growth to attract travelers.

Speaking during an online conference organized by IFITT Greece on Monday, Trikala Mayor Dimitris Papastergiou said the municipality’s tourism strategy focuses on the city’s comparative advantages: its prime location on the mainland, as it connects northern and southern Greece; its proximity to the UNESCO world heritage site of Meteora; and its exceptional local products.

Papastergiou expects the new northern section of the E65 highway to further improve access to Trikala, considering that it directly connects the city with the main Egnatia motorway.

Trikala attracts domestic travelers

To attract even more travelers, Trikala ten years ago created the “Mill of Elves” (Milos ton Xotikon), a thematic park that opens every year during the Christmas season to host activities and events for residents and visitors.

The Mill of Elves, Trikala. Photo source: Municipality of Trikala / Floulis Photographers

The park first received organized school trips from all over Greece, but over the years it evolved into a Christmas destination for domestic travelers.

“This initiative and the way it grew over the years has created a tourism momentum, one that we never expected,” Papastergiou said.

A ‘smart’ city

Meanwhile, the municipality has also drawn attention for its “smart city” programs and applications. The city operates one of the first fleets of driverless buses in Europe, which seems to fascinate visitors.

“The driveless buses immediately became a tourist attraction,” the mayor said, noting that the second phase of the project will soon launch with the circulation of driveless buses from special lanes to mixed traffic roads.

The driveless buses in Trikala. Photo source: Municipality of Trikala

Papastergiou also referred to the recently revamped Trikala central market (laiki agora) and the branding strategy that is being developed to promote it.

“We truly believe that even this local market could become a point of attraction for the people that choose to visit Trikala. There are many opportunities in tourism but we must keep our eyes open,” he noted.

“Tourism is not one single structure. It changes and evolves, developing new skills – digital or others. We must think smart,” he added.

The Mayor of Trikala participated in an online panel discussion titled “The next day for tourism destinations in the digital era”, held on Monday by the Greek chapter of the International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism (IFITT), with the participation of Dimitris Fragakis, Secretary General of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO); Ioanna Dretta, CEO, Marketing Greece; Vangelis Vlachos, CEO, Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (EATA); John Fotis, Director, Novus Mind Ltd; Georgia Zouni, Professor of Tourism Marketing; Εlena Sergeeva, Managing Director, Blog Smart Agency; and Christos Ditoras, President, IFITT Greece.

The discussion was moderated by Charis Brousalian, Sales and Marketing Manager at Greek Travel Pages (GTP).

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About the Author
Eleftheria has worked for several financial newspapers, magazines and websites during the past 19 years. Between 2004 and 2014 she worked as a radio producer, reporter and presenter for the Greek and English language program of “Athina 9.84 FM”. She also has hands-on experience in the MICE industry.

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