Let Everyone Win at Philoxenia!
The annual Philoxenia travel fair staged in Thessaloniki for the last 18 years has proven a huge success for HelExpo, which stages the show, and the hoteliers of Thessaloniki. But public and professional attendance can be almost non-existent, with so-called 'crowds' appearing when school children and monks from Mount Athos have their days to go about and collect brochures, and possible souvenir giveaways.
It is time for others, especially people in the travel business, to enjoy success at Philoxenia as well.
Philoxenia is a well-staged show, in that exhibitions are sometimes somewhat spacious and splendid, especially that of the city of Athens in the past, and from splendid space rental income for HelExpo.
So many areas of Greece are represented that many a visitor has wondered whether this is a political show of the country.
Philoxenia is a travel show, so make travel people happy.
What is rather urgently needed is concerted efforts to connect people. Travel professionals, who make the circuit of international travel shows all about Europe and beyond, have meetings at these other fairs with other travel professionals to exchange ideas and do business. No such facility has existed in the past at Philoxenia.
At POW WOW, the American international travel show, business meetings are scheduled well before attendees arrive at the show. At EIBTM, in Geneva, as at the World Travel Mart in London, and the International Travel Bourse in Berlin, and even at Utazas in Budapest, appointments for travel professionals are confirmed in advance of the show openings as well.
It is this connecting people that make these shows worthwhile for travel professionals, who consistently attend the shows because it means business. These appointments invariably prove worthwhile and lucrative.
Further, at all the other international travel shows press interviews are facilitated for those who desire such, making a visit to these shows most worthwhile as well as profitable.
Philoxenia needs special pre-registration of travel professionals, both "sellers" and "buyers," as is done by other, more successful, shows. And these people should be 'connected' in advance with scheduled meetings.
These professionals should be invited guests, carefully selected and hosted.
Parallel to this selected travel journalists should also be guests of Philoxenia, with a roster of interviews and profiles scheduled in advance.
SETE SETS GOALS FOR GREEK TOURISM
Documented by a detailed study of tourism in the last decade, the Union of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) has announced what the association deems should be realistic goals for tourism in Greece for the next decade.
What is envisioned is annual tourist arrivals of some 19.4 million, with some US$25 billion in revenue, by the year 2010. This would represent a rise in market share, for Europe from 3% to 3.9% in 2010, and in the world, from 1.87% to 2%.
SETE differentiates between tourist arrivals as opposed to "economic immigrants," (primarily Albanian in Greece).
Parallel to the increased numbers of arrivals, the average stay of tourists should be of 10 days duration, despite a current rising tendency for short duration holidays. To accommodate these tourists some 128,000 new beds will be required.
Also, if more higher income level tourists are attracted than at the present, the per capita expenditure in Greece should rise from US$ 737 in the year 2000 to US$773 in 2010.
Among the necessities to achieve these results, the SETE report states that by 2010 Greece should have 45 golf courses, 15 congress/conference centers, 24 thalassotherapy centers and 42 marinas. The report states that these goals may seem ambitious, but are attainable.
To help achieve these goals SETE cites improvements of the investing tendency, through substantial changes in the Development Law, attracting foreign investments, constant renovations to all tourist enterprises, intensity of promotion of tourism to Greece, all in connections with the Olympic Games of 2004 to be held in Athens and environs.
The average annual increase in arrivals during the 1990-2000 period was 3.5% while revenue increased some 14 percent.
Another sector cited for improvement is the tourist season in Greece. At present some 51 percent of annual tourist arrivals are during the July-September period. What is needed to extend this short season is development of special interest tourism.
One positive trend for tourist growth is reported as the addition of hotel beds on such island destinations as Crete and Rhodes, with 53 and 50 percent accommodation growth, respectively, in the last decade.
Crete increased hotel bed capacity from 76,095 to 116,513, and Rhodes from 69,829 to 105,036.
The report states that of the general increases of hotel beds during the last decade has been primarily in B and C Class accommodation, suggesting that more deluxe and A class hotels are desirable.
The report states that in the year 1990 AA and A class accommodations represented 27 percent of the hotel bed total in Greece, rising to 31 percent in 2000.
The SETE membership includes representatives of all aspects of tourism and hospitality from all areas of Greece.
GREECE TO HOST CONFERENCE FOR MAJOR WORLD CONGRESSES
With the express aim of Greece playing host to major international congresses in the future, the Hellenic National Tourist Organization (HNTO) has invited the International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism (AIEST) to hold its 53rd annual meeting in Athens next year. Giannis Patellis, president of the HNTO, extended the invitation at this year's meeting held in Brazil, which had representatives from some 120 countries.
