Greek tourism chief focuses on rebuilding connection with agents

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted Greek tourism chiefs to rebuild relationships with frontline travel agents, according to the UK & Ireland director of the Greek National Tourist Office.

Speaking at a Travel Weekly Business Breakfast, Eleni Skarveli told delegates one of the main lessons she had taken from the pandemic was “the importance of communication with the trade”.

She added: “Over the years we gradually lost that connection; we stopped communicating as destinations.

“We saw people going on the internet and finding the flights directly themselves. But because of the pandemic we’ve realised how important it is to have a personal relationship with agents.

“We needed to be in contact with agents a lot because of all the restrictions, and by communicating it builds a better way of talking about the country than just reading about it on the internet.”

Skarveli’s views echo those of Miguel Sanz Castedo, director general of the Spanish Tourist Board, Turespana, which recently teamed up with Travel Weekly to give away 85 holidays to frontline travel agents to thank them for their efforts during the pandemic.

In an interview with Travel Weekly, Castedo said: “Agents are the closest allies to tourist officers and destination management officers because they are our commercial force.

“They’re the ones who inspire clients and customers to visit destinations and buy attractions.”

This week also saw another major destination reaffirm its commitment to the UK travel trade, with Dubai hosting roadshows in London and Manchester to showcase the destination.

Issam Kazim, chief executive of Dubai Tourism, said the UK remains “one of our most important source markets”.

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