NATIONAL INSTITUTION FOR THE ORGANISATION OF EXHIBITIONS, CONGRESSES AND CULTURAL EVENTS

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Philoxenia-Hotelia: A vote of confidence from 20,143 visitors

Trade visitor number increased by 19% 4500 meetings — a record number — between hosted buyers and exhibitors

The Philoxenia and Hotelia exhibitions functioned as a platform of optimism for Greek tourism, gathering tourism sector professionals at the Thessaloniki International Exhibition Centre for three days. In fact, the exhibition duo attracted 20,143 visitors, proof of the trust placed in them by sector professionals, who continuously and consistently choose these exhibitions to promote themselves and to open channels of cooperation. The number of trade visitors to the two exhibitions was increased by 19%. Furthermore, 4500 meetings were held between hosted buyers and exhibitors — again, a record number — during a rich programme that satisfied both sides.

The messages on Philoxenia and Hotelia were especially positive, anticipating an even brighter future, as exhibitors and visitors alike recognised the upgraded image of both exhibitions.

There was a broad programme of side events at Philoxenia, while most side events concerned the Honoured Regions (Poland, the Region of Thessaly, and the Municipality of Tripoli). In fact, the events for Poland as Honoured Country attracted many visitors, while the events organised by the Region of Thessaly and the Municipality of Tripoli were especially interesting. Nepal’s first ever participation at Philoxenia was also successful. In fact, Nepalese tourism officials attending the exhibition were very satisfied with the results.

Furthermore, 35 tourism startups were presented at Philoxenia via two entities: Digital Greece, a project of the Ministry of Digital Governance, and CapsuleT Travel & Hospitality Accelerator, the first Greek startup accelerator exclusively for tourism, which is an initiative of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels. Attendance at this event indicated that tourism innovation attracts a lot of interest.

In addition, this year’s Philoxenia International Congress on ‘Dark Tourism-Shedding light on a dark past’ — held in a packed room at ‘N. Germanos’ Conference Centre — highlighted the tourism prospects of Thessaloniki and Central Macedonia in this field, as well as in all international examples indicating ‘Dark Tourism’ trends. In fact, Greek and international speakers who participated, proceeded with in depth analyses regarding this phenomenon, which has been gaining traction in the tourism industry in recent years.

Large numbers of people attended the dozens of Hotelia events. ‘A unique VR accommodation experience’ was the greatly successful interactive event, that resulted in long lines, providing visitors with the opportunity to have an unprecedented virtual hotel accommodation experience. The other thematic sections of Hotelia were also successful: All About Café attracted large numbers of visitors to its seminars and events, The Cup Tasting Spot and the Latte Art ThrowDown also made an impression, while world champion baristas enlightened those attending. The All About Gastronomy thematic section was equally successful, with the Nutritious reservation, Nutritious Reservations bar, and Nutritious Reservations’ Speeches attracting the interest of visitors.

The Philoxenia-Hotelia exhibition duo hosted 542 exhibitors, participations from 21 countries, the entire domestic tourism industry, Greece’s 13 regions and many of its municipalities. More specifically, there were 382 Philoxenia and 160 Hotelia exhibitors. They came from all over Greece, Poland, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan, the Philippines, Cyprus, Uzbekistan, G. Britain, Nepal, Peru, Bosnia, Turkey, Slovakia, Serbia, Armenia, Kenya, Russia, Albania, Czech Republic, and France.

There was a total of 142 hosted buyers at both exhibitions. 100 top tour operators from 37 countries attended Philoxenia (1/3 of the Hosted Buyers were MICE and 2/3 were Tour Operators and Travel Agents), while 42 hosted buyers from 19 countries attended Hotelia. There were 160 people in the international groups visiting Philoxenia from Turkey, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria, and 120 visiting Hotelia from Bulgaria and North Macedonia.

Exhibitors included, among others, the Ministry of Tourism, the Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) (which had both exhibitions under its auspices), the Ministry of Digital Governance with tourism startups, construction, technology, furniture, equipment, and renovation businesses, addressing the tourism sector from all Regions of Greece, as well as the most important institutional entities, SETE, POX, XEE, HATTA, etc.

The Hosted Buyer programme sponsors were Zorpidis Travel, Grand Hotel Palace, and Prima Holidays, while it was supported by the Tourist Organisation of Thessaloniki and Thessaloniki Convention Bureau.

Frapport was the Hospitality Sponsor of the Dark Tourism Congress, Aegean was the Air Travel Sponsor, Taxi Way was the Transportation Sponsor, the Lunch Break Networking Event was held in the framework of the Thema programme, and the Coffee Break was Sponsored by Kafe Passion.

Lastly, all About Café was sponsored by the Specialistas product line by MEVGAL, and EUROGAT was the Equipment Sponsor.