The Greek National Tourism Organisation is the latest tourist board to join the Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers as it seeks to raise its profile among agents selling holiday in the sector.
Eleni Skarveli (pictured), director at the GNTO’s UK and Ireland Office, said: “It is very important for Greece to be as more than a sun-and-sea destination.
“Greece has very diverse products and with Atas, Greece’s USPs on adventure tourism will be in the spotlight.”
She said the UK is Greece’s top source market and her role is to reinforce that position and support the trade.
However, many staff members in travel companies moved on amid the pandemic, so she is keen to meet travel agents to help them sell the destination.
Skarveli also said more tourists are seeking safer, greener destinations after the pandemic, as well as hybrid working-and-leisure options.
A key initiative is the destination’s new sustainablegreece.co.uk website, which aims to show responsible tourism options to travellers and the trade who seek nature, wildlife or ways to be engaged with the local communities.
The sustainable strategy also aims to extend the holiday season into the shoulder months and even into the winter.
“Greece enjoys long seasons of sunshine that favour the touring and adventure sector,” she commented, highlighting activities such as cycling, climbing, sailing, walking and birdwatching.
Culinary tours can take visitors to explore vineyards or to join cookery lessons, she added.
Skarveli said bookings for 2023 are looking “very positive” with direct flights starting to operate ahead of the Easter holidays.
“January has been proved very good for early bookings,” she said, adding that sales surpassed 2019 numbers.
“Trade sales are very important for us, as most travellers prefer the comfort of a travel agent to organise a trip to Greece.
“There are so many Greek islands, it is difficult to choose.”
She concluded: “I do not think the rising cost of living will affect bookings but travellers will probably have higher expectations for their holidays and I am sure Greece will fulfill them.”
Claire Brighton, Atas account director, said: “It’s great to welcome another tourist board to Atas – our members really are able to showcase a wide variety of wonderful destinations with endless opportunities for exciting tours and adventurous holidays.
“It’s so positive to hear from the GNTO and our other members about buoyant sales in the peaks season and encouraging bookings for 2023 and 2024.
“Our members are eager to help agents make the most of this booming sector.”
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