Linking the tourist experience with Greek culture and cuisine was the focus of the 1st Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) Symposium dubbed “Greece – Land of the Good Life”.
The event brought together policy makers and tourism stakeholders to discuss “The Sustainable Economy of Hospitality in Connection with the Greek Diet and Culture” and ways to establish Greece as a global, sustainable cultural tourism destination.
A key takeaway of the event, which is an initiative of GNTO President Angela Gerekou, was the importance of uniting forces on all levels – national and local – towards the creation of a comprehensive agrotourism product that is all-inclusive, with particular emphasis of empowering women and their key role in the formulation of a new tourism model.
“Topping our priorities is linking and promoting culture and intangible cultural heritage with tourism, but also with local development of destinations in small cities and rural areas of Greece,” said Gerekou, adding that “Greece, the country of well-being, can become a global, sustainable center of cultural tourism”.
Gerekou went on to note that modern travelers seek authentic experiences.
“In simpler words, they come as foreigners, but live and leave as locals, evolving into ambassadors of our country,” she said.
In this direction, she stressed the importance of safeguarding and showcasing local cuisines of Greece, customs and folk arts, “which should be at the forefront of local destination promotional activities”.
“It’s time for decision-makers in hospitality to enhance their flexibility, adaptability and capabilities based on collaboration, a deeper understanding of the complex ecosystems in which we operate, and a sense of their interconnectedness for a better and more efficient living for all,” said Gerekou.
Issues addressed during the symposium included Synergy Policies: Hospitality – Nutrition – Culture, The World of Tourism Embraces the Culture of Taste, and Welcome to Our Cuisine – The Intangible Value of Gastronomy. Participants also had the chance to sample Greek cuisine.
The event was also attended by Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki as well as representatives from the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, the Greek Hoteliers Federation, the Association of Cruise Ship Owners and Maritime Agencies, chefs and artists.