Case Study: Western Peloponnese

Promoting a gastronomic and tourist destination with a strong branding

Municipality of Western Peloponnese has assigned the company Destination-Management. Co to conduct a study with the aim of exploring the needs of the region and promoting it as a gastronomic and tourist destination with a strong branding. The project involves the participation of the Region, municipalities, chambers of commerce, agricultural and industrial cooperatives, local product producers such as farmers, livestock breeders, fishermen, and local product standardization or processing workshops, dining establishments, accommodation providers, services, as well as local media. Additionally, of primary importance is the dialogue and participation of citizens in the development of tourism and local gastronomy, as tourism development must align with the needs of the residents. The study addressed the new conditions after Covid-19 and the promotion of new forms of tourism in the region, with a focus on gastronomic tourism.

Implementation Work
Organizing a conference with the co-organization of the Municipality and the Association of Hoteliers and Owners of Tourist Accommodations, under the auspices of the local Chamber of Commerce, titled “Challenges and Prospects for Tourism in the Post-Covid 19 Era – Gastronomic Tourism in Our Region.” The conference presented new forms of tourism with a special focus on gastronomy and highlighted “Great cases” in Greece that have already started implementing sustainability strategies in their tourist businesses. The conference included constructive dialogue with the public to initially record the region&’s needs. Conducting a field survey involving 1,000 questionnaires distributed to residents, stakeholders, and interested members of the local area. The questionnaires detailed the challenges, needs, prospects, and opportunities of the region. The findings emphasized the need for a collective effort to manage the region&’s good reputation and environment, highlighting its comparative advantages, whether they are high-quality local products (PDO, PGI, traditional) or provided services, all tied to the region&’s identity. Additionally, there was a need for the adaptation of tourist businesses to new trends in sustainable and green tourism, with a focus on gastronomy.

Following the previous study steps, actions were proposed and agreed upon for the three main cities in the
mentioned Municipality. These actions involved a combination of scientific, gastronomic, and
entertainment interests, with a focus on four main axes:

1. Gastronomy – creating visual materials (documentaries) and developing areas and routes using augmented reality. An information event and an exhibition of local products were also organized.
2. Tourism and Gastronomy.
3. Primary sector and its connection to tourism (From Farm to Fork case).
4. Training for professionals and entrepreneurs in tourism education.

Regarding the educational aspect of our collaboration, the following steps are taken:
1. Practical training for employees and staff of local hotels by specialized professors and experts, in cooperation with various private colleges and public universities (e.g., the University of the Aegean’s Tourism Department).

2. Training for small and medium-sized tourism businesses in green and digital skills. Such as
– Sustainable development and sustainable practices.
– Energy efficiency and sustainable operating practices.
– Use of renewable energy sources
– Waste reduction
– Improving the environmental, social, and cultural footprint
– The digitalization of tourism services with the new tools presented such as Artificial Intelligence (AI++) will create a competitive advantage in the tourism sector. Lastly, the third level of our project concerns informing and raising awareness among the local population about sustainable development, sustainable tourism, and the adoption of “green” policies in their daily lives.

All the above components make up the action plan designed by our company, which we have undertaken to implement. Our final presentation and findings will be presented and delivered to the Municipal and Regional Councils, forming the path of development and progress for the region.

The purpose and goal of our efforts to create and implement the above are as follows:
– Promoting the competitive advantage of the region.
– Encouraging the adoption of best practices by local businesses.
– Exploring new paths of development beyond the tourism sector and into the commercial enterprises of the region, with the support of our collaboration with the University of the Aegean and the use of Sensory Marketing, which the Nutrition Department of Lemnos specializes in.

The project is expected to be completed within 18-24 months.