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					Country study

May 2010

Détente Consultants




CALYPSO STUDY ON
SOCIAL TOURISM
GREECE
CALYPSO STUDY ON SOCIAL TOURISM
GREECE




Revision      Final
Date          2010/03/16
Made by       Daniel Gros
Checked by    Marion Doublet
Approved by   National Contact Point
GREECE




CONTENTS




1.         Summary                                        1
2.         Focus on experiences on and mechanisms for
           international exchanges                        2
3.         Analysis of the four target tourism markets    2
3.1        Structures and players                         2
3.2        Segmentation profile                           3
3.3        Existing support systems and/or mechanisms     6
3.4        Demand drivers                                 8
4.         Analysis of the tourism sector                 9
4.1        Market trends                                  9
4.2        Supply of services                            10
4.3        Sustainable tourism aspects                   11
5.         Legislative perspectives                      11
6.         Development of products for social tourism    11
7.         Web portals                                   12




Annexes
List of interviewees
List of documents
Good practice descriptions
GREECE                                                                                                     1




1.       SUMMARY
         Because of strong social and economic difficulties that Greece is facing from the beginning of the
         year, the investigations were difficult for the consultants. Even if the national contact point was
         strongly involved in the study (information research, answer to questions, contact with
         stakeholders), several stakeholders could not be reached and some parts of the report are not
         completed.

         Lack of financial resources and information access are the main barriers that Greek Calypso
         targets are facing to go on holiday. Besides the seasonality of departure during peak-season, the
         ways to encourage them to go abroad off-season will be hard challenges. Seniors might be the
         target which would be the most able to go on holiday abroad and off-season because a part of
         them still benefit from good incomes and have free time.

         The main existing supports to help Greek citizens to go on holiday are run by public authorities,
         Greek National Tourism Organization and Worker’s Social Benefits Organization. They provide
         citizens with coupons that allow social groups with mid and low income to take holidays in tourist
         establishments everywhere in Greece.

         Few tourism exchanges initiatives and programs exist in Greece. Concerning exchange programs
         dedicated to seniors, Greece has lead the project called ‘Travel AGEnts’ (See task 1) and
         participates to the Spanish Ministry of Industry and Tourism program ‘Europe Senior Tourism’.

         Greek National Tourism Organization is interested in Calypso initiative, as in receiving people
         from abroad or in sending Greek citizens in other European countries.
GREECE                                                                                                     2




2.       FOCUS ON EXPERIENCES ON AND MECHANISMS FOR
         INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGES
         The main existing supports which help Greek citizens to go on holidays are the program ‘Tourism
         for All’ run by GNTO and the social tourism program from the Worker’s Social Benefits
         Organization. These programs are subsidies (coupons) which provide money and discounts
         mainly on accommodation in order to go on holiday inside Greece.
         Unions and social security organisms have implemented different kinds of actions for supporting
         holidays and excursions for employees and pensioners inside Greece as well.

         A project, with which 50Plus Hellas is involved along with ANCE, is the project “Travel AGEnts”: a
         program funded under the EU ENEA program to promote active ageing. People 55+ in 10
         Member States (Germany, Finland, Slovakia, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Estonia, Cyprus, the Czech
         Republic and Greece) after training and exchanges between countries, have formed a
         network ‘55 without Borders’, interested in promoting tourism for older people
         stressing volunteering and education (See Task 1).

         Greece is one of the main participating countries of ‘Europe Senior Tourism’ run by Spanish
         Ministry of Industry and Tourism (See Task 1). Kavaliero Viajes, the Greek travel Agency in
         charge of the program, recorded a very strong participation: 13,000 customers from the day the
         travel agency starts the program, 1.5 year ago. The forecast until the end of April should reach
         17,000 people.

         Small programs led by the General Secretariat for Youth allowed young Greek citizens to increase
         their mobility and leisure time, but the initiatives are mainly inside the country.


