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Samothraki Open Forum

Conclusions and Suggestions Samothraki Open Forum 2018

  1. Strategy and Branding

It is proposed to develop a (new) strategy for the brand of Samothraki and to create an excellent tag line (eg “Live the World in an Island – The Island of the Great Gods”).

It is desirable to involve citizens in their communication and implementation, perhaps through a social networking campaign. Also, a renewal of the site of the Municipality will strongly support the communication with the residents and visitors of the island.

  1. Expansion of coastal connections

 The need for better connectivity of the island with other destinations, e.g. Aegean islands, Kavala, Athens, Imbros and Turkey, in order to increase tourism, trade and stimulate the local economy.

The expansion and upgrading of transport services to and from the Island of Samothrace through increased competition will have positive effects on tourism and the idea of “total Samothrace experience” (e.g. greater connectivity, timely timetable, passenger / tourist experience, Wifi in ships, ports, cleanliness, holistic approach to air, rail, ferry connections, passenger satisfaction survey, etc.).

Therefore, it is necessary to draw up a new (road)map of coastal connections in the North Aegean Sea by the Ministry of Maritime and the creation of a Customs Office in Samothraki, as announced at the Forum.

  1. Local Economy and Production

The local economy of Samothrace is based on agricultural production. There are few hotels (as 3 star), many rooms to rent and municipal campsites. Lastly, the problem of the free camp with an impact on the environment and the tourist product of Samothraki is quite intense.

The Forum has underlined the need to upgrade the skills of local entrepreneurs with the aim of optimally integrating them into a modern model of sustainable development. It is therefore suggested that a needs study be carried out and a training program for young entrepreneurs, mainly aimed at improving their professional skills and creating clusters.

Some of the following are suggested as ways of moving entrepreneurs to the new sustainable development model (without of course being the only ones):

a) partnerships with institutions (e.g. banks, institutions, companies, universities) to improve skills in relation to the production and promotion of their products /

b) creating clusters with other entrepreneurs or producers of local products (e.g. hotels promoting local products),

c) increasing the added value of local products (e.g. standardization and branding of Samothrace honey or olive oil);

d) Renovation and creation of new modern small tourist units (e.g. boutique hotels, AIRB & B high standards etc.)

e) investing in technology and digital marketing (through social networks);

f) creating a brand “made in Samothrace” for local products, e.g. meat, cheese, wine, local cuisine, etc.,

g) the creation of a dynamic, electronically accessible, basis of production indicators (agricultural products, tourism, markets, etc.).

  1. Cultural heritage

Samothrace has a particularly rich cultural heritage. It is therefore necessary to record, restore, digitize and promote the cultural heritage of Samothrace through some (or any other) actions:

a) updating the list of the ancient, new and preserved monuments of the island, its nature,

b) restoration of monuments, fencing and marking,

c) particular attention to the accessibility and accessibility of monuments (e.g. the sanctuary of the Great Gods and difficult accessibility for the disabled);

  1. d) creating a coherent, modern regulatory framework that helps preserve and enhance the cultural heritage (e.g. the preservation of the architectural tradition in Hora of Samothrace and other settlements that may be judged as traditional);
  2. e) promotion of cultural heritage, traditions, folk art, myths (e.g. the marriage of Harmony with Cadmus) through philosophical, historical conferences, exhibitions, artistic events, fairs, etc.)

f) international awards for the protection of nature and the cultural heritage,

g) attempts to integrate the Sanctuary and the entire Site of the Great Gods into the list of UNESCO protected monuments,

h) Linking cultural heritage to tourism (e.g. Samothraki paths along with gastronomic experiences or local Mysteries of the Harmony of Mysteries, etc.)

  1. i) creation of an application for better and immediate information of residents and visitors about the “total experience of Samothraki”.
  1. Destination branding – “Total Experience Samothraki”

Sustainable tourism in Samothraki can be developed into a key pillar of sustainable development and to meet the 360-day experience of Samothraki, since it is the target of the majority of the island and is reflected in its (new) brand. This development should be holistically applied and respected (people, nature, cultural heritage and infrastructure) and win-win project.

Therefore, the deployment of a Business Plan for Sustainable Tourism (2019-2021) in cooperation with the Region, the local businessmen and the island’s inhabitants. Along with the (re-) branding process, the following marketing techniques can be implemented according to the available budget:

a) Strategic cooperation with promoters of Destinations, Marketing Organizations, e.g. Marketing Greece or even Aegean etc to promote Samothrace along with the wider region, history, myths, gastronomy, etc.,

(b) the use of social media tools (e.g. Instagram) as well as synergies with selected SMEs and journalists, once the relevant promotional materials have been prepared,

c) Assigning to bloggers or digital nomads the promotion of Samothrace and its new brand,

d) projection of Samothrace through exhibitions at museums with archaeological finds e.g. Vienna, Louvre, Athens, Alexandroupolis etc.,

e) the implementation of joint exhibitions, conferences, etc. with the Samothraki Municipalities (eg Rome, etc.),

f) the implementation of events, exhibitions, gastronomy for local products of Samothraki in high end locations, e.g. luxury hotels, restaurants, airports, etc. in the cities where visitors from Samothraki mainly come,

g) the promotion of local products and their interconnection with tourism; desserts, dairy products, herbs, goat, pasta etc.,

h) Focusing on a specialized audience e.g. nature lovers, botanists, walkers, gastronomy, explorers, scientists etc.,

(i) creation of an electronic database with visitor data (e.g. arrivals, origin, preferences, daily expenses, total satisfaction, etc.)

j) continuous communication of the promotion activities of the Municipality and the Region of Samothraki through their respective web pages,

(k) organization of volunteer groups on the island but also outside of Samothrace to promote it.

