Rodi Kratsa – We are preparing a comprehensive project for the promotion of the Ionian Islands

 

Ionian Islands Regional Governor Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou talks to Passenger.gr about the next day in tourism and the actions launched by the Region, in order to support the hundreds of Ionian Islands tourism companies affected by the pandemic.

“We continue to finance small and medium-sized tourism businesses in hotels, accommodation and services,” he said, noting that the goal for this year is to attract domestic tourism.

“The Region, of course, aims at good tourist infrastructure in all areas for the coming years, such as the creation of a Destination Management Organization and the creation of a Tourism Observatory for the Ionian Islands Region,” he added.

The interview in detail:

1) Ms. Kratsa, what measures have been taken by the Ionian Islands Region in order to protect the health of the citizens in the midst of the pandemic. And by what measures are the socially vulnerable protected?

We are the first Region to implement a coordinated plan, coordinated in the national effort in the fight against the Covid-19 monster. It was not easy, because we were all and still are facing an unprecedented situation with uncertain developments in terms of duration, in terms of the breadth and depth of the consequences.

Our first goals were to protect our workers on all the islands and at the same time to implement working hours, conditions and shifts that serve the citizens, the collective bodies work and the current issues move forward.

In continued cooperation with the relevant Ministries and bodies, we have protected our islands from particular dangers, such as the banning of cruise ships from neighboring countries, Italy, Croatia and the severance of ties with Albania.

We are in collaboration with the 12 Municipalities of the Region, with the Hospitals, with the Medical Associations and social organizations for the provision of special support in protection materials, for the help at home, distribution of information material in specific areas, in addition to the special media promotion and of course the provision of advice to citizens with telemedicine.

The spread of Covid -19 is very limited in our islands thanks mainly to the discipline and sense of responsibility of the citizens. Of course, we continue to strive for effective protection by all means. Our goal is the Safe and Secure Region of the Ionian Islands.

2) The Ionian Islands are world-class travel destinations. However, are tourism experts talking about a lost year this year? Do you share this view?

The tourist season as we know it has definitely been lost, but that doesn’t mean we will be left with “nothing”.

We also have encouraging messages from impatient fans of our islands from around the world. We cultivate the communication with the agents, young and old, who have a traditional presence in the Ionian and we project our image and our advantages in the spirit of “Greece from Home”.

We are in contact with the Ministry of Tourism, EOT but also with the tourism agents in all the islands for our readiness according to what will apply regarding the opening of the borders, the agreements with the tour operators, the protocols for the movements and hosting guests etc.

We are confident that if the conditions are right, we will be the top choice.

3) What actions has the Region taken to support the hundreds of Ionian Islands tourism companies affected by the pandemic? 

The support of businesses and employees of the tourism industry comes from the government. Brave measures are needed because in the Ionian Islands, we have not yet healed the wounds from the collapse of Thomas Cook. Thus, we point out to the government the special needs of our seasonal businesses in all branches of tourism, both for dealing with immediate obligations and for restarting.

This crisis has highlighted the need for a comprehensive tourism policy in a single government agency for production processes, for promotion, for infrastructure.

Today, all these responsibilities are scattered in various Ministries and in the EOT and thus it is difficult to coordinate and target.

From the side of the Ionian Islands Region, we continue to finance small and medium-sized tourism businesses in hotels, accommodation and services. Our last decision concerned 324 companies with a grant amount of 50 million euros.

Today, our goal is to be able to strengthen our businesses, as well as our employees, with start-up funds from the NSRF.

We are also developing an initiative to strengthen business partnership plans and Research and Innovation Centers to upgrade and expand services and products.

For the next day, we are planning, in collaboration with the Chambers and Tourism Bodies, a business consulting and support program in collaboration with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

4) Is there a campaign to promote the Ionian Islands that you plan to implement in the coming months? Does the Region also aim at domestic tourism? 

We are preparing a comprehensive strategy plan with various means such as digital campaign, renewal of printed material, promotion of thematic tourism for each island. Each already has its own brand name and the entire Ionian Archipelago with the well-known and least known islands with an emphasis on maritime tourism.

For this year we intend to attract domestic tourism and also tourism between the islands to enhance our mutual knowledge and cohesion.

Of course, these cannot in any way fill the gap of international tourism, but they will be able to offer a boost to businesses, especially small ones.

5) Are you already planning 2021? And if so, on which axes will the tourist promotion of the Region be based?

The Region, of course, aims at good tourist infrastructure in all areas for the coming years, such as the creation of a Destination Management Organization and the creation of a Tourism Observatory for the Ionian Islands Region.

At the same time, we will continue to invest in highlighting our strengths but also in addressing key needs such as the road network, waste management, environmental protection, the competitiveness of our businesses and the extroversion we have lacked in recent years.

At the same time, we are preparing the events “Ionia 2021”, where we will highlight our historical and rich identity and the contribution of our islands to the formation and development of the newly formed Greek free state. We will highlight all the elements that make Ionia special!

source – passenger.gr

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