The excellent prospects, but also the challenges for mainland and mountain tourism in Central Greece, as well as in the rest of the territory, were put in the focus of the 1st Panhellenic Conference of POX that took place last week in Karpenissi. It is typical that all the participating organizations and professionals in the sector noted that for the first time Central Greece and continental tourism is actively entering the tourism dialogue of the country. This is a result of the action of the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers to start from Central Greece and Karpenisi the effort to highlight the issues that concern the destinations that are not at the forefront of the country’s traffic.

Yannis Hatzis: The exclusive reference to revenue and arrival records does not reflect the real picture of individual regions

Speaking to APE-MPE, the president of POX Yiannis Hatzis noted that while the success of the sector is non-negotiable, the exclusive reference to revenue and arrival records does not reflect the real picture of individual regions. And for this very reason, Mr. Hatzis explained, POX chose to hold its first conference in the heart of mainland Greece. In fact, he pointed out that Karpenisi today does not resemble the images of Christmas and explained: “This is the reality of thousands of businesses that rely on less than 90 days of dynamic operation to cover 365 days of operating expenses. Nevertheless, these areas have excellent growth prospects and enriching the Greek tourist experience. However, proper planning is needed and for this the cooperation of the private and public sectors is necessary,” as he said.

Angelos Kallias: Where does the money spent by the local government for promotion go?

At this point, the general secretary of POX Angelos Kallias, speaking to APE-MBE, also focused on the role of the local government, stating the following: “All this money spent by the local government on fam trips, publications, brochures, participation in exhibitions, what effect do they have? When we draw the line, what do we see underneath?’ asked the general secretary of POX and president of the Union of Hoteliers of Drama, Angelos Kallias, “There are many structural problems that we will have to overcome. The businessman invests money and promotes his business. The State should highlight the place”, he underlined.

Sofia Flega: With occupancy at 30% on average per year, the costs do not come out

Staying with the problems that have been added in recent years, due to energy, it was emphasized that there are units that may need 1 ton of oil every day to deal with the weather and of course to offer the necessary services to their customers. However, with occupancy at 30% on average per year, the costs do not come out, Sofia Flega, President of Evrytania Hotels, notes to APE-MPE.

Sofia Flega, the host of the event, who generously offered high-level hospitality to the guests of POX, at the same time expressed the complaint that she is essentially “struggling” alone with the jump in operating costs and at the same time she is apart of programs to upgrade her unit, as well as the majority of respective units. It may be that the love for her place and her family keep Mrs. Flegga tied to the beautiful Karpenissi, however there are many accommodation owners who the next day will find them non-competitive, as it was emphasized.

Support for 1,2,3 star hotels is essential

As they explain to APE-MPE, at the moment when short-term leasing has now allowed everyone to offer an excellent house for rent, the hoteliers of the lower categories cannot compete with them, neither in terms of taxes nor in terms of quality. For this reason, the president of POX, Giannis Hatzis, asked from the stage of the conference that the hotels, 1, 2, 3 stars, have access to the financial tools to upgrade their quality, so that they can modernize their facilities both in terms of energy and in terms of infrastructure. “One of the main obstacles to the quality upgrade of the Greek tourist product is the perennial absence of support for hotels up to 3 stars, which in terms of capacity exceed 200,000 rooms,” explained Mr. Hatzis.

Infrastructure and lack of strategic brake on the development of the regions of Central Greece

Enumerating the issues that hinder the areas that are lagging behind in tourism development, the hotel operators focused on the absence of public infrastructure and policies for the creation of new tourism products. Miltiadis Helmis, president of the Union of Hoteliers of Evia, pointed out that roads are always being announced, but they are not moving forward. In Delphi, the same anxiety. The traffic confusion as well as the lack of basic infrastructure (such as sidewalks) hurt the visitors’ experience, emphasized Pagona Kolomvotsou, president of the Delphi Hotel Association. Regarding the issues of new product development, Mrs. Naya Samara from the Lamia hoteliers’ association commented on the stagnation on the thermal springs front. At a time when there is an international trend for wellness tourism, thermal springs are declining and discredited in the regions.

Evrytania and in general the region of Central Greece has great scope for development

Despite the existing problems, everyone advocates that Evrytania and in general the region of Central Greece has great scope for development. Focusing on the area of ​​Evrytania, the general manager of Marketing Greece, Nikos Diamantopoulos, pointed out that it has an excellent product, which even “touches” on modern travel trends, a sign of the dynamics it can acquire. At the same time, the general manager of MG talks about the need for the cooperation of all involved, since as he explains the promotion of a destination requires coordinated and coordinated work by everyone. For the last ten years, Marketing Greece has been closely following the developments in international tourism trends and at the same time is a pillar of promotion of Greek destinations.

An international event, focusing on Destination Management and Promotion Organizations, will be implemented by Marketing Greece at the beginning of April in Greece

In 2024, Marketing Greece further strengthens the extroversion of Greek tourism and undertakes to host, for the first time in Greece, the “X Design Week” event. An organization of the Digital Tourism Think Tank, the international network for DMO’s and travel brands that through innovative and creative methods supports the marketing and management of destinations. In April 2024 the exclusive event “X Design Week” will take place in Athens, with Marketing Greece having undertaken its organization. The event is addressed to tourism executives and with its central message of “Place – Purpose – Playfulness”, invites its network to a three-day event that will explore the major changes in tourism and focus on the important issues that will determine the future experiences of the visitors and, on the other hand, will contribute to addressing the challenges that the sector must overcome.