Promoting (Real) Greek Food to Culinary Tourists

See on Scoop.ittravelling 2 Greece

Industry experts, journalists, and chefs from around the world gathered in Athens to discuss the importance of food and gastronomy in Greek tourism.

Demetrios Georgalas‘s insight:

The conference started off with a presentation by Mr. Nicolas Kanellopoulos, president of the Greek National Tourism Organization. In his presentation Kanellopoulos stressed the importance of food as a factor in selecting a destination, but he added that Greek gastronomy is not one of the criteria that visitors have in mind when visiting Greece.  However, he was optimistic about the future of the promotion of Greek food culture and pointed out that the indisputable advantage of the Mediterranean diet provides Greeks with the opportunity to showcase it as part of their touristic identity.

Kanellopoulos mentioned several initiatives such as development of olive and wine touristic routes around Greece, promotion of local products in hotels and an official categorization of restaurants that offer traditional Greek cuisine using traditional recipes and traditional ingredients. In closing, Kanellopoulos presented the two main goals of the Greek National Tourism Organization. “Our goal is to improve the quality of the food served in Greek hotels and restaurants using evaluative criteria and the adoption of the Greek breakfast,” he said.

Dr. Antonia Trichopoulou, professor and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Nutrition at the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, confirmed the value of the Greek-Mediterranean diet in her presentation stating that olive oil is the focal point of the diet and that studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is not only beneficial for health but also for the environment. However, she expressed her concerns about integrity in the promotion of Greek food products. She explained that many food products are called traditional when in fact they are not. “Because of this, the concept of traditional is destroyed and no longer has any value,” she said. For that reason she explained there should be certain criteria and regulations in regards to defining traditional products.

A common theme in all discussions was the disconnect between the food experience of a tourist and “real” Greek cuisine. While Greeks in the tourism business are aware of the value of the Greek-Mediterranean diet, somehow this knowledge and tradition is not transferred to tourists visiting Greece.

The identity of Greek food is in question and to experience the “Greekness” of Greek food is elusive for the average tourist as food writer Albert Arouh explains in his presentation.  Tourists visit Greece with a preconceived idea of what Greek food is, due to the fact that most Greek restaurants outside of Greece serve “typical” Greek dishes, which are not in fact so typical in Greece. Unfortunately when in Greece, these tourists are served these same cliché dishes because hoteliers and restaurateurs want to fulfill the expectations of their foreign customers.

The importance of regional cuisine was also presented, with representatives from the islands of Crete, Aegina and Santorini as well as lesser-known islands such as Ikaria, Samos and Kea discussing the potential and promotion of the cuisine in these areas for Greek tourism.

Until recently, food and gastronomy did not appear to be on the top of the list of priorities for the Greek tourism industry, however today it is on everyone’s mind. In the past week several conferences and sessions in Greece have been organized focusing on Greek food, including the establishment of the Greek breakfast, Greek gastronomy, and discussion of the recognition of the Mediterranean diet by UNESCO.

The event highlighted the potential Greece has to become a major food destination, however this can only happen if the tourism industry can resist the old clichés and work together to embrace Greece’s legendary culinary traditions and authentic regional cuisines.

The conference was organized by Helioptopos, a company that provides international conferences, destination management services and special interest tours throughout Greece and under the auspices the Greek Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the City of Athens, the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, Hellenic Chamber of Hotels and the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises.

See on

About brexians

Demetrios Georgalas (A Surviving Globalization Consultant) was born in 1961 in Bern and grew up in Athens. In1985, graduated from Surrey University with a Tourism Management BSc (Hons). In 1998, graduated from LMTB under Freie Universitat Berlin, with a Diploma Lasers in Medicine. His professional career was started in the private sector and at the same time he created his first consulting company D+G Consultants Inc. Worked for major multinationals in Greece and abroad (FMCGs / Pharmaceuticals / Tourism). Demetrios Georgalas, having established also Travelling 2 Greece a destination management company, while with the D+G Consultants working in the areas of BTL and special marketing projects. He is activated except from Greece in the Balkans and in Turkey, consulting his clientele with new innovative proposals. Apart from his enterprising activities, he dabbles at blogging, travelling and cooking while he is married and has two children. In conclusion Demetrios Georgalas is an Athenian, Greek, Agnostic, Traveller, & Liberal he likes sci-fi, photography, blogging, travelling and cooking and if you like fascism or any kind of dogma, keep out! Δημήτρης Κ. Γεωργαλάς Γεννήθηκε στην Αθήνα το 1961, σπούδασε Τουριστική Διαχείριση στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο και κατέχει μεταπτυχιακό τίτλο στην Βιοτεχνολογία. Έχει εργαστεί σε μεγάλα τουριστικά γραφεία του εσωτερικού, και σε πολυεθνικές σε Ελλάδα και Εξωτερικό, στο χώρο των φαρμάκων, των ιατρικών μηχανημάτων και των FMCG’s. Από το 2001 είναι ελεύθερος επαγγελματίας, με δραστηριότητα στην διαχείριση προορισμού, τον θεματικό τουρισμό και τις ειδικές ενέργειες marketing. Είναι παντρεμένος και πατέρας δυο παιδιών, διδάσκει ειδικά θέματα εξωτερικού εμπορίου και κοινωνικής δικτύωσης, σε επιχειρήσεις και οργανισμούς. Ασχολείται ενεργά με το διαδίκτυο από το 1993 με άμεση εμπλοκή στα κοινωνικά δίκτυα και στο «ιστολογείν». Φανατικός ταξιδευτής, ερασιτέχνης φωτογράφος, μαχόμενος αγνωστικός και φιλελεύθερος. Όραμά του μια Ευρωπαϊκή Ελλάδα.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.