Greece can play a leading role as a fishing tourism destination, said Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki during the 1st Fishing Tourism in Greece event held in Eretria on the island of Evia this week.
The aim of the one-day conference, jointly organized by Deputy Agricultural Minister Simos Kedikoglou and Zacharaki, was to find ways to tap into fishing tourism, particularly for a country with one of the longest coastlines in Europe, the largest number of fishing boats, and one of the continent’s most enduring traditions in boat-making and professional fishing.
Topics on the event agenda included drawing up a relevant legislative framework, financial tools, best practices from Greece and abroad, challenges and opportunities for fishermen, the need for training, necessary changes to existing programs to facilitate funding, the need to promote Greece as a fishing tourism destination and to develop and offer fishing tourism packages in markets abroad.
“Observing emerging trends in travel, we find that travelers are increasingly looking for unique and authentic experiences which I believe Greece can offer,” said Zacharaki, adding that fishing tourism is one such special interest product with many benefits.
Currently, a total of 235 fishing boats have been granted a fishing tourism license since 2015 and the goal is to increase the number and at the same time the opportunities for fishermen and their families, she added.
In this direction, a memorandum was signed earlier this year and a national strategy on fishing tourism is being prepared by a specially designated working group. But Zacharaki admitted that more needed to be done.
“Fishing is a special form of tourism where Greece can play a leading role worldwide. The benefits it can offer both for our national tourism product and its quality and mainly for the economic prosperity of Greek regions, are enormous. Nevertheless, even today it remains an unexplored opportunity for our country,” she said.
On his part, Kedikoglou underlined the importance of fishing tourism activities in generating a complementary income but also contributing to the development of Greece into an international fishing tourism destination in line with sustainable principles.
During the event, professional fishermen had the chance to present experiences on board a fishing boat and how these can be developed into tourist products.