Greece has shown it can handle unexpected large-scale events humanely and effectively, says top European travel agency official
Life on the island of Rhodes is resuming its regular beat, noted North Aegean Regional Director Georgios Chatzimarkos during a conference held to assess the impact of recent wildfires on the islands on Rhodes and Corfu, it was reported on Tuesday.
Chatzimarkos’ remarks were made during a meeting of some 100 representatives of European tour operators and tourism agencies who convened on Monday.
The people of Rhodes, he noted, “who were heroic and selfless during those difficult days, now look forward to continue offering their care and unique hospitality to foreign visitors, together with the Greek state.”
Of the 41 hotels that were evacuated in Rhodes during the wildfires 35 have reopened, he added, while the situation on the island is assesed every six hours, he stressed.
Other officials who attended the meeting include Tourism Ministry advisor Konstantinos Zikos and the ministry’s new General Secretary Myron Flouris; the Greek National Tourism Organization’s (GNTO) Chief Officer at the Department of Advertising Efi Stylidiadi; GNTO’s Secretary General Dimitris Fragakis; President of the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Travel & Tourist Agencies (FEDHATTA) Lyssandros Tsilidis; President of the Hellenic Ascociation of Travel & Tourist Agencies (HATTA) Nikolaos Kelaiditis; and the General Secretary of the European Travel Agents’ & Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA) Eric Dresin.
“Trust is essential for business,” noted Frank Oostdam, President of the European Travel Agents’ & Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA) while closing the meeting. Greece, he added, “has shown that it can deal with unexpected large-scale events in a humane and effective way, and this achievement should not be underestimated.”
Last week’s wildfires raise questions about the impact of climate change on the tourism market’s business model, he added. He also pre-announced that ECTAA, FEDHATTA and HATTA will hold a meeting in Athens on September 28-29, including the North Aegean regional governor – to discuss with Greek authorities how businesses should adapt to current and future challenges and ensure that travel becomes more sustainable.