3.       ANALYSIS OF THE FOUR TARGET TOURISM MARKETS
3.1      Structures and players

         The Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) is the main public stakeholder in the
         social tourism sector.
         GNTO is the ruling State agency for the tourism sector in Greece. GNTO is a public entity
         supervised by the Ministry of Civilization and Tourism, with the head office in Athens and several
         Regional Departments of Tourism. GNTO’s mission is the organization, the development and the
         promotion of tourism in Greece by exploiting all the possibilities of the country (see annex 2).

         Specifically on social tourism, GNTO is also in charge of:
            •    The planning and the implementation of social tourism programs, such as "Tourism for
                 all".
            •    The development of alternative forms of tourism.

         The Worker’s Social Benefits Organization and the Worker’s Housing Organization,
         supervised by the Ministry of Work and Social Security:
            •    The Worker’s Social Benefits Organization has as primary mission to provide to its
                 beneficiaries, services that vary from strictly educational and cultural activities (coupons
                 for book purchase, tickets to theatres) to activities that are mainly recreational, such as
                 vacations.
            •    One of the most important programs is the Social Tourism Programs that has been
                 running since 1983. The beneficiaries are employees who contribute through their social
                 security and pensioners who had contributed in the past. The Worker’s Social Benefits
                 Organization provides its beneficiaries coupons for recreational activities, allowing them
                 to go on holidays and stay in hotels, apartments and lodges of their choice (that have
                 contracted with the organization) by paying a small fee.
GREECE                                                                                                       3




         The General Secretariat for Youth was set up in 1982 as a governmental institution with the
         primary task of shaping, monitoring and coordinating the government policy for youth and its
         connection with society and social entities.
         The General Secretariat for Youth implements several national programs in order to promote
         alternative youth tourism.

         Networks of non-governmental organisations involved in the fighting for rights of the Calypso
         targets also play a role in the holiday departure.

         The National Youth Council of Greece (ESYN) was founded in 1998 in Athens, Greece. It is
         an independent, non-governmental and non-profit federation of more than 47 youth social and
         political organisations that count 350,000 members. ESYN works as a platform of Hellenic Youth
         Organisations and is the official representative of the youth in issues of internal affairs as well as
         the official representative of Greek youth outside the national realms. The main purpose of the
         Hellenic Youth Council is to represent and promote the acts of its member organisations as well
         as to support their mutual communication on cultural, political and social issues.

         The National Confederation of Disabled People (ESAEA) represents more than 35 full
         member organisations.

         Unions and insurance sector are important players in the field of social tourism, as suppliers
         and supports, for example:
            •   IKA, the largest Social Security Organisation, covers 5,530,000 workers and employees
                and provides 830,000 pensioners
            •   Agricultural Insurance Organization (OGA)
            •   TYPET managed by employee’s Association of National Bank of Greece

         Some stakeholders have not been contacted because of the strong social and economic
         difficulties that Greece is facing from the beginning of the year.

3.2      Segmentation profile

         Senior citizens
         User profile (socio-          19.1% of total population in 2008 (10.7 million) is aged 65 or over;
         economic profile, travel      by 2010 estimated population of over 65 will be 2,081,043.
         habit demographics)           Pensioners’ revenues: 800 euros p.m. for 14 months but huge
                                       inequalities - some of the biggest in the EU in pension incomes.
                                       The minimum pension for a single person is €463.18 a month;
                                       €497.26 with a spouse; €519.39 with a spouse and one child;
                                       €541.24 with a spouse and two children; €563.16 with a spouse and
                                       three children; €486.06 with one child; €508.40 with two children;
                                       or €530.31 with three children.
                                       The total maximum monthly pension is €3,503.
                                           •   Schedule of payments: Fourteen payments a year.
                                           •   Earnings test: The pension is reduced by 70% if the
                                               beneficiary is aged 55 or older, without dependents, and
                                               earns more than €733.78 from employment; a supplement
                                               equal to 20% of the pension is paid for each child up to age
                                               18 (age 24 if a student, no limit if disabled).
                                           •   Deferred pension: A deferred pension is payable, subject to
                                               conditions.
                                           •   Benefit adjustment: Pensions are indexed to changes in the
                                               civil service pension.




