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Sustainable Tourism in Greece: Issues and Challenges

Sustainable Tourism in Greece: Issues and Challenges

The 3rd annual conference “Tourism of Tomorrow” took place on Friday, January 17th, 2020, organized by the American College of Thessaloniki. This year’s successful event was part of a wide range of activities organized by the Tourism and Hospitality Program and was dedicated to Sustainability and Development in Tourism

The keynote speaker, Hisham Zaazou, former Minister of Tourism of Egypt, with years of experience and deep knowledge in international tourism, presented a case study on the communication strategy applied after a major crisis. In particular, the case involved the crash of the Russian aircraft in 2015, at Sharm el Sheikh.

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Fanis Kromidas, the Marketing and Communications Director at Sani-Ikos Resorts, addressed the sustainable development program that the company has applied across its hotels. Likewise, Stefanos Papanikos, the Strategy Analytics and M&A Manager at Deloitte, focused on survey findings that for the first time showed citizens seeking sustainability, leaving regulators and entrepreneurs in second place. Mary Kiriakou, the Corporate Responsibility Manager at Aegean Airlines, described the global aviation industry and the impact of initiatives such as the "Flight Shame", which caused a reduction in Scandinavian air travel and the choice of “greener” modes of transportation. She presented the case study of Aegean Airlines, so as to describe ways of reducing their environmental footprint.

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Spyros Kouris, the Operational Leader at Domes Hotels and Resorts, analyzed how integrating operating models’ sustainability can create excellency in services in the long-run. Eleni Sotiriou, the Director of the Thessaloniki Conventions Bureau, referred to the good practices adopted by European cities to become sustainable conference destinations. She evaluated the institution of Green Meetings and the "sustainability" certifications received by organizations while emphasizing the progress that the city of Thessaloniki has made in this field. George Matsigos, the President of the Hotel Managers Association of Rhodes and General Manager of Atrium Hotels, presented how concerted efforts made it possible to promote the island's cultural heritage and support local creativity and economy with the participation of the workforce. Furthermore, Katerina Santikou, the Founder and Managing Director of the Workathlon Platform emphasized the need for empowering skilled workers, an area where tourism is very sensitive. Spyros Pegas, the former Deputy Mayor of Tourism of the Municipality of Thessaloniki and Founder of the Wise Ram Consulting, predicted the end of tourism as we know it, due to the collision of perceptions and new realities prevailing. On the other hand, according to Sotiris Mylonas, the Sustainability consultant at Travelife and M-Solutions, many Greek companies are showing a tendency to comply with the new standards, although the full implementation of the measures has a long way to go. Finally, George Drakopoulos, the Founder and CEO of Tourism Generis, spoke about the change that must take place in the regulatory framework.

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The conference was coordinated by Sakis Papadopoulos, a specialized tourism journalist, editor and webmaster of omorfataxidia.gr.

The event was sponsored by Sani / Ikos Group, Aegean Airlines, and omorfataxidia.gr.

You can watch more interviews here 

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