High-quality upgrade for the leading expo duo
It was a dynamic and productive three-day expo weekend for Thessaloniki from 18 to 20 November, with the hosting of Philoxenia, Hotelia, and the new kid on the block, Real Estate Expo North. In total, of 24,153 people visited the Thessaloniki International Exhibition Centre to learn about the most recent developments in tourism, hotel equipment, catering and coffee-catering, as well as real estate.
Thessaloniki’s classic expo duo attracted the interest of the tourism sector, while it sent out a message of optimism regarding Greek tourism, with a number of institutional agencies, tourism enterprises, enchanting destinations, and local authority representatives in attendance. Present at the two expos were 350 exhibitors from 18 countries, 115 hosted buyers from 35 countries, and a 158-member business delegation from Iraqi Kurdistan, coordinated by the Chamber of Commerce of Erbil.
Exhibitors and visitors were in agreement with regard to the high-quality upgrade of the exhibition result and in the opportunities for making trade contacts. In fact, more than 3500 meeting between exhibitors and hosted buyers from 32 countries were held during the expos. The wealth of side events organised by important tourism agencies and exhibitors filled all the halls of the exhibition centre, imbuing the two events with a particularly lively atmosphere, while also highlighting their educational character.
Exhibitor response to Philoxenia was very positive, and they were very satisfied from their contacts with the hosted buyers and other trade visitors of the major exhibition event. There was also increased traffic in all visitor categories, Greek and foreign, while this year’s Philoxenia lived up to its name as an “International” event, with direct exhibitors from 17 countries and several state participations.
Philoxenia’s Honoured Country was Armenia and the Honoured Region was the municipality of Heraklion, Crete, while other participants included the Deputy Ministry of Tourism of Cyprus, the Tourism Organisation of Armenia, the Ministry of Tourism of Bulgaria, and the Tourism Organisation of Serbia. There was also a dynamic presence by the Ministry of Tourism, EOT (which has both trade fairs under its auspices), and the most important institutional bodies of the sector — XEE (Hellenic Chamber of Hotels), SETE (Greek Tourism Confederation), HATTA (Hellenic Association of Travel & Tourist Agencies), POX (Hellenic Hoteliers Federation), and SETKE (Greek Confederation of Tourist Accommodation Enterprises) — which have placed the expo under their auspices. Philoxenia was sponsored by EPSILON HOSPITALITY.
Philoxenia’s well-established conference was also a glowing success. This year it focused on sports tourism and its growth prospects, opportunities for Greece from organising major sports events, and the creation of the right infrastructure. The proceedings were attended by large numbers of people, while distinguished speakers shared their knowledge with the public. Fraport Greece was the Hospitality Sponsor of the conference.
The Hotelia hotel equipment exhibition attracted many visitors and garnered significant interest. In fact, the All About Gastronomy and All About Café thematic units were sold out.
More specifically, All About Gastronomy’s gastronomy events, organised by Chef Stories, were dedicated to the dynamism of Greek products, which incorporate the values of tradition, authenticity, quality, and flavour, and provide added value to Greek hospitality. This year’s theme, ‘My Local Greek Choice’, was presented at 8 events, with 400 visitors, and through 16 dishes prepared by Chef Giorgos Psyllos and his team, using exceptional products from 11 award-winning producers, all served in a unique dining area. Furthermore, global gastronomy trends that were reinforced during the pandemic were also presented, such as the interest in foods with a high nutritional value and a local identity. At one of the presentations there was a special tribute to Cretan gastronomy, given that the municipality of Heraklion was Philoxenia’s Honoured Region. In fact, students from the Culinary and Hotel Departments of Thessaloniki’s IEK DELTA 360⁰ schools gave the events a youthful character.
All About Café was organised by Valenio and attracted high numbers, mainly of professionals, who came specifically for information, highly interested in forming new partnerships. Furthermore, there were many visitors who wanted to try the products and learn about new coffee-catering trends. Regular consumers attending the expo were excited with the options and new coffee varieties. The seminars that were open to the public were also very popular, as the audience was given the opportunity to learn about coffee developments from established professionals. But it was the Latte Art Throw Down 2022 competition that stole the show, providing Baristi with the opportunity to be tested and have their skills evaluated in a friendly environment.
Barista’s Gold by Nounou was the Grand Sponsor at All About Café and Eurogat was the Equipment Sponsor.
Lastly, Real Estate Expo North, organised by RM International in partnership with TIF-Helexpo, attracted enterprises from the realty and construction sector, setting the bar high as regards visitor numbers from its very first event in Thessaloniki. In fact, it was visited by, among others, 30 international investors from Dubai, Hong Kong, Germany, the Netherlands, Iraq, Lebanon, and Israel, as part of a business delegation formed by the organising company. Also, an event was held in the framework of Real Estate Expo North to celebrate the centenary of operation of the Realtors Association of Thessaloniki.