Connecting Greek hospitality (and therefore Greek tourism) with the country’s gastronomy and local products is a strategic choice for the future, according to Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos.
“Greek hotels support the country’s primary production and this is clearly reflected in our research,” Vassilikos while speaking at a workshop on wine tourism that took place last week in Patra, in the northern Peloponnese.
During the workshop, the findings from a recent survey of the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP) on how connected Greece’s hotel industry is with the primary sector were presented.
“The numbers from the survey will overturn what is believed for Greek hotels,” ITEP President Konstantina Svinou said while presenting the findings.
The survey, which included research on how much Greek hoteliers are in fact purchasing and promoting local products through their hospitality offering, found that 88 percent of the expenditure of hotels for F&B (food and beverages) concerns Greek products.
“Thirty-six percent of the expenditure for the supply of food and beverages comes from the destination where hotels are located while 52 percent comes from the rest of Greece,” Svinou clarified.
Hotels in the regions of the Peloponnese and Crete are those that mainly purchase their food and beverages locally while hotels in Attica and Central Greece opt for products from producers in other regions.
Moreover, the survey found that the most popular local products hoteliers purchase are eggs, dairy, oil, wine and honey.
“Greek hotels continue to be the main engine for local development and our contribution to the economy and society makes us proud,” the chamber’s president, Alexandros Vassilikos, said.
Hoteliers choose to serve Greek wine
With regard to wine specifically, 97 percent of the wines available in Greek hotels are made in Greece.
“Wine can become a main lever of growth and complement an already existing tourism product… I believe in Greece’s wine and I believe we have the ability to differentiate with this product,” Vassilikos said.
He added that Greece’s wines, with their uniqueness, can enrich the hospitality experience for tourists and at the same time open new ways of extroversion for Greek wineries, as well as for Greece’s whole primary production.
During the wine tourism workshop, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Wines of Greece body to promote branded Greek wines as part of efforts to upgrade the wine tourism experience.
1,250 hotels certified with ‘Greek Breakfast’ label
Moreover, among the survey’s findings was that some 2,500 Greek hoteliers claim to be implementing the chamber’s “Greek Breakfast” concept in their hotels. Out of that number, 1,250 hotels are certified with the official “Greek Breakfast” label.
The “Greek Breakfast” program aims to promote a destination’s local products and recipes through breakfast menus in hotels.
Factors affecting hoteliers’ local product purchase
ITEP’s survey also found that some hoteliers preferred to purchase F&B products either from other Greek regions or from abroad and not from where their hotels are located.
“What stands in the way of hoteliers buying supplies from local producers is an issue that we are very concerned about and are interested to see what methods should be followed in order for more Greek local products to find their way into hotels,” Svinou said.
According to the survey respondents, the main deterrent factor affecting the purchase of local products by hoteliers are high prices as 56.7 percent said they were discouraged from buying locally due to the cost.
Other deterrents for hoteliers buying food and beverages from local producers include the small production volume, the small number of certified producers, the seasonality of products and the lack of communication with local producers.
An initiative of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, ITEP is a non-profit institute launched in 1996 to study the hospitality and tourism sector in Greece and other competing countries and provide useful statistics and data to the market. The institute monitors key performance indicators of the Greek hospitality industry through its annual report and seasonal surveys.