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Catching Up: Iossif Parsalis Talks Marketing GreeceNovember 18, 2013 By: Jena Tesse Fox
We just got off the phone with Iossif Parsalis, the general manager at Marketing Greece, a new, financially independent non-profit organization that acts as the official representative of the Greek tourism industry. We asked him about the organization and how it will help promote travel to Greece—and what the latest trends have been.
Marketing Greece launched in April as a collaboration between the public and private tourism sectors in Greece. Key stakeholders include the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels and the Association of Greek Advertising Companies. It also cooperates with the Ministry of Tourism and the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) to plan and implement targeted actions appealing to international visitors.
“It’s like Brand USA,” Parsalis said of the organization, “but it’s not private/public.” By keeping the company private, he added, they can focus much closer on their goals and how to showcase their product to the targeted audiences.
“Since we are quite new, we have just finished planning our product offering. Now we’re ready to offer what we call a full product portfolio.” Using the networks of each of the stakeholders—and of the combined organization—Parsalis says that the team can reach out using PR tactics and digital communication to promote the country. “Right now,” he added, “we are building a new portal: DiscoverGreece.com.” The website is still in development, and should be live soon.
As a whole, Marketing Greece is reaching out to both local and international travel agents, and Parsalis says that the team is eager to help support agents as they support Greece’s tourism scene. “We’ll provide research and data for specific product offerings,” he said, noting that while the country’s beaches are iconic, the team can help agents find new ways to market travel to Greece. “We’re reaching out to help design more specific packages to include things like agritourism and other trendy that have emerged. We’re also looking to establish a U.S. market to connect our agency network with U.S. agents.”
Beyond promoting a range of destinations within Greece, the company is looking to promote different kinds of experiences for different travelers—whether they are families, couples or luxury visitors. “Greece is quite diversified in what we can offer on the mainland,” Parsalis noted, citing culinary travel, wine routes, religious tourism and adventure excursions.
And while Greece has seen some less-than-favorable publicity over the last few years, Parsalis emphasized that the country is a “safe bet” for travelers. “It’s a very safe destination,” he said. “There are not so many protests.”