                                           •   Pensioner social solidarity grant (old age): €195.15 a month
                                               is paid with net income up to €6,786.93; €146.36 with net
                                               income from €6,786.94 to €7,053.12; €97.58 with net
GREECE                                                                                                      4




                                             income from €7,053.13 to €7,230.51; €48.79 with net
                                             income from €7,230.52 to €7,452.32.
                                    There are very large inequalities in pension levels. Many civil
                                    servants have good pensions and this will continue for the next 10
                                    years. Those going into pension age will still be covered under the
                                    old rules so they will have a good chance of still having a good
                                    disposable income.
         Organisation               Greek National Tourism Organisation
         responsible for support    Ministry of Health and Social Security
         Duration of stay           The average length of stay is 7 days
         Main holiday               Greek tourism is expensive and this has encouraged tourism to
         destinations               other countries. However an increasingly educated and better off
                                    population is seeing an increase in tourism. The Arab countries are
                                    near, friendly and familiar. Balkan tourism is not very interesting.
         Average spending           No data available
         during holidays per
         year
         Holiday participation      No data available.
         statistics                 Holiday participation varies according to pensioners’ income.
                                    About 6 million of Greeks live abroad, and seniors use to visit their
                                    grandchildren
         Barriers and reasons       Many Seniors do not have adequate disposal income
         for non-participation      Greece has problems of accessibility for people with mobility
                                    problems but abroad this problem is usually less significant

         Young people
         User profile (socio-       Total number of young people from the ages of 15 to 29 who live in
         economic profile, travel   the country: 2,409,064
         habit demographics)        Percentage of young people in global population: 22%
         Organisation               General Secretariat for Youth (under the auspices of the Ministry of
         responsible for support    National Education and Religious Affairs) with the primary task of
                                    shaping, monitoring and coordinating the government policy for
                                    youth and its connection with society and social entities.
                                    National Hellenic Youth Council was established as a “platform” of
                                    NGYOs and is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit
                                    federation of Greek youth organisations. It is the official
                                    representative of Greek youth abroad and the main interlocutor of
                                    the Hellenic Government on youth issues at the national level.
         Duration of stay           About 10 days, depending the nature of trip (about 15 days for
                                    summer holidays; about 5 to 7 days for Print, winter holidays or
                                    short breaks)
         Main holiday               Inside the country: Greek islands and coast
         destinations               Mediterranean European destinations and European capitals
                                    South Mediterranean destinations
         Average spending           No data available
         during holidays per
         year
         Holiday participation      No data available
         statistics
         Barriers and reasons       Mainly financial barriers for students and unemployed young
         for non-participation      Even if many young people are familiar with internet, a consequent
                                    part of young people have no access to information (internet,
                                    discounts, programs...)
GREECE                                                                                                     5




         Families facing difficult circumstances
         User profile (socio-         The rate of individuals below poverty line was 19.6% in 2005
         economic profile, travel against EU average 16%. (EUROSTAT, 2005) The set threshold for
         habit demographics)          poverty was 5,649.78€ annual income for individuals and
                                      11,864.54€ for a couple with two dependent children (Ministry of
                                      Employment and Social Protection 2006)
         Organisation                 Ministry of Health and Social Security
         responsible for support      Different associations and NGO, for example the Confederation of
                                      large families
         Duration of stay             No data available
         Main holiday                 No data available
         destinations
         Average spending             No data available
         during holidays per
         year
         Holiday participation        No data available
         statistics
         Barriers and reasons         Mainly financial barriers especially for low income, mono parental
         for non-participation        and large families

         Adults with disabilities
         User profile (socio-        National Statistical Service of Greece, Labour Force Survey 2002:
         economic profile, travel    18.2% of the country's population has a health problem or a
         habit demographics)         disability, more than half of them are over 65 years old.
                                     36.8% have cardiac problems, 14.3%, arthritics and rheumatism
                                     and 6.6% diabetes and respiratory problems. 3.5% have a health
                                     problem or disability from birth, 3.5% have been injured at work,
                                     and 2.1%; acquired disability not related to work.
                                     84% of population with disability or health problem is economically
                                     inactive, against 58% of the general population.