  1. Infrastructure

Sustainable development of Samothrace requires the island’s infrastructure to operate smoothly and continuously throughout the year.

Some of the proposals, which can be funded by relevant programs, are as follows:

(a) optimization of port infrastructures to ensure frequent and multiple coastal connections between the island and other destinations, as well as care for recreational craft, yachts, seaplanes, etc with respect for the environment,

b) access, marking, operation and lighting of archaeological sites and historical monuments (eg Palaeopolis Museum, Vouni, closed Monasteries, etc.)

c) maintenance and rehabilitation of a multitude of industrial buildings, homes, etc., so as not to give a picture of the abandonment of the island and the degradation of the cultural heritage,

d) energy upgrading of all buildings in Samothrace through specific programs in the context of a general renovation of the aging or damaged building fabric of the island,

e) continuous operation and upgrading of the thermal baths and the surrounding area,

f) Operation with modern standards of the camping of the Municipality and its profitability,

g) upgrading the island’s hotel infrastructure and creating a boutique hotel with an emphasis on high-quality services and sustainable tourism (e.g. green key),

h) modern, lawful waste management of Samothraki, the operation of biological purification as well as the training of residents in waste sorting,

i) Sustainable water and electricity supply with cost reductions and increased stability in continuous supply,

j) the rehabilitation of settlements with modern infrastructure (e.g. Kamariotissa, Therma, Lakkoma).

  1. Technology

It is proposed to develop a strategy for the development of technology and relevant skills for all residents of Samothraki and the creation of an “Intelligent Island” in cooperation with specialized agencies.

The geographical position of Samothrace and the large investments in COSMOTE’s networks give Samothraki an extraordinary competitive advantage. This is the creation of the connected or smart Island.

Some of the goals could be:

a) Better communication between authorities and citizens in general, but also in case of natural disasters,

b) better monitoring of forests and any fires,

c) optimal waste management,

d) use of cyclical economy techniques for farmers and stockbreeders or for robotic production,

e) the creation of and control of residential or forestry or rural areas,

f) any other occurrence after consultation with the operators.

  1. Legal framework

The protection of Nature, the environment and the cultural heritage of Samothraki (e.g. in the traditional settlement of Hora of Samothrace) may require new, comprehensive regulation and tightening of the existing regulatory framework.

Therefore, the following steps are considered necessary:

a) to preserve the homogeneity and architecture of the country and other traditional settlements of Samothraki,

b) the immediate completion of the cadastre, forest maps, archaeological sites and their digital publishing,

c) the establishment of environmental protection requirements for pollutants (e.g. emissions of gases, noise, etc.)

d) provisions for the protection of the seas, beaches, waters, forests, massifs and streams of Samothrace,

e) provision of spatial planning for the establishment and development of enterprises, warehouses, tourist infrastructure,

  1. Organization & Funding

It is proposed to create within the Municipality a small, flexible team of “Strategic Planning and Implementation of Actions for Sustainable Development” as well as the budgeting the above actions. The process of recruiting a Strategic Consultant for Sustainable Development is also proposed. The responsibilities of the team and the consultant will also be to find the necessary resources to implement the actions through the (municipal, regional or European) budget or by private bodies (e.g. Niarchos Foundation, etc.).

PROPOSED ACTIONS, DELIVERIES & TIMETABLE

Number Deliverable Proposed Schedule Measurement Proposal
1 Creation of a “Strategic Planning and Implementation Team” 12.2018 Once Νο 9
2 Developing a training program for entrepreneurs through a questionnaire 03.2019 Once Νο 3, 5 & 7
3 Developing a training program for entrepreneurs through a questionnaire 04.2019 Once Νο 6, 7, 8 & 9
4 Strategy Brand & Tag Line Samothrace 05. 2019 Once Νο 1, 3, 4, 5 & 7
5 Development of the Sustainable Tourism Development Plan of Samothraki (2019-2021) and costing of the actions 05. 2019 Once Νο 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9
6 Samothracian interconnection plan with other destinations 06.2019 Once Νο 2, 3, 5 & 6
7 Updating the list of monuments & preservatives and collecting data, photographs about the cultural heritage of Samothrak 06.2019 Once Νο 4, 5 & 7
8 Creation and placement of a pilot operation of Samothrace application for residents and tourists 06.2019 Once & then renewal Νο 4, 5 & 7
9 New Site of the Municipality of Samothrace 06.2019 Once & then renewal Νο 1, 3, 4, 5 & 7
9 Passenger Satisfaction Survey 07. –  08.2019 Annually Νο 3, 5 & 6
10 Digitization of the cultural heritage of Samothrace 09. – 12.2019 Once yearly renewal Νο 4, 5 & 7
11 Training and upgrading the skills of businessmen on the island, technology, marketing, etc. 06. – 12.2019 100% training of entrepreneurs Νο 3, 5 & 7
12 Overview of the current legal framework and proposals for improvement aimed at Sustainable Development 04.2019 Once Νο 3, 8 & 9

October 2018