"WHO ARE WE REALLY???"
Results from the study on ascertaining the true identity of organized event destinations and their venues.
In the framework of the International Conference on Marketing Destinations and their Venues, Gina Roupaka, Managing Director of the research company FOCUS, presented special market research entitled "WHO ARE WE REALLY???". This research was the first of its kind to study the identity of various destinations and their venues as they are experienced and received by professionals who specialise in the area of event organisation.
The research by FOCUS was a quality search study aiming for the in-depth examination and understanding of the rationale of professionals and achieving a clear picture of all the fundamental conditions that dominate today's market of conference tourism and events venues. Within the framework of the research, 32 in-depth interviews on a one-to-one basis took place with representatives of all the main areas, through personal contact or via the web. The findings were of particular interest and constitute a very significant first step towards a better understanding of the current situation, which could also prove to be very interesting in the future should it be elaborated to offer a clear direction that will lead towards the development and further progress of conference tourism in Greece.
According to the research findings, Greece deserves to be considered as a destination that offers attractive locations for the development of conference tourism just as much in terms of its two main cities as of its more touristy islands, namely Rhodes, Crete and Kos. Athens - especially after the 2004 Olympic Games - aims at reaching first place for destinations within Greece, as it now offers all the necessary infrastructure to ensure easy access and a range of alternative proposals resulting in strong competition and higher prices. Large conference venues and high quality service together with easy access are characteristic of large cities. For quite some time now, holiday destinations have constituted a very attractive option combining full infrastructure with entertainment and the possibility of low prices during non-peak seasons. It is worth noting the latest tendency in alternative destinations - the most characteristic examples being Delphi and Milos - which constitute a very attractive option for conference attendees with extensive experience and participation in conferences and are considered with interest and potential for the future.
A particularly significant part of Mrs Roupaka's presentation was her concise summary of the developments to come in 5 key points that all those involved in the organisation of conferences should keep clearly in their minds: to start with the new and very attractive concept of combining business with pleasure which has now become an obvious requirement but...may also prove to be a point of distinction for a conference. The need for specialisation and professionalism on the part of all those who are involved in the organisation of a conference, for innovation not only as far as organisation is concerned but also regarding proposals and the conference's marketing and promotion strategy, for the reinforcement of the necessary government support and for an ever increasingly effective and productive collaboration between professionals.
The closure of Mrs Roupaka's presentation was particularly impressive as she summarised a series of winning answers given by professionals involved in the area to the key question of "Who are we really??". These answers quickly reveal the information gap and incomplete knowledge that prevails today. A certain amount of ignorance is obvious in terms of departmental numbers and sizes, which will help specialists to see the overall picture and where they should place themselves within it. At the same time the professionals themselves establish the fact that there is an urgent need just as much for the mobilisation towards the direction of informing correctly and fully, as much as for the full sensitisation of government apparatus and of the institutions within this sector for the activities and development of conference tourism. And the professionals conclude that as good as the personal efforts of individuals may be, they cannot secure the wider and more potential development of their country, they cannot make conference tourism take off, they cannot follow and compete with international standards on their own.
In this way, the final message that was given by Mrs Roupaka of FOCUS was: PROFESSIONAL EVENTS ORGANISERS NEED A HELPING HAND FROM SOMEONE IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND BETTER WHO EXACTLY THEY ARE AND TO GET A CLEARER AND MORE COMPLETE PICTURE OF THE GREEK CONFERENCE MARKET!! LET'S HOPE THAT SOMEONE WILL HELP GREECE TO PRESENT ITSELF, BE PROMOTED AND FINALLY BLOSSOM AS A CONFERENCE DESTINATION!!