Dates set for next year are September 7 to 12. Prime subject for the 2003 meeting is tourism and athletics.
Parallel to this the HNTO announced that this year's Philoxenia will have one day dedicated to sports tourism, a growing sector of tourism in general.
These actions are aimed at promoting congress and sports tourism in Greece following the Olympic Games of 2004 being staged in Athens.
SEEK ARMISTICE DURING OLYMPIC GAMES OF 2004
A four member committee of the Institute of Inter Balkan Relations has started a campaign at the United Nations in New York to have an armistice during the Olympic Games of 2004 being held in Athens. This has been inspired by a similar armistice that took effect during the original Games held in 776 B.C.
Members of the committee are Thalis Mylonas, president, Dimitrios Korellas, vice president, Andrea Zaimi, general secretary, and Magda Economou, councillor on public relations. They have been allotted special space in the UN building to present the armistice, which has been accepted in principle almost unanimously by the UN General Assembly.
The committee will begin a signature book for the support of an Olympic armistice from delegations at the UN.
ONLINE TRAVEL AND HOTEL BOOKINGS INCREASING IMPRESSIVELY
Online bookings for travel and especially for hotel reservations have been increasing impressively. In 2003 online hotel reservations alone are expected to reach some $6.7 billion, representing more than a 25 percent increase over this year.
Hotel chain online portals report noteworthy increases, with such as Hyatt Hotels reporting a 60 percent increase in online bookings this past year. The chain offers special low internet-only rates.
HNTO PRESIDENT CAMPAIGNS IN U.S.A.
Giannis Patelllis, president of the Hellenic National Tourism Organization (HNTO), made an official visit to New York during which he promoted tourism possibilities to Greece.
Patellis had a series of meetings, including one with R. Whitley, president of the American Tour Operators, who assured him that despite a negative progress in outgoing tourism in America, Greece remains a favourite destination.
A luncheon was hosted by the New York Times for Patellis, who was joined by Ioannis Evangelou, president of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (HATTA).
Patellis also had meetings with leading university leaders to organize a program for selecting five senior students to visit Greece and write about and photograph tourist sites.
After participating in events commemorating the events of September 11, 2001, and a series of press interviews, Patellis travelled to Canada for similar promotion of Greece.
NEW RADISSON ALL-SUITE ALL-BALCONY CRUISE SHIP
Radisson Seven Seas Cruises has announced the inaugural cruise of the new Seven Seas Voyager ship, as of April 1, 2003. Embarkation is on a 12-day sailing from Monte Carlo terminating in Venice.
This new vessel, comprised exclusively of suites, can accommodate 700 passengers. In addition 88 of the suites offer butler service.
The Voyager's sister ship, the 700-guest Seven Seas Marine, which made her debut in March of 2001, is also comprised exclusively of suites for accommodation, as well as the Radisson 490-guest Seven Seas Navigator which made her debut in September of 1999.
Following a series of l0 and 11-day cruises of the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas, the new Seven Seas Voyager will operate from Fort Lauderdale in Florida, with sailings to the Caribbean, and to Los Angeles (via the Panama Canal.) Following, at the end of 2003, a circumnavigation of South America is being scheduled.
HATTA SPONSORS WORLD TOURISM DAY IN ATHENS
The Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (HATTA) celebrated World Tourism Day in Athens on September 27 with an all-day program staged on the new pedestrian walkway on Dionysos Areopagitou just below the Acropolis.
There were prominent, attractive displays and various booths along with folklore art exhibitions, offerings of food, and music and dance programs, plus screenings of various tourist videos of Greece. The celebration ran from noon until 9 P.M., with crowds of people attending.
HATTA SUGGESTS FEES FOR PUBLIC SERVICES BY TRAVEL AGENTS
The Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agencies (HATTA) has listed suggested 'service fees' for consultations, reservations and other services to the general public for its members. Sample charges for consultations vary from a minimum of 2.93 euros to 8.80 euros, depending on time involved. Other fees recommended by HATTA include hotel reservations (in and out of Greece) 8.80 euros and visa validations 26.40 euros.
These charges are alternate fees for commissions on the sales of tickets and reservations, which are no longer paid by airlines and other companies.
Service fees for reservations on airlines, ships and hotels, aside from fees for consultations (from five minutes duration and longer) are recommended. In some instances there are no individual charges if purchases or specific reservations are made.
