Outdoor activities are a “weapon” in the quiver of tourism

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The lack of an institutional framework prevents the development of outdoor activities that could become an important competitive advantage of Greece against other tourist markets.
Aleading role in the offered tourist product of Greece is claimed by the outdoor activities (Outdoor Activities), which are developing at a rapid pace and aim to lengthen the tourist season, but also to highlight areas in the tourist foreground, which until now were not at the forefront of visitorship .

The common denominator of the initiatives that have been launched, both at the level of their promotion and at the technical and institutional level, is the increase of the economic footprint in the local communities but also the contribution of their outdoor activities to the overall tourism figures of the country , as they explain to APE -EIA experts of the tourism sector.

With an eye on the next day for Greek tourism

the managing director of Marketing Greece , Ioanna Dretta, reports to APE-MPE that outdoor activities (everything that has to do with activities on the mountain, in the rivers, at the sea, in the relationship of man with nature etc) are in great demand internationally and the pandemic has even accelerated it. “At the moment outdoor activities are ” drivers of demand internationally” and in this light, Greece not only should not be left behind, but is also described as the ideal place for their development on a global scale” , he says and adds:”The importance of these forms of development of thematic tourism should not be identified only in the holding of a competition, but in the “marriage” achieved with the primary sector of the economy, with cultural heritage and local economies, etc. It is all Greek experience” .

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In support of the above, the president of the Peloponnese Tourist Organization, Konstantinos Marinakos , points out to APE-MPE that through outdoor activities, the promotion of Greek destinations, which were not “touched” by the current of the flourishing of Greek tourism, goes through. Around the mountainous massifs of the Peloponnese , as he emphasizes, businesses have been organized that contribute to local income and employment, etc. For example, in Mainalos there are around 200 small family tourist businesses, with a capacity of 2,000 beds, offering employment to around 400 people. More than three times the number of workers employed in catering and leisure services, driven by outdoor activities.

Initiatives to promote outdoor activities

In this direction, Marketing Greece is already running a campaign, which places Greece on the map of the ever-increasing trend for outdoor activities. The aim of the campaign, as emphasized by Mrs. Dretta, is to respond to the new demands of the traveler, who, influenced by the new environment that has been created, now changes habits and reshapes his choices. At the forefront of new habits, the need to feel safe plays a leading role, while maintaining social distances and claiming more “space” for yourself and your fellow traveler. At the same time, the contact with nature is re-evaluated, giving weight to the positive emotions it causes such as happiness, joy and freedom.

At the same time, on an institutional level, underlines Mr. Marinakos, under the guidance of the Panhellenic Hoteliers’ Federation (POX), a cooperation initiative of hoteliers’ associations located in mountainous destinations throughout Greece is taking place, with the aim of developing a strategic plan for mountainous destinations and mainland Greece and emphasis on outdoor activities. In fact, as he says, for the first time the political leadership of the Ministry of Tourism raised issues of institutional framework, promotion and contribution of NSRF.

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Lack of an institutional framework is a brake on the spread of “Outdoor Activites”

Greece is the second country in the world after Spain in terms of the diversity of outdoor activities, a particularly important fact, as the alpinist Ilias Gravanis notes in APE-MPE . of the gods”. “Greece is the “miniature” of the whole world and its natural geographical relief is not found anywhere in the world,” he adds.

The big thorn in the side for the spread of ” Outdoor Activites ” is the lack of an institutional framework, which, centered on their safe conduct in nature, will certify each activity separately (eg climbing, mountaineering, Canoe Kayak, etc.) but also the people involved with them, as he notes. Mr. Gravanis insists on an essential and absolutely clear institutional framework for outdoor activities, with clear certifications of instructors, chaperones, activities, in order to ensure the absolute safety of the participants in them. “What we see on Olympus in recent years is terrible”, notes Mr. Gravanis, “indicative of the inadequacy of many who deal with the ascent of Olympus”.

For Mr. Gravanis, those who deal with outdoor activities should be institutionally and fiscally characterized as “Outdoor Leisure Activities Providers. which require other knowledge and specializations, which are not covered by the simple mountain escort” , he says.

Finally, both Konstantinos Marinakos and Ilias Gravanis sounded the alarm regarding the installation of wind turbines in the “Greek Alps” that will alter the “untouched” natural environment, for which visitors from the countries will come of abroad. In fact, the Peloponnese Tourist Organization, as Mr. Marinakos emphasizes, expresses its opposition to the uncontrolled placement of these, where there is no spatial planning