The 3rd National Rural Tourism Congress in Greece was carried out with great success in the Peloponnese - Greece. The congress was organised by the Hellenic Rural Tourism Federation (SEAGE) and it was hosted in Arcadia 2 - 5 May 2014, with the participation of delegates from all Rerional Rural Tourism Unions of Greece and from representatives of the European Rural Tourism Federation EuroGites.
The Congress was implemented with the support of the Peloponnese Region who's Vice-President Mrs Nikolakou worked closely with SEAGE for the preparation of the Conference, and also met with members of the Board of EuroGites, in SEAGE's booth in the international tourism fair ITB in Berlin in early March. The Arcadia Chamber of Comerce offered an official dinner for the delegates and guests, Friday, the 2nd of May 2014 in Tripoli.
During the Congress two familiarization trips have been organised in the Peloponnese (Argolis and Arcadia) for the delegates of SEAGE, the representatives of EuroGites and travel agents and journalists from Greece and abroad. Participants had the opportunity to experience the capabilities of the Peloponnese, in the field of rural tourism - agrotourism and contact Peloponnesian entrepreneurs - members of the Rural Tourism Union of Peloponnese, to exchange ideas and to establish professional partnerships.
On Saturday, May 3rd, participants were guided to the Arcadian Museum of Art (Dryades Guesthouse - Levidi), to the Water Power Museum (Dimitsana), the Elementary School Museum (Psari Arcadias), the fir Woodcarving Workshop and participated in rural tourism activities and tasting seminars offered by "Grecofood" and "Arkadiani". The 3rd National Rural Tourism Conference was held on Sunday, 04.05.2014 at the exhibition ground "8th Arcadian Panorama" in Tripolis, with the support of Alpha Exhibition company and with participation of distinguished speakers from Greece and Europe, who are specilalists in rural tourism issues.
The Conference was attended by the General Secretary of EuroGites Mr Klaus Ehrlich. Mr Hans Embacher, Vicepresident of EuroGites & Director of the Austrian Rural Tourism Federation, Mr Linas Zabaliunas, President of Rural Tourism Federation of Lithuania and EuroGites Board member, Mrs Maria Stoian, President of the Romanian Rural Tourism Federation, Mrs Almudena Martin Torregrosa, President of Rural Tourism Union of Andalucia (Spain), the tourist agents Michael Cullen (i-escape.com, England) and Merja Tuominen (Finland) and tourism journalists Mr Hans-Georg Hermann (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany) and Mrs Grazina Liukaityte (Verslo Zinios, Lithuania).
From Greece also attended by the rapporteurs Kostouros George, Vicepresident of Association for the Revival of Nemean Games & Director of the Development Company Northern Peloponnese (ANVOPE) and Mr Constantine Manasakis, Economist (MBA, PhD), Lecturer of the University of Crete.
During the conference issues for the development of rural tourism in Europe have been discussed, as well as issues connected with the lack of legal framework for land tourism in Greece, the process of self-assessment and certification of rural tourism enterprises in Greece, which was completed in Crete and is underway in Peloponnese, the Branding and cooperation in rural tourism, promotion and internet sales for small land hostels, diversification of products and networking, Agritourism services through information and communication technologies, etc.
The conference concluded its work with a round table of the rapporteurs and rural tourism entrepreneurs, and in the eveningby the General Assembly in SEAGE was held in Levidi. On Monday, May 5th, participants toured the Peloponnese with support of rural tourism travel agencies Discover Peloponnese (Tripolis) and Grecopaths (Nafplion) by visiting Spyropoulos Estate (Mantineia), which granted its products for the Congress (wine and cheese), Melas Olive Oil factory (Ligourio). Also toured the archaeological site of Epidaurus as well as the city of Nafplion.
The president of SEAGE Mr Nikos Frantzeskakis and the president of the Peloponnese Rural Tourism Union Mr Panos Poulos thanked the Peloponnese Region of Arcadia and the Chamber for the collaboration of the most important annual event Rural Tourism in Greece, as well as the significant efforts made by the District for the promotion of rural tourism - agrotourism, where the comparative advantages of the Peloponnese is unique.
The conference was attended by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Media and Communication Mr Panagiotopoulos.
"Our goal is to promote an integrated tourism product, but also the interface between the natural environment and our high quality agricultural products, and so to achieve greater synergies and goodwill, utilizing our advantages to develop Rural Tourism in the Peloponnese, "according to the Prefect of Peloponnese Mr Tatoulis.
"The direction is entirely consistent with our plans to develop targeted thematic tourism and the Peloponnese Region will invest strategically in this area even more next year," said Mrs Nikolakou.
SEAGE like to thank all participants, the foreign guests, the journalists and particularly the fellow Agrotourism Union of Peloponnese, for hosting the 3rd National Rural Tourism Congress.