The strongest feeling caused by the position of CEO is that of responsibility since from him / her everyone expects the “solution” to the problem, but also the inspiration and vision for the future, says Konstantinos Tsovilis, one of the founders of the group Goldair and CEO of Goldair Tourism. Regarding the tourism sector, he estimates that if and when 2022 is the year of exit from the pandemic, there will be a dynamic return.
– This year’s tourist traffic made the surprise, exceeding the estimates. How would you characterize the course of tourism so far?
This year the course of tourism was unquestionably positive, given the situation that prevails due to the pandemic. Especially from mid-July until October, the increase in both arrivals and occupancy of hotel accommodation was impressive, reaching the levels of 2019, a record year for Greek Tourism. Officially, however, the assessment of Greek tourism is that in 2021 it will close, having caught 50% of the tourist traffic of 2019. In conclusion, we can say that the trend is definitely positive, but we still have a long way to go as an industry to be able to to say with certainty that we have escaped the risk and to make tourism businesses viable in the future.
– Do you think that next year will be even better? And if so, where do you attribute it?
The logical answer is yes, except for the unexpected. If and when 2022 is the year of exit from the pandemic, I estimate that there will be a dynamic return of tourism. The incarceration, restriction of movement and psychological oppression that people have suffered will act as a springboard that will boost the demand for both leisure and business trips and events (conferences and exhibitions). With this season coming to an end, the plans for next year are now being made and the precursor indicators allow a more optimistic assessment for the tourist recovery.
– With the digital world gaining ground, teleconferencing and online conferencing have gained “space” over business travel. Do you think this trend will change? When do you anticipate that the business travel industry will be able to return?
Lockdowns have created a huge gap in the smooth running of any kind of business regardless of industry as human contact has been virtually eliminated or reduced. Technology has provided some solutions in this regard, but I think they are temporary. The reason is that in order to have a successful business activity, it is necessary to have human contact and to strengthen relationships through social activities. This can not be replaced by a screen and a video conference. Man is above all a social being and seeks personal contact in all aspects of his life, let alone in his professional and business life. A trip, a hotel stay, a meal in a restaurant to close a business deal is not only a “job” but also a pleasant escape from the daily routine. Thus, I see professional tourism recovering and evolving daily since the countries reopened with the lifting of lockdowns.
– What are your estimates for the business tourism market for the rest of 2021, but also for next year?
As I said before, I believe that apart from unexpected events, it will develop positively. The trend shows that by the end of 2021 we will have reached 40% -50% of the traffic of 2019. This will continue until March 2022 from where I believe that we can talk about increasing business trips and events. And since we will enter the spring, the epidemic will enter the phase of recession and due to weather conditions, while I hope that new treatments will provide additional solutions to decongest hospitals, reduce mortality and consequently the further opening of professional tourism.
– What emotions does the CEO position itself cause and how do you manage them?
I think the strongest feeling is that of the responsibility that a CEO has since he / she expects from him / her the “solution” to the problem, but also the inspiration and the vision for the future. In my career I always tried and faced the crises that from time to time appeared in front of me with courage, boldness, optimism and prudence to the extent that my strength allowed. This crisis has completely stripped me of any weapon, strategy, process, plan or anything else I could have as a tool to deal with a crisis. Our market is closed worldwide. There was nothing to do, or say. All I had left was patience and hope. The plan was that there was no plan. Unprecedented emotions entered my life, such as that of fear, of agony
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