«Greek beach by the Thames», London

Dear friends,

Many thanks for being here with us today.

It is always a pleasure to return to London, a vibrant modern city at the crossroads of cultures and civilizations where business and pleasure meet harmonically.

I would also like to thank our GNTO office, for the United Kingdom and Ireland, for making us all feel at home, in this amazingly organized beach.

A distinctive and original place –no doubt about it- where all of us will have the opportunity to celebrate and enjoy Greek traditions, lifestyle, music, food and joyfulness over an entire week.

Although by the Thames, and in the very heart of London, one could almost imagine oneself being at the beach of a Greek island in the middle of the Aegean sea!

It is a perfect escapade from daily stress and obligations, and a unique way to let go with friends and family.

This is exactly the spirit of our new approach to tourism, a personal and therefore inimitable experience of Greece, a multifaceted, modern and safe destination.

YOU in GREECE, our new collaborative approach to tourism, will give you the opportunity to better experience the profoundest meaning of these very words- and even to contribute to it.

Seeing so many of you with us today reminds me that, in every crisis one can find a breeze of fresh opportunity.

It is this breeze we’d like to welcome, to catch and to build upon, in order to make one step further and sail beyond the current economic crisis and the omnipresent dissatisfying environment.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For us, the British market is of prime importance. With more than 2,3 million visitors from the UK in 2009, we consider you not only friends, but privileged partners.

In this context, I would like to briefly share a couple of thoughts on Greece and on our new approach to international tourism trends.

First and foremost, ladies and gentlemen, we have a solid plan for the revamping of our touristic product in 2010.

Second, for the first time, you have a say in it. Let me tell you how.

I think that every crisis also represents the flip side of an opportunity, and this is a message that has already been well received in Athens. In this context, the gist of our strategy is threefold.

 

First, differentiating our touristic product by heavily investing in alternative forms of tourism, such as nautical, religious, culinary, congressional and green tourism.

 

Second, breaking seasonality, reducing bureaucratic hassle and attracting investments especially through a strong online presence.

 

Third, holding on successful elements of the sea and sun model that still represents our major comparative advantage, and injecting elements of our unsurpassed combination of modern and ancient culture and civilization to it.

The way this strategy will unfold and then materialize is through the YOU in GREECE collaborative effort.

It is not a one way campaign, it is a common ideal.

It’s not a new marketing plan, but a shared vision. A vision that remains open to new suggestions, experiences, views and unique perspectives coming from all of YOU, individually.

YOU are the living foundation behind every dream of Greece (btw “Dream of Greece” is a nice catchphrase in those lines), and this is something we want to honor by giving a say to all our friends, partners and allies.

At this point, let me show exactly how this is going to work, with a brief video presentation.

Many thanks for being here with us today.

I am looking forward to seeing you in YOUR Greece!