Experts see deficit in promoting Greece's gastronomy tourism

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Professionals from the sector perceive gastronomy as one of the privileged fields of alternative tourism for Greece thanks to its diversity of food and drink traditions, its quality of products that rank among the country's main exports as well as the global trend toward the exploration of local tastes.

Tourists themselves could be the best ambassadors for Greece as a gastronomy destination, according to Kostas Siolas, co-founder of Greek Way, a company packaging delights from around the country into boxes and suitcases for sale or distribution at hotels, conferences etc. as souvenirs.

Haris Tzannis, a food editor and food experience designer, explains to Xinhua that the huge potential of Greece's gastronomy tourism is largely untapped.

"Greek gastronomy is an experience tourists can share with their friends and relatives at home after their visit to this country, making up for the shortage in the promotion of Greece as a gastronomic destination," Siolas told Xinhua, deploring that "in general, we are not so good at promoting ourselves."

The problem does not only lie in the country's central promotional campaigns for home and abroad, but also in the failure on the part of hotels to promote this experience to their guests.

"Most hoteliers are not familiar with the wealth and the variety of domestic produce," said Tzannis, adding "we cannot have such a good material and not promote it."

Experts blame the lack of central policy in the promotion of Greek gastronomy as a key theme in the country's campaign to expand and diversify its tourism appeal. They agree that this is a dimension that also serves a key objective of the Greek tourism policy that could bring about quality upgrade to augment the revenue inflow.

ATHENS, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Greece does not promote its gastronomy tourism the way it should, given the wealth of the country's culinary delights and the size of incoming tourism centering on its natural beauty and culture, experts said as the planning for the 2019 tourism season is fully under way.

"This has been an unused treasure. We have a deficit in this section. It is vital to promote experience tourism through Greek tastes, as there is no better thing than experience," he noted.

In the last few years, a Hellenic Chamber of Hotels initiative to promote Greek delicacies on hotel breakfast buffets has been a success under the label of "Greek breakfast". Nonetheless, only about 1,3000 hotels across the country took part, a small fraction of the 9,783 hotels as 2017 figures show.

Tourism is an essential pillar of the Greek economy, with the country expecting to host more than 300 million visitors throughout this year and collect revenues of over 15 billion euros (16.95 billion U.S. dollars).