"Modern visitor wants to live like a local."
Panagiotis Pandazopoulos, managing director of HIP Hospitality and Trésor Hotels & Resorts, talks about the need to upgrade the Greek tourist product itself. He emphasized that successful gastronomic projects and investment in innovative actions centered on tasty culture, cooking tradition and representative products in each region create the right conditions for sustainable tourism development.
By Dimitris Stathopoulos
What is your current picture of the development of tourism in 2019? What events do you think affected the outcome of the tourist season?
2018 was one of the strongest years for the tourism industry, with our country welcoming 30,000,000 visitors from around the world.The record number of 2018 we knew it could not be repeated for a second year, and in this context, we were expecting a fall, reinforced by Turkey's strong recovery, but also by other destinations competing with Greece, such as Egypt and Morocco. The year 2019 started somewhat numb, but the data so far shows us that this year's season will close to last year's level.
In recent years, and internationally, gastronomy has increasingly been one of the main reasons for choosing the destination of the holiday. Where would you classify Greece in relation to this finding?
Gastronomy has always been an integral part of the tourist experience, since the cuisine of every place is directly intertwined with its culture and culture. In Greece for several years, local cuisine, in addition to traditional "tourist" dishes, has been rather second place, but in recent decades it has been a protagonist, as the country's culinary scene is of great interest. More and more Greek hoteliers are choosing to invest in their hotel restaurants, which has raised the bar and made us even more optimistic about the future.
What are the benefits for tourism of upgrading the food supply?
By upgrading the culinary supply, we are actually upgrading the tourist product itself, so only the effects of such a move can be positive. A visitor seeking a premium holiday experience wishes to experience it in every aspect of his stay and good food cannot be missing from it. It becomes an integral part of the overall experience and in many cases also provides an opportunity for overall proposals within and outside the traditional hotel area. From farm-to-table culinary proposals to selected visits to local producers and wineries.
What are the particular characteristics that the food product must have in order to address successfully the tourist market and the experienced traveler?
It must be genuine and match the tourist product it comes with. The experienced traveler comes to know the place and everything that he has to offer, so the culinary product should reflect its place and tradition, fit in with the style of the hotel hosting it, be a natural continuation. Even if this is not possible in cases where local products are limited, the host proposal should contain, even in an enlarged context, all those elements that make up the gastronomic identity of our country.