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GREECE: An Experience Close To Home (Part 2)

“Greece, except for its great history and weather, offers great food and [uniquely is] welcoming to all, regardless of their nationality and religion,” highlighted Tzikas.

Drawing on the popular trend Localising the Global, Louis Hotels incorporates global cuisine, events and atmosphere to its destinations, respecting visitors’ unique dietary requirements and religious practices. “Local goes Global is a trend that has dominated the luxury travel market and this is especially valid for the MENA travellers,” revealed Tanta.

Interestingly, as Violetta Nikopolidou, marketing manager, Santorini Secret Suites and Spa, highlighted, a high number of properties started serving Halal food, while Santorini itself has a dedicated Halal provider. “If the guest requires, we will [...] remove all alcoholic beverages and candies from their mini bars, which might [not be Halal],” she added.

Elaborating on this, Kalia Konstantinidou, vice president, Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini, said, “We make sure that our recommended meal choices do not include pork and warn our guests if there is some on the plate […]. Finally we make sure to preorder Halal meat when we are informed of MENA travellers’ arrival.”

Halal is also a future consideration for Ledra Hotels & Villas and as Vatzolas disclosed, the property is in the process of extensive research regarding new services which will exclusively target visitors from the MENA region.

“Should things go according to plan, and more MENA visitors invest in a holiday to Greece, there are more to consider including medical tourism investments, […], female spa, gym and other public areas,” pinpointed Vatzolas.

Aiming to target more visitors from the MENA region, Mideast Travel Worldwide with the support of GNTO, is in the process of creating a new brochure, the content of which has been carefully selected to address the particular traveller needs and preferences.

Commenting on the new offering Iliovits explained that guides will include information about Halal food and mosques in Greece, destinations, and types of tourism MENA travellers prefer.

Reducing seasonality and prolonging the tourism period has been set as one of the core objectives in Greece’s 2021 Growth Roadmap.

“Although the country’s tourism infrastructure is well developed, Greece is committed to establishing itself as a 12-month destination,” revealed Mallosi, adding that targeted sectors for expansion should include the development of golf courses, sports tourism, wellness and health offerings, upgraded marinas, conference centres and agrotourism products, as well as a wide range of thematic attractions related to Greece’s rich cultural and historical heritage.

Adhering to the values of 2021 Growth Roadmap and with the aim of achieving its targets SETE has set a number of actions in order to further boost the country’s product.

The authority aims to invest EUR7 billion (USD8 billion) annually into infrastructure developments, focussing on luxury hotels. According to information provided by the authority, 250,000 beds, including 100,000 new projects and 150,000 refurbishments and upgrades, will be completed by 2021.

With a number of new developments coming into alignment, creating new opportunities for employment as well as a foundation to further strengthen tourism, the future of the industry looks positive, more than ever before in the country’s recent history.

But beyond luxury hotels, there is something more to be considered. Greek hospitality remains as the competitive advantage of this land.

This is something that comes very naturally to the country, and is visible either through its culture, island hopping, history and gastronomy, all synonymous with longevity.