                                     304.515 people received disability pension in 2008. In addition,
                                     78.527 disability pensioners received a supplementary benefit of
                                     social solidarity (See definition of disability in annex 3).
         Organisation                The key national bodies with responsibility for disability law and
         responsible for support     policy implementation are:
                                     • Ministry of Development
                                     • Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity (Department of Social
                                         Apprehension & Social Solidarity)
                                     • Ministry of Employment & Social Protection (Department of
                                         Social Protection)
                                     National Confederation of disabled people
         Duration of stay            No data available
         Main holiday                No data available
         destinations
         Average spending            No data available
         during holidays per
         year
         Holiday participation       No data available
         statistics
         Barriers and reasons        No data available
         for non-participation
GREECE                                                                                                     6




3.3      Existing support systems and/or mechanisms

         •   Greece has implemented a national program concerning social tourism, which is called
             ‘Tourism for all’. Since 2006 the program run by Greek National Tourism Organization, has
             subsidized tourist structures and travel agencies, in order to secure holidays at low-cost, for
             the low income social groups. The total annual budget is around the amount of 15 million
             euro (coming from public budget) for the two last periods 2008-2009, 2009-2010. The
             Program of 2009-2010 is still running (until 31-3-2010). See Annex 2 for detailed
             mechanism.

         The main objective of the above mentioned program is:
            •   To give the possibility in Social Groups with mid and low income, to take holidays in
                tourist establishments everywhere in Greece from 15 May of the current year until 31
                March of next year.
            •   To finance the tourist enterprises with parallel extension of the tourist period

         The Program of Social Tourism, namely “Tourism for all” program includes three subprograms,
         through which 151,000 individual coupons are given to equivalent deservers. Coupons are
         attributed to:
              •  Persons working in the public and broader public sector and the free-lancers
              •  Pensioners of the public, broader public sector and free-lancers, above the age of 60
                 years
              •  Disabled persons with disability upper to 67%
              •  Families with 4 children and up are deservers each year
              •  Low income

         Beneficiaries pay from 1,00 €/per person/per day according to the category of the tourist
         installation (hotel or room to let) and the tourist period (high or low), they choose to make
         holidays in one of the 4.000 tourist installations that participate voluntary to the program.

         1- SUBPROGRAM OF 8 DAYS HOLIDAYS (7 overnights) 2009-2010:
         The deservers of coupons have the possibility to make holidays everywhere in Greece, in all
         types, of included in the Program, tourist establishment (hotels, rented rooms and apartments,
         villas, camps) since they operate according to the Law.

         2- SUBPROGRAM OF EXCURSIONS INSIDE GREECE 2009-2010
         This program is realized through Tour Operators and includes a trip of 3 days (2 overnights) at
         minimum.

         3 - SUBPROGRAM FOR ELDERLY 2009-2010
         The deservers of coupons have the possibility to make holidays everywhere in Greece, in all
         types, of included in the Program, tourist establishments (hotels, rented rooms and apartments,
         villas, camps) since they operate according to the law.

         STATISTICAL DATA (spared coupons):
                            SUBPROGRAM OF 8 DAYS HOLIDAYS    135.000
         2009
                            SUBPROGRAM OF THIRD AGE          4.500
         (until 5-1-2010)
                            SUBPROGRAM OF EXCURSIONS         1.532


         •   The Worker’s Social Benefits Organization and the Worker’s Housing Organization,
             supervised by the Ministry of Work and Social Security:
             -  The Worker’s Social Benefits Organization has as primary mission to provide its
                beneficiaries, services that vary from strictly educational and cultural activities (coupons
                for book purchase, tickets to theatres) to activities that are mainly recreational, such as
                vacations.
             -  One of the most important programs is the Social Tourism Program that has been
                running since 1983. The beneficiaries are employees who contribute through their social
                security and pensioners who had contributed in the past:
GREECE                                                                                                        7




