Spiros Pengas, Deputy Mayor for Tourism Development and International Relations at City of Thessaloniki

Q:Why Thessaloniki?

Because Thessaloniki is the hottest upcoming city destination in Southeastern Europe. Follow the trend…

Q: How popular is Thessaloniki as a destination for events?

Thessaloniki is not popular yet, whereas it is an emerging MICE destination. Each year the city climbs higher on the rankings concerning events and conferences.

Q: How is Thessaloniki meetings business performing this year?

It is doing better than last year.

Q: Where is the greatest competition and how do you face this?

Our competition consists of all second-tier cities in Europe. Another competitive destination is Athens because the capital is the number one city that comes up when you want to bring your event in Greece.

“Thessaloniki is the hottest upcoming city destination in Southeastern Europe.”

thessaloniki

Q: What have been some challenges you have faced over the past years?

Thessaloniki has been an unknown destination for decades. An awareness strategy began just in 2011 and TCB has been formed just in 2014. The bet has through these years been to bring the visitors over. Once we have achieved that, everybody loved the city and wanted to return.

Q: What is your strategy to develop MICE business?

The first step was the creation of a TCB. I do believe that the MICE business strategy should move hand in hand with the general Destination Development Strategy. Thessaloniki is a small city with few experts and has no resources to spare. A third step should be a common Balkan, southeastern European MICE strategy.

Q: On a personal note, what would be your ideal event to host in Thessaloniki?

We have already hosted two ideal events in 2012 and 2014. First, we had WOMEX, World Music Expo at the International Fair premises and the second was the World Coastal Rowing Championship at Thessaloniki’s seafront.