ECONOMY

Conference tourism seen as the way to attract more visitors

Nature, sea, culture and city tourism are the four pillars on which the effort of the Tourism Development Ministry to enrich the Greek tourism product rests, according to the ministry’s special secretary, Haris Kokkosis. He was addressing the 2nd International Meetings Industry Conference (IMIC 2006), on «Marketing Destinations and their Venues» which concluded yesterday at the American Community Schools’ Arts Center in Halandri. Kokkosis told attendees from all over Greece that, apart from the tourism promotion run centrally by the ministry, each destination should develop its own communication strategy to highlight its strong points. The president of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies, Yiannis Evangelou, referred specifically to the success a destination can enjoy by developing its own conference product. He stressed that the ministry should promote the creation of a National Conference Attraction Office, following the example set by other countries with advanced conference tourism. He noted, though, that for any sort of advertising promotion about conferences to be effective it should be made independently and not as part of the country’s main campaign. The head of the Attica Hotel Association, Giorgos Tsakiris, spoke about the great scope for further growth that the Athens region has to develop conference tourism, particularly after the huge investments in hotel installations before the 2004 Olympics. He stressed the pressing need to develop a big conference center.