Greece Offers Lessons in Redeploying Bloggers to Promote Offbeat Tourism – Skift
Greek islands such as Mykonos and Santorini are excellent destinations, but many people do not explore less obvious reasons, such as Epirus, which hosts the sanctuary of the mythical goddess Mother Dodoni – legend has it that it was the oracle of Zeus himself.
The location of Dodoni has only been discovered in recent years and is located in the heart of rugged Epirus, where stunning gorges mark the walls of its mountainous landscape in northwestern Greece.
Tourism in Greece has suffered one of the worst years in modern history, but the coronavirus crisis has given local bloggers the opportunity to rediscover their approach by exploring less chartered areas.
Travel Bloggers Greece (TBG) is a non-profit organization that has partnered with local bloggers who can expand deeper into the Greek state to offer people slower and more culturally rich experiences as tourism begins to recover.
“The journey is not about checking the boxes or taking the perfect download on Instagram. It’s all about the connection on a deeper level, “said Elena Sergeeva, co-founder of TBG.
Sergeeva, who has been in the tourism industry for 20 years, started blogging in 2012, writing a master’s thesis on using social media to promote luxury hotels.
TBG’s Greek trips are more aimed at those who want adventure, the environment and a taste of local culture.
“I have always focused on highlighting relatively unfamiliar areas of Greece,” said Rania Ragias Kalogeirou, a member of TBG, which also owns Definitely Greece, a family-run luxury luxury itinerary for slow-moving global customers.
“Small groups, secluded villages and an escape from nature where visitors can see the authentic and familiar side of Greece are key aspects,” said Kalogirou, who is also a travel writer.
The family business of Kalogiros takes the slow travel experience very seriously. First, it encourages gay female travelers to make friends through women-only tours. The agency also serves the “extrovert introvert” – a traveler who can sometimes be a bit of an anomaly for the mainstream industry.
On a “premium” tour in Southern Greece, Greece definitely transports history lovers to the ancient palaces of eminent Kings, where Homer’s hostages are immortalized forever. They also go to the Peloponnese, where the rugged castles still stand despite the many pirate attacks from the Aegean Sea.
But these adventures are just the tip of the iceberg for Rania, which embarked on a cargo voyage from Singapore to Istanbul via the Suez Canal. And no, it was not. the ship’s captains welcomed TBG’s elite blogger
TBG currently has about 10 local blog members and two international members from the US and UK. The six-year-old team has worked with more than 25 destinations and hundreds of local businesses including travel providers, transport companies and hospitality.
What sets this group apart from today’s typical influencers is their passion for writing and extensive experience in tourism and hospitality.
“Together we offer a holistic approach to promoting a destination or a tourism business with which we work. “We plan blogger trips by working directly with destinations and we all promote destinations through our blog,” said Sergeeva, who hails from a hosting company.
Iliad to Recovery
In the summer of 2020, when Greece first opened to tourists, TBG was approached by destinations such as Tolo in the Peloponnese, Epirus and Kasos to promote their tourism. The group is not government-funded, but these unrivaled cities saw it as an opportunity to collaborate with local bloggers with an international reach.
This year, TBG plans to do the same in some of the most beautiful but less frequent areas of the country after a difficult year.
“Blogging as a business has suffered terribly and unless people start traveling again, only then can we see improvement,” Sergeyeva added.
Last year in particular was full of human losses and financial turmoil. The pandemic shock certainly devastated the global travel sector, especially in a country like Greece.
Tourism accounts for 18% of Greece’s gross domestic product and employs more than 900,000 people, or one-fifth of the workforce.
Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis recently announced that Greece will open its borders on May 14th, noting that all visitors who have been vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 can travel to Greece this summer.
This caused relief from the country – especially in the tourism sector, where revenues fell 78.2% and arrivals fell 77.2% in the first nine months of 2020.
Following the minister’s announcement, hotel booking rates have skyrocketed, with some hotels already reaching 70% for May and June.
“Since the announcement made by the Greek Minister of Tourism that the country opens its borders on May 14, I have seen an increase in traffic to my blog by German-speaking travelers, especially from Germany, Austria and Switzerland,” TBG told Skift. .
After seeing the time of the pandemic stop to dive even deeper into the less popular destinations and places in Greece, Elena says that TBG is more than ready to return to the industry.
“We have already started discussions with various destinations in Greece and our plan is to have a preliminary travel plan, and as soon as the government officially announces the start dates, we can quickly adjust our plan,” Sergeva said.
When Coronavirus brought global travel to a standstill this month last year, the European Union faced a situation like no other in its modern history.
What began as a 30-day border closure on arrivals from Schengen and non-EU countries has turned into a series of endless lock-in measures that have sparked widespread disagreement among EU members.
Despite the slow release of vaccinations of the bloc, the EU has unveiled a Covid pass that will allow easy travel this summer to support the highlighted tourism sector. This would allow vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals who have a negative effect on Covid-19 to travel freely.
Destinations such as Greece and Portugal have announced that they will open to tourists in May as a result.
Next week, EU leaders will meet for a heated debate on the rights to be included in Covid certificates, such as ensuring non-discrimination against those who cannot or refuse to be vaccinated.
“It may take some time to return to the same volumes we experienced in 2019 and we may never return to the same volumes – only time will tell,” Sergeyeva said.
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Photo credit: Some of the most rustic houses in the Mediterranean are located in the village of Papingo in Greece in Epirus. Elena Sergeeva, blogger