NOVEMBER 17 NO THREAT GATHER IN LUXEMBOURG
World-renowned chefs from 30 countries, on five continents, are gathering in Luxembourg for EXPOGAST, a 4-day gastronomical trade show from November 16 to 20. In total some 850 chefs are expected to attend.
The daily-prepared competition menus are served to visitors in the local Restaurant des Nations.
EXPOGAST is held every four years, and had a record 27,000 visitors and 150 trade exhibitors in 1998.
Luxembourg, with its population of some 440,000, has 12 Michelin Star restaurants, the highest per capita ranking in the world.
CRUISE SHIPS TO PROVIDE 7,000 CABINS FOR THE 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES
Six cruise companies have announced possibilities to provide cabins for attendees at the Olympic Games of 2004 to be held in Athens. Some 7,000 cabins are to be made available with rent per cabin estimated to be between 400 and 650 euros per day.
The companies are Royal Olympic Cruises, Ionian Cruise Line, Residensea, Internet Travel Consultance (representing three vessels), Sportus Hospitality (two ships) and Moelker von Volker (one ship).
ATTICA ENTERPRISES RECORDS RECORD TURNOVER IN 2002
Attica Enterprises S.A., parent company of Superfast Ferries, Blue Star Ferries and Strintzis Lines, announced a turnover rise of 31 percent in the first half of 2002, with record net profits, after interest, depreciation and taxes, of 2.5 million Euros, as compared with .4 million in the first half of 2001.
Financial results include income derived from the sale of Superfast III and Superfast IV as well as penalty payments by shipyards for late deliveries of the two of the latest newly built ships, Superfast VIII and Superfast IX.
Consolidated results for the first half of 2002 show sales of 124.8 million Euros, representing an increase by 31.5 percent over sales over the same period of last year.
During these operations Superfast Ferries ranked first on the Greece-Italy routes, in passengers and vehicles, with a market share of 30 percent and 27 percent respectively.
In the first year of operation between Germany and Finland routing Superfast ranked first. Superfast also introduced the first sea service between Scotland and the Continent in May of 2002.
In the domestic market Strintzis Lines carried, during the first half of 2002, 785,000 passengers (an increase of 1.5 percent over the same period during the previous year) and 103,500 vehicles, representing an increase of 3.5 percent. The line also carried 28,000 trucks, a decrease of 11.6 percent.
In July Superfast took delivery of Superfast XI, and delivery of Superfast XII is expected this month.
ROC SCHEDULES FASCINATING FALL AND WINTER CRUISES
Royal Olympic Cruises has scheduled an array of fascinating fall and winter cruises. These include the Olympia Countess which has been scheduled to operate series of special cruises (towards South Africa) in connection with the total solar eclipse of December 4.
There is a choice of four different sailings, ranging from seven to 32 days, which include a 29-day cruise from Venice, a 16-day from the Seychelles and a 7-day from Durban.
Various experts are scheduled to accompany the cruises for the edification of passengers. These include Scott Carpenter, one of the original seven astronauts who flew in the second American manned orbital flight in 1962.
Other sailings, with the Olympia Voyager, include departures from Houston (Texas) to explore the Mayan civilization in Mexico and Central America. On board are scheduled noted archaeologists and anthropologists to lecture the passengers.
The Olympia Voyager is also scheduled to cruise the Orinoco river in South America and the Panama Canal, with various noted lecturers to accompany these sailings.
The Olympia Explorer has a unique 55-day sailing around South America, from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with a wide range of fascinating destinations (including Devil's Island) to explore.
The same ship is operating a 16-day cruise of the Amazon River (from Port Canaveral to Fort Lauderdale).
The Olympia Explorer, which was launched in May of 2002, has a special 14-day sailing (from and to Los Angeles) to explore the Hawaiian Islands.
Royal Olympic Cruises is the largest cruise line in the Eastern Mediterranean and one of the world's leading international cruise lines. With decades of cruise experience. Royal Olympic Cruises provides distinctive, destination-focused itineraries with extensive onboard cultural enrichment programs.
THE WORLD DEPARTS EUROPE FOR AMERICA
The World of ResidenSea, the first resort at sea, continuously circumnavigating the globe, has sailed for the U.S.A. after an initial five-month, 60-port, 21-country tour of Europe. Some calls, such as at the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix, were as long as five days to afford 'residents' ample time for shore explorations.
The World is the first mixed-use resort ship at sea, comprised of 110 elegant privately owned residences, which are for rental at given periods, plus 88 studio residences.
Passengers are a mixture of permanent residents and visitors.
The unique vessel has an annual itinerary, calling at favoured destinations around the world.
