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Officials See Dynamic Tourism Year for Thessaloniki

Photo source: Thessaloniki Tourism Organization

Photo source: Thessaloniki Tourism Organization

A dynamic year in tourism is expected for the Greek northern city of Thessaloniki, after the first signs of recovery in 2021, according to the head of the city’s tourism organization, Voula Patoulidou.

Speaking to journalists last week during a hybrid press conference, Patoulidou presented the promotional actions carried out by the organization in 2021 that have paved the way for Thessaloniki to have a strong tourism presence this year.

“2022 will be a much better year… The projects we launched and continue this year will change the image of Thessaloniki,” she said.

100+ promotional actions

Thessaloniki Tourism Organization President and Central Macedonia Deputy Regional Governor Voula Patoulidou.

Thessaloniki Tourism Organization President and Central Macedonia Deputy Regional Governor Voula Patoulidou.

According to Patoulidou, last year the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization implemented more than 100 actions of promotion and marketing focused on the comparative advantages of the northern Greek city.

Actions included the organization’s “Time to live again” social media campaign, which sent an optimistic message about the period after the pandemic; a video that promoted Thessaloniki to the German market, which was viewed daily by about two million Germans; and promotional videos on Youtube in 15 countries that attracted over 200,000 followers.

Also, the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization carried out a campaign focused on the myths of Thessaloniki; released a song and video to attract tourists during the Christmas season; increased its followers by thousands on Facebook and other social media channels; and upgraded its website to be a useful tool for visitors and tourism entrepreneurs.

The organization also organized the promotion of Thessaloniki in a number of international print and digital publications, such as the National Geographic Traveler UK and also showcased the city’s 15 cultural heritage sites through the World Heritage publication of UNESCO.

Last year the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization became a partner to ABTA, a leading association of travel agents and tour operators and also entered into a partnership with MedCruise, the association of Mediterranean and adjoining seas cruise ports.

It should be mentioned that in 2021, the organization took steps to establish Thessaloniki as the first city in Greece to adopt the ColorADD system for people with color blindness, aiming to ensure equal access to tourism activities and everyday life for all its residents and visitors.

The Thessaloniki Tourism Organization also shined in last year’s Tourism Awards, winning three distinctions for Destination Management/Branding, Marketing Strategy and Online Presence.

“We are proud of what we managed to do in 365 days,” Patoulidou said, underlining that the organization has many plans for this year.

In 2022, the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization will participate in 12 international tourism exhibitions abroad, in this year’s Philoxenia expo and also support festivals and sports events in the city.

“The mood of tourists to visit Thessaloniki this year seems very high,” Patoulidou said referring to early bookings.

Zacharaki: Thessaloniki is a destination with local color

On her part, Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki said that Thessaloniki could be exactly what travelers are looking for this year – a destination with local color, authenticity, routes, 15 Unesco monuments, gastronomy, art, culture, sports and cruise.

Zacharaki highlighted the fact that Thessaloniki has become a member of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network for offering a creative gastronomy scene and added that the city is one of the first destinations promoted in Greece’s new city break campaign.

Thessaloniki and cruise tourism

Photo source: Thessaloniki Port Authority

During the press conference, much was said about Thessaloniki’s appearance this year in the cruise tourism scene.

According to the governor of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, cruise tourism is going extremely well for Thessaloniki this year, for the first time.

“The first cruise ship arrived in Thessaloniki on February 5 and for us cruise tourism is a goal and we will achieve it,” Tzitzikostas said, adding that the Region of Central Macedonia can support tourism in Greece all 365 days a year.

“Central Macedonia can become one of the most powerful regions in tourism, not only in Europe but worldwide”, said Mr. Tzitzikostas.

For 2022, the Thessaloniki Port Authority already has 55 confirmed cruise arrivals from 11 different companies and 15 different cruise ships.

Cruise companies expected at the city’s port this year include Celestyal Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Croiseurope Cruises, Hapag Lloyd Cruises, Mano Cruises, Noble Caledonia, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Silversea Cruises.

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About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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