Significant increase in exhibitors to a total of 431
Real Estate Expo North and Skywalker’s JobFestival are being organised at the same time
Friday 10 November will mark the opening of the Philoxenia and Hotelia exhibitions, with a significant increase in the number of exhibitors, coming to a total of 431 participations from the entire spectrum of the tourism industry, and with it commences of a celebration for Thessaloniki, which will last until 12 November. Alongside the two exhibitions, Real Estate Expo North is being held for the second time at the Thessaloniki International Exhibition Centre, while on 10-11 November Skywalker’s JobFestival will be held at the ‘Ioannis Vellidis’ Congress Centre.
More specifically, there will be 211 direct and 90 indirect exhibitor participations, with a total of 31 exhibitors at pavilions 13 and 15, and an increase of approximately 30% in comparison to last year. In total, there will be 17 exhibitor countries at Philoxenia: Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria — which is the Honoured Country — Turkey, Serbia, Albania, Armenia, Bosnia, Poland, Slovakia, Portugal, Iran, Georgia, Jordan, Luxembourg, the Philippines, and Kosovo.
At Hotelia there will be 130 exhibitors (in pavilions 8, 9, and 10), with a direct international participation from Turkey and indirect international participations from 17 countries. There will be a 22% increase in the number of exhibitors at this event in comparison to last year.
The domestic tourism industry will be present throughout the two events. More specifically, exhibitors at Philoxenia and Hotelia include the Ministry of Tourism, EOT (the National Tourism Organisation with both exhibitions under its auspices), tourist destinations, airlines and shipping companies, travel agencies, construction, technology, furniture, manufacturing, equipment, and renovation companies addressed to the tourism sector from all the regions of Greece, as well as the most important institutional bodies, XEE (Hellenic Chamber of Hotels), SETE (Greek Tourism Confederation), HATTA (Hellenic Association of Travel & Tourist Agencies), POX (Hellenic Hoteliers Federation), and HAPCO (which have the exhibition under their auspices).
There is also a noteworthy increase in the number of direct participations, the most important being the appearance of SKYEXPRESS for the first time, as well as SEAJETS, GRECOTEL, Easy Hotelier, 12 of Greece’s 13 regions, and municipalities from all tourist regions. This year’s Philoxenia will particularly highlight mainland Greece as a winter destination, through the group participation of the Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers in Pavilion 13, with the presentation of the MAINLAND GREECE concept.
Philoxenia will also present the Innovative Design Cluster, the first innovation Cooperative Scheme in Greece, which consists of companies and other bodies that are active in or which incorporate into their actions creative planning.
Furthermore, as far as innovation is concerned, modern tech solutions for tourism created by the 13 startups of CapsuleT Travel & Hospitality Accelerator — an initiative of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels — will be presented at its pavilion.
National participations in Philoxenia include the Honoured Country, Bulgaria, (with the direct participation of the Ministry of Tourism and the delegation led by the Minister of Tourism, Ms Zaritza Dinkova, and participations from Varna, Bansko, Sofia, and Veliko Tarnovo), Cyprus, Georgia, Serbia (with participations from Belgrade, Sokobanja, and the Republic of Srpska), Turkey (with participations from the Municipality and the Chamber of Commerce of Izmir), and Albania (with the participation of the region of Korça).
The openness and internationalisation of the two exhibitions is evident from the number of international trade visitors and business meetings that will be held over the next few days. More specifically, Philoxenia will host 101 Hosted Buyers from 34
countries, while Hotelia will host 13 Hosted Buyers from Greece, Cyprus, and Serbia. Furthermore, a 50-strong business delegation from North Macedonia and delegations from Bulgaria will visit both exhibitions. There will be more than 3000 scheduled hosted buyer meetings with Philoxenia and Hotelia exhibitors. In addition, Hosted Buyers will also go on two fam trips in partnership with the Regions of Attica and Western Macedonia.
Philoxenia Forum 2023 is expected to turn into a pole of attraction for Philoxenia. It will be held on 11 November (Pavilion 14) under the auspices of the Department of Organisation Management, Marketing, and Tourism of IHU, Sponsored by Fraport Greece, and it will focus on current international tourism issues, under the title: “Searching for balance: overtourism – circular economy – climate change’.
The extensive programme of side events will take place on the stages of pavilions 13 and 14 and they include, among others, many lottery draws for airline tickets and gifts from exhibitors. Drawing on the Honoured Country, Zorpidis Travel Services and TIF-HLEXPO will give one lucky exhibition visitor a trip for two to Sofia.
Among the many side events, one that stands out is the musical tribute to the music of Mikis Theodorakis set the poems of Tasos Livaditis and Nikos Gatsos on Saturday 11 November. The musical tribute is being organised by the Mikis Theodorakis Museum of Zatouna, TIF-HELEXPO, and the Municipality of Gortynia, with the support of the Regional Association of the Municipalities of Peloponnese, and sponsored by EDIL, HENGAZ, and TILEMATIKI.
Hotelia also boasts a wealth of side events, where the uniqueness and particularities of Greek foods, as well as the art of preparing and presenting coffee, craft the creative profiles of the All About Gastronomy and All About Café sections.
All About Gastronomy, which is being overseen by Chef Stories, will highlight unusual tastes, ideas, and unique combinations of products of exhibitors and award-winning producers.