BRITISH AIRWAYS WAVES FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS
British Airways has announced that there will be no restrictions on flights, such as a minimum stay, with the introductions of new price policy.
New price policy has the cost of an Athens-London-Athens flight schedule set at a low of 300 Euros, depending on season and availability of seats.
FEWER DELAYS AT VENIZELOS AIRPORT
There has been a constant decline in flight delays at Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport of Athens according to the latest report of the Union of European Airlines. The report is based on data provided by 28 member airlines.
According to data reported, time departures during the last three-month period were 79.6 percent at Athens, compared with 77.9 percent in the same period last year. The average delay was 39.8 minutes, an improvement from the previous period.
The percentage of delays caused by the airport operation or air traffic control was 4.3 percent, an especially low figure, which puts Athens among the top eight airports of Europe.
In Europe the leaders in punctuality are the airports of Oslo, Stockholm and Geneva.
BUDAPEST SPRING FESTIVAL FAVORITE FOR GREEK TOURISTS
Creation is born of necessity and can result in great satisfaction. The Budapest Spring Festival was first organized by the Hungarian Tourist Office in 1981 to boost tourism. In that year Hungarian hotels were all but empty until Easter, which prompted the notion of organizing a special event to boost tourist traffic.
The Festival has become a favourite for Greeks to visit Budapest during the latter two weeks of March.
The original notion was to feature all the arts so that all sectors of the public of all ages would have events of their individual liking to attend, including classic music, light entertainment, mime, children's ballet and puppet shows, opera and operetta, ballet and even folk art exhibitions.
For the first decade the Festival was promoted as "10 Days, 100 locations, 1,000 events." Venue for performances include the elegant opera house, the magnificent Vegado Concert Hall, the Academy of Music, the Budapest Convention Center and even the magnificent St. Matthias Cathedral.
Hotels in Budapest are close to being fully booked during the two weeks of the Festival, usually the last two weeks of March.
It is convenient for the international travel industry that Utazas, the Hungarian travel show, is also held within the same period.
In addition to all leading Hungarian artists, the Festival includes such as the New York Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, the Vienna Boys Choir, the Bolshoi Ballet, Ballet Jazz art de Paris, and grand opera including performances of such as "La Boheme," "Tosca," "Carmen," and "Madame Butterfly." One perennial highlight is the 100 Gypsy Bandleaders Concert and the world renowned and award-winning Benko Dixieland Jazz Band.
WTO REPORTS ON CHANGES IN TOURISM TRENDS
The World Tourism Organization has issued a timely report on the current trends of world tourism. The prime consideration has been a contraction of international tourism caused by a decline in long-haul flows, resulting from the September 11 disaster. Parallel to this has been economic decline in the U.S.A., Germany and other countries with large outgoing tourism numbers.
World tourism had enjoyed exceptional years in 2000 and the first seven months of 2001, with international tourism growing by some 45 million-tourist arrivals.
The basic characteristics of international tourism in the first half of 2002 are as follows:
Many people now take driving holidays rather than long-haul flights to holiday destinations. The WTO envisions the contraction easing slowly.
The public has eased away from early bookings in favour of last minute bookings, which traditionally have been discounted. Parallel to this it has been noted that shorter holidays are being booked.
Increase in popularity of special interest holidays has been noted. These include trekking, walking, biking, sports, wine tours and other. In increasing instances non-hotel accommodations are being sought.
One positive sign is increased opportunities of destinations with lower border entry procedures, particularly within the European Union.
The WTO stresses in its report that cooperation between governments and the travel industry is very important, and such should be strengthened wherever possible.
Negative possibilities on future world tourism include the continuing Israeli violence, the possible attack on Iraq and the tension between India and Pakistan.
GOLDEN CHOICE AWARD TO HOTEL LOUIS KERKYRA GOLF
First Choice, one of the largest British tour operators, has awarded its coveted Golden Choice award to the Louis Kerkyra Golf. This is the second Louis hotel to be bestowed with this award, with the Louis Corcyra Beach having been awarded the same honour.
The award recognizes continuous services of high quality as graded by First Choice patrons.
The Louis Kerkyra Golf is part of the chain of Louis hotels in Greece and Cyprus, numbering 24 at present.
From My Notebook, By Connie Soloyanis
- Online travel bookings in western Europe for the year 2002 are expected to reach over 6.8 billion Euros (representing three percent of the world market), and to some 14.7 billion Euros by the year 2006.
- The Greek Development Ministry, which governs the HNTO, has announced a promotion budget of 38 million Euros for 2003, up from 30 million for this year.
