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Greece Looking to Promote Lifelong Learning Opportunities for Tourism, Hospitality Executives

Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki Photo source: Eurokinissi/Vasilis Rebapis

Improving tourism education in Greece is a ministry priority, Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki highlighted during the 7th Delphi Economic Forum held recently in Delphi.

Speaking during a panel discussion on “Improving Education, Skills and Employment in Tourism”, Zacharaki said that the Greek Tourism Ministry is focused on offering quality education and is looking to promote lifelong learning (education and training) opportunities for tourism and hospitality executives in Greece.

Referring to the constantly changing needs of hospitality units and highlighting the sector’s need for more expertly trained executives, she said the ministry is currently preparing legislation that will focus on continuous learning opportunities for owners and executives of small hospitality units in Greece.

“Greece has many small, family–owned hotels operating outside urban centers that support Greek hospitality. We should focus on training hotel owners and employees that offer this significant service,” she said.

The ministry will cooperate with regional, municipal authorities and local chambers in order to target the needs of entrepreneurs and employees.

Greece to set up tourism academy

The deputy minister also referred to the challenges of tourism education. She said Greece had already received guidance by the European Commission in order to set up a tourism academy that would incorporate the country’s tourism schools of higher education (known as ASTER) and tour guide schools, as well as the IEK vocational training institutes.

The academy, to operate under ministry supervision, will offer contemporary tourism education, monitor the needs of the tourism market, improve employment opportunities in the sector and ultimately upgrade education and training in the field.

Photo source: Eurokinissi/Vasilis Rebapis

During the discussion, Zacharaki also touched on the issue of tourism skills, education and employment with Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President, Alexandros Vassilikos; HotelBrain President and Founder Panos Paleologos; and Crowne Plaza Athens Experience and Communications Director Emmanouela Moussama.

Hospitality and education

Photo source: UNWTO

Photo source: UNWTO

On his part, Hellenic Hotels Chamber President Alexandros Vassilikos highlighted the significance of tourism education and training in relation to the constantly evolving hospitality sector.

“Things in the hotel industry are constantly evolving and we can not follow the same model for 20 years,” he said, stressing the need for tourism professionals to monitor developments and adjust accordingly.

“There are many career opportunities in the tourism field and very good jobs,” Vassilikos added.

Commenting on the issue, HotelBrain President Panos Paleologos said that education and training were crucial if Greece wants to maintain its leading position on the global tourism market.

“We need to realize that human resources give added value, increase the income of hotel companies and therefore of the state. If we understand that we must all invest in it, the private sector, employees and the state, then miracles will happen,” he said.

Furthermore, Crowne Plaza Experience and Communications Director Emmanouela Moussama referred to the crucial role of digital transformation and sustainability in the hospitality industry and highlighted the significant contribution of education in these fields.

The discussion was moderated by Athens 984 radio journalist Sofia Beretanou.

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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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