Deputy Minister of Tourism Sophia Zaharaki, forecasting the development of tourism in Thessaloniki this season, said that “the foundations have been laid for an excellent period of travel and leisure, which is expected to be much better than in 2021. Greece is already moving towards higher targets than originally set.”
During the presentation of the report of the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization for 2021, Ms. Zaharaki emphasized that “The northern capital, neighboring municipalities and the region can set a tone this year that will interest and attract many travelers”, that is, the emphasis is on local flavor, authenticity , unique itineraries (including 15 UNESCO sites), gastronomy, art, culture, sports activities and cruises.
“This year,” the Deputy Minister of Tourism emphasized, “Thessaloniki will leave its bright mark on tourism.”
The official also referred to a campaign that the Ministry of Tourism will launch for “urban getaways” in which, she said, “Athens and Thessaloniki will be the two main cities that will be shown ‘in all its glory’ in commercials.”
Ms. Zaharaki also noted that the magic word in tourism is “collaboration”, stressing that the city is expected to host many exciting events. The inclusion of Thessaloniki in the list of gastronomic destinations of the Creative Cities of gastronomy is called a great success.
During the presentation, the governor of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tsitsikostas, emphasized that “in 2022 we expect a record number of traveler arrivals” and emphasized that “the picture we already have is quite good.”
“The extension of the tourist season is already becoming a practice, we see it in the booking data,” he noted and added that this was visible even before the pandemic, “when we saw an increase of 20% and 30% in the spring months and autumn.”
According to Mr. Tsitsikostas, this year cruise tourism started “with brilliance” for the first time. “We started on February 5 with the arrival of the first ship in Thessaloniki. For us, cruise tourism is a goal and we will achieve it,” he said, adding that central Macedonia can support tourism 365 days a year.
EOT Deputy Secretary General Konstantinos Zikos noted that the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization now has new tools for concluding cooperation (new relevant law). At the same time, he stressed that Thessaloniki “should focus – and already did – its attention on the area alternative types of tourism.
Presenting the report for 2021, the President of the Tourism Organization of Thessaloniki, Vice Governor Voula Patoulidou, noted that 2021 was the year when the first optimistic and encouraging signs of a recovery in tourism appeared.
Ms. Patoulidou noted that the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization has joined the members of ABTA, one of the largest associations of travel agents in the world, and has entered into a partnership with MedCruise, the giant of the Mediterranean cruise industry.
There is an active promotion of Thessaloniki in print and digital publications: National Geographic Traveler UK and other international media publishing ratings.
The northern capital has been advertised as a tourist destination on platforms like Trivago. UNESCO, in an effort to promote the 15 cultural heritage sites, has launched a print and digital list in the official Unesco World Heritage magazine.
In total, over a hundred advertising and marketing campaigns were implemented during 2021 to familiarize citizens with tourist destinations and recreation in the city.