- Meanwhile tourist traffic to Turkey is expected to top 12 million this year, representing a six percent increase over 2001.
- In the face of a general decrease in tourism to Greece, charter flights to Macedonia and the island of Rhodes increased this year over last by 7.7 percent and 2.7 percent respectively.
- The Attica Hoteliers Association has decried what it terms as "a lack of cooperation' of the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee to promote the Olympic Games effectively.
- One of the prime concerns of the Hellenic National Tourism Organization (HNTO) is to extend the average holiday stay in Greece.
- Passenger traffic on Greek ferryboats was up some 20 percent this past summer over last year, while there was a decrease in domestic air travel by some 17 percent. Prime reason cited is the high airport tax.
- In a recent survey it was determined that Italy has the most hotel rooms of any country in Europe, with just under one million; Germany is second, with some 850,000; and following in descending order are France, Spain, United Kingdom, Austria and Greece.
- What with much concentration recently on 'special interest tourism'. The British Tourist Authority has published a guide for gays and lesbians, which lists bars, restaurants and hotels where they may find kindred souls.
- Latest giggle in local politics: Does Prime Minister Kostas Simitis 'inspire' speeches of U.S. ambassador Thomas Miller, or is it the other way around?
- The U.S.A., which is the world's largest producer of wine, is celebrating the 16th annual, 4-day Grapefest in the town of Grapevine, Texas. Local vintages promoted and judged.
- Parallel to this, the city of Reno, Nevada, celebrates a monthly The River Walk Merchants Wine Walk with free wine tasting of local produce.
3In case you wondered, there are 271 'official' airlines operating in the world, utilizing some 9,100 airplanes. Within the U.S.A. there are 429 commercial airports.
- Travelling Greeks have won a dubious honour: They carry more carry-on luggage than any other nationality.
- Greece qualified for another dubious distinction: The country has the highest rate of CD (recordings) piracy in Western Europe.
- Tourism to and from Russia is thriving. Presently there are some 21 tourist (and business) visitors each year, while some 18 million Russians travel abroad in the average year.
- Graveyards have become a tourist sight in the U.S.A. Increasingly more people want to visit graves. Among the top choices are Elvis Presley (in Memphis), Edgar Allan Poe (in Baltimore), Al Capone (in Hillside, Illinois), and Frank Sinatra (in Los Angeles). There is a Find-a-Grave Service which lists some 4,500 notable people.
- Accidental Humour Dept.: Sign in Japanese shop: Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.
Sign in Vienna hotel: In the event of fire, please do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.
BLUE STAR FERRIES IMPROVE PASSENGER AND CAR SERVICE
Blue Star Ferries increased its traffic flow and income during the first semester of 2002. Credit is given to the introduction of the new Blue Star Paros and the Blue Star Naxos ferryboats this year.
Blue Star carried 21.4 percent of all passengers between Greece and Italy, as well as 17.6 percent of trucks and 24 percent of private cars transported between the two countries, ranking the company second among all that traffic the Adriatic.
Meanwhile the new Blue Star Naxos has been successfully introduced on a Cycladic routing.
HNTO ORGANIZES SERIES OF SEMINARS IN GREECE
The Hellenic National Tourism Organization (HNTO) has organized a series of tourism presentations of possibilities with representatives from various countries. The first was held in Athens and centered on tourism from the United Kingdom.
In order to follow is one on November 1st in Thessaloniki (in connection with Philoxenia).
One follows in Patras in early December. Then in January on the island of Corfu, with travel representatives from the United Kingdom, the U.S.A. Canada and Ireland. In February representatives of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Poland will hold seminars in Heraklion, on the island of Crete.
In March it is on the island of Kos, with travel representatives from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Scandinavia.
April follows on the island of Lesvos with speakers from Japan, China and India.
The seminars are to be held on Santorini in May, with representatives from Spain, and Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America.
Finally, in June on the island of Rhodes, the countries to be represented are Italy, Cyprus and the various Arab states.
JOHN LAGOS NEW GENERAL MANAGER OF 'NEW' GRANDE BRETAGNE HOTEL
John M. Lagos has been named as general manager of the Grande Bretagne Hotel, which has been scheduled to reopen after its extensive renovations, in February of 2003.
A 34-year veteran of the hotel trade, he comes to the Athens landmark hotel on Constitution Square (Syntagma) from his last assignment, the Sheraton Deia of Dubai, where he served as general manager for five years.
The former 366 rooms of the Grande Bretagne have been altered into 327 more regal accommodations.
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