The Governor of Crete has extended an official invitation to Advantage Travel Centres to host its 2014 conference on the island as Greece looks to tourism to pull itself out of its current "crisis".
Speaking on the Governor's behalf at a meeting in Malta with the consortium's chief executive John McEwan and chairman Willie Stewart, Crete's deputy Governor Maria Lioni, regional vice governor of Rethymno, Crete, said:
"We are a country in crisis, but in spite of all our financial problems, Crete's strategy is to show bodies like Advantage that Crete has so much to offer, explore and enjoy."
She said the new central government has decided that agriculture and tourism are the two major projects being focused on in terms of efforts and funding.
"Despite all the problems that Greece has as a country, Crete as a region is considered to be a different story. We don't have the same problems - we're a long way away from Athens and we are much more self-sufficient financially than the other regions because Cretans have learned to create a culture to get out of the crisis faster.
"And despite there being a Central Government, the new system gives independence to individual projects."
Crete welcomed over 2.5 million visitors last year, 40% of which were from the UK making it the number one overseas market for the Greek island.
But it wants more, hence the engagement with Advantage, complete with the offer of free videos of Crete for agents to use to inspire/convince agents to sell the destination.
"We have a strategy to enhance the customer experience," said the deputy governor.
Crete is keen to grow its cruise business as well as its general and luxury holiday sales. Last year, it welcomed 270 cruiseships passengers in Heraklion; 80 to Cania; and 30 to Ayos Nikoloas, according to Ioannis Bras, the chairman and managing director of the Heraklion Port Authority.
Stewart thanked the deputy Governor and Bras for Crete's kind offer and said he and McEwan would discuss it and also work closely with the island officials to help educate members about Crete.
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