All About Café, which is being overseen by Valantis Lambrianidis, WCE Certified Judge & Coffee Business Consultant of Valenio, is dedicated to the art of preparing coffee, with workshops and the unique Latte Art ThrowDown Competition, with Barista’s Gold by Nounou as the Grand Sponsor and Eurogat as the Equipment Sponsor.
Today’s Press conference
“This year’s Philoxenia and Hotelia exhibitions prove that they are a major event for the tourism sector”, noted President of TIF-HELEXPO Mr Tasos Tzikas, at today’s Press Conference in view of the upcoming opening, predicting a particularly important three days for Thessaloniki. In fact, he made special reference to the Philoxenia Forum, stressing that it is important to search for the problems climate change is causing to tourism with people from the sector, while he highlighted the special relationship that has developed recently with Bulgaria, which will be this year’s Honoured Country at Philoxenia.
Philoxenia and Hotelia are amongst the most glamorous exhibitions besides the General Fair, stated TIF-HELEXPO CEO Kyriakos Pozrikidis, noting that the entire city, not just the Fair, will be celebrating over the next few days. “This is the regional tourism event after the international meeting of tourism professionals”, he stressed, and presented the detailed quantitative and qualitative characteristics of the exhibitions.
Tourism is a sensitive sector, and that is why we can only deal with its problems and challenges together, noted Mariela Modeva, consultant of the Minister of Tourism of Bulgaria, while she highlighted the long and close relationship between our two countries. In fact, Ms Modeva stressed that last year Bulgaria had participated in Philoxenia for the first time after the pandemic, while she is very satisfied both by the participation at the most recent TIF, in which Bulgaria was the Honoured Country.
This year’s Philoxenia will create new paths of cooperation, stressed the President of the Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation, who noted that all the efforts being made by all agencies are making Thessaloniki and increasingly attractive destination. She also said that the immediate future must find us all closely linked together, so that we can deal with any imbalances that may arise. In fact, as she said, Thessaloniki is standing up to the new challenges that will impact the life of its citizens and the stay of its tourists.
Philoxenia has proven time and time again that it is a successful institution, and every year it becomes richer and is renewed. It is a meeting point for tourism entrepreneurs, institutions, and private parties, an opportunity for networking and deal-making, a springboard for promoting destinations, and a forum for information of the latest sector developments, according to the deputy Mayor
for Culture and Tourism of Municipality of Thessaloniki, Ms Maria Karagianni.
For decades, Philoxenia has been a tool that has contributed to the tourism growth of Northern Greece, noted the President of the Thessaloniki Hotels Association, Mr Andreas Mandrinos. As regards exhibition events, he stressed that great attention must be paid to the exhibitions and to protecting the city’s interests.
It is a joy, an honour, and an opportunity to be participating in Philoxenia, according to the Treasurer of the Macedonia-Thrace Travel Agency Association, Mr Konstantinos Kourakos. It is a joy, because it is a major international event, an honour because the Association has been included in the organising bodies, and an opportunity because there are contacts and deals to be made.
Besides the numbers, Philoxenia is also a celebration for the city, for Thessaloniki, and that is its essence, noted the new President of the Thessaloniki Convention Bureau (TBC), Mr Prodromos Monastiridis, who stressed that this year’s participation by the TBC has been upgraded. He also noted that the Fair is necessary infrastructure for Thessaloniki and that it needs to be modernised and to become a state of the art venue.
Real Estate Expo North has more than 1100 pre-registrations this year, in comparison to last year, according to the President Realtors’ Association of Thessaloniki, Mr Konstantinos Tzaros, who represented the organising company. He also stressed that this year’s exhibition also includes a hosted buyers programme, b2b meetings, and a forum on real estate, while he aims to become an institution, highlighting Thessaloniki’s real estate prospects.
Pavilion 12 is dedicated to the development of coffee in the present, an agricultural product that is being impacted by climate change, as noted by Valantis Lambrianidis, WCE Certified Judge & Coffee Business Coffee Business Consultant of Valenio, who invited the public to visit All About Café and to try the unique varieties that will be presented.
The differentiation that gastronomy can provide to visitors of a destination was underlined by Ms Sylvia Koumentaki of Chef Stories, who noted that this trend is the focal point of All About Gastronomy.
The General Director of TIF-Helexpo, Mr Alexis Tsaxirlis, stressed that Philoxenia is the only tourism exhibition in Greece, while he underlined that this year’s Hotelia is one of the largest in recent years. He also noted that the exhibition body is offering its support Real Estate Expo North as it believes that is bringing something different to Thessaloniki.
The sponsors of the Philoxenia-Hotelia exhibitions are the National Bank of Greece (Official Bank), Aegean (Official Air Travel Sponsor), PPC (Official Power Provider), NOVA (Official Telecommunications Provider), Epsilon Hospitality (Official IT Partner), and Autohellas Hertz (Official Transport Sponsor). The exhibitions are supported by the Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation, Thessaloniki Convention Bureau, Macedonia-Thrace Travel Agency Association, and the Thessaloniki Hotels Association.
The three exhibition will be open on Friday 10 November 11:00 to 20:00, on Saturday 11 November from 10:00 to 20:00, and on Sunday 12 November from 10:00 to 18:00.