                     o   Those two categories receive coupons for Social Tourism every two years
                     o   Families facing difficult social circumstances and very often financial difficulties as
                         well (i.e. large families with three children and more, single-parented families,
                         widows and widowers) are entitled to receive coupons every year
                     o The same applies for disabled (furthermore the organization collaborates with
                         hotels that are properly equipped to serve disabled people)
             -   750,000 social tourism vouchers have been distributed in 2009, which allowed
                 beneficiaries to go on holidays and stay in hotels, apartments and lodges of their choice
                 (as long as those lodges are contracted with the organization) by paying a small fee
                 (which ranges from no fee at all for a 3rd class apartment that provides accommodation
                 only, to 25.83€ for beneficiaries who choose a 5 star hotel). Moreover the organization
                 subsidized the contracted lodges with a daily fee (which ranges from 8.80€ per day for a
                 1 star hotel that provides accommodation only, to 27.30€ per day for a 5 star hotel).

         •   The Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity:
             -  The Directorate of Disabled people has a Camp Program for disabled until 50 years old.
                About 2,500 disabled people benefit by the program each year. They have also a
                program for daily stay in beach with facilitations for handicapped people, paraplegics, etc.
             -  The Directorate of Family protection offers each year holidays’ facilitations for expatriate-
                homogeneous children, for big families’ children and for seniors. The program “camp and
                spa” operates each year, according to agreement between the Ministry of Health and
                Cities with Spa.

         Other systems aiming to support holiday departure of the Greek target citizens.

         •   Unions and social security organisms have implemented different kinds of actions for
             supporting holidays and excursions for employees and pensioners, for example:
             -  IKA (largest Social Security Organisation covers 5,530,000 workers and employees and
                provides 830,000 pensioners with retirement pension) provides Therapeutic Tourism to
                low income pensioners provided that they do not receive a Spa Therapy Allowance.
                Therapeutic Tourism Benefits cover overnight stay in a hotel for the insured and their
                accompanying member. The program lasts for 15 days.
             -  Agricultural Insurance Organization (OGA) offers discount vouchers for transportation and
                low-cost accommodation (in hotels that have contracted with OGA) and proposes specific
                programs : 3-day excursions in Greece with a special voucher worth 130 euro, boat
                cruises with free of charge transport to the port of departure, accommodation and full
                meals on board,
             -  TYPET managed by employee’s Association of National Bank of Greece has camps in order
                to satisfy holiday’s need of their staff. The same occurs with other commercial banks and
                Departmental Associations.

         •   Concerning exchange programs dedicated to seniors, Greece has lead the project called
             ‘Travel AGEnts’ (See task 1) and participates to Segittur ‘Europe Senior Tourism’. Greece is
             one of the main participating country of ‘Europe Senior Tourism’ run by Spanish Ministry of
             Industry and Tourism:
             -   Kavaliero Viajes is the Greek travel Agency in charge of the program
             -   Through Travel Senior the participation reached the number of 13,000 customers from
                 the day Kavaliero Viajes starts the program 1.5 year ago. The forecast until the end of
                 April should reach 17,000 people.
             -   Bookings per day are approximately 250 persons.
             -   According to the statistics 85% are frequent travellers. The range of ages for more than
                 55 years old is 60%, 40-55 years old is 30% and the rest is 10%. It means that 40% of
                 the clients are usually companions, either friend/spouse or kid/grandchildren. They
                 benefit exactly the same advantages and they become part of the group.
             -   The company offered two packages: Punta Umbria and Mallorca. The percentage of
                 people that chose Punta Umbria is 85%, and 15% Mallorca.
             -   Punta Umbria is an active program, which includes very attracting cities (Sevilla, Punta
                 Umbria, Faro (Portugal), Cadiz, Jerez de la frontera, Huelva, Palos de la frontera,
                 Gibraltar and Cordoba. This destination is very appreciated by the clientele because of
GREECE                                                                                                       8




                 the variety and the diversity of the places. The cost of the trip in Punta Umbria is 480
                 euro and the duration is 8 days.
             -   On the other hand, Mallorca was not that popular, because this destination was
                 commonly known for summer vacations, and also because Greek clients are familiar with
                 islands and the element of sea.
             -   The company invested funds in order to promote the program “Europe Senior Tourism’”
                 in the Greek market reaching the amount of 100,000 euro. According to Kavaliero travel
                 agency the program was successful but there is still room for improvement. First of all,
                 the Spanish organizers should improve their management as the travel agency faced
                 problems such as lack of official guides for the program, lack of information for the cities
                 (maps, informative material etc.) and finally no Greek language in the tourist forms. The
                 agency would like to receive the information of the package (October 2010 – April 2011)
                 earlier so they can advertise it properly in order to have the biggest possible promotion.

         •    Young people
         The General Secretariat for Youth promotes alternative youth tourism through several national
         programs aiming at the creative use of young people’s leisure time, giving them the opportunity
         to combine entertainment with personal development, non-formal learning and team building
         attitude along with the raising of ecological awareness among youth:
                 -   “Get to know my country” is a program organized in cooperation with the National
                     Tourism Organisation (EOT), giving young people, aged 18-30, the opportunity to get
                     involved in alternative tourism activities such as: kayak, rafting, ski, mountain hiking,
                     guided visits to caves and archaeological sites, hydrobiotops etc. The participation fee
                     is 50 euro per person for a 3 days/2 nights full pension stay with transportation by
                     state tourist bus.
                 -    “3-day Sailing Vacations” is a program organized in cooperation with sailing and
                     nautical clubs of the country during summer, giving young people, aged 18-30, the
                     opportunity to get acquainted with the beauties of the Greek Seas while they are
                     engaged in team building activities and get trained by experienced professional
                     skippers on sailing, orientation and meteorology, life-guard and first aid. The
                     participation fee is 50 euro per person for a 2 nights on board with breakfast and 2
                     light meals with transportation by state tourist bus.
                 -   "Holidays and Volunteering" is a program run in cooperation with the Hellenic Postal
                     Services (ELTA) and targets young people aged 18-25, in order to combine cheap
                     summer vacation in highly tourist areas of the country with volunteerism, by offering
                     their services in Hellenic Post offices, for a month’s period, in July or August. The
                     Hellenic Post covers part of the overall costs for housing, alimentation for food and
                     accommodation and round-trip fees for volunteers. Necessary requirements to
                     become a volunteer include having good knowledge on at least one foreign EU
                     language (preferably English, French, and German). The program is open to all EU
                     citizens.
                 -   Similar to the previous, ‘Visiting Greece’ is a program run in cooperation with the
                     National Tourism Organization (EOT) and targets young people aged 20-25, with
                     good command on at least one foreign E.U. language, in order to combine half-day
                     work in one of the 15 EOT offices in tourist destinations, and half-day cheap vacation.
                     In 2009, the program concerned 45 young people in July and 45 in August. The daily
                     wage is €42.

3.4      Demand drivers

         Senior citizens
         Constraints                   The three main barriers are:
                                           •   Language (fear of not being able to communicate) ;
                                           •   Conservatism (so religious and health tourism in Greece for
                                               those with a low income/education.
                                           •   Financial capacity
         Needs and expectations        Greek tourism is expensive and this has encouraged tourism to
         in terms of destination       other countries. However an increasingly educated and better off
GREECE                                                                                                      9




                                      population is seeing an increase in tourism. The Arab countries are
                                      near, friendly and familiar. Balkan tourism is not very interesting.
                                      The age group 50+ includes many people with high disposable
                                      income. Increasingly many more are educated and speak some
                                      languages in addition to Greek. This means they have the capacity
                                      to undertake increasingly adventurous tourism in exotic places. The
                                      slightly less well-off and less educated are likely to be attracted to
                                      Greek related destinations (Syria, Egypt, etc.) and European
                                      destinations.
         Types of                     Hotel is the most popular. There is no specific demand on the type
         accommodation                of accommodation, but they need to be comfortable, clean and calm

         Activities                   Thermal spas are one of the activities searched by pensioners

         Specific equipment           No specific equipment are required

         Sensitivity to price         Depending on the level of income (pension), price remains a strong
                                      factor influencing travel arrangement
         Seasonality aspects          Mainly July and August


         Young people
         Constraints                  Mainly financial constraints for students, new workers and
                                      unemployed
                                      Lack of time as they are entering or in transition to enter
                                      professional life
                                      Social and family background
         Needs and expectations       Greek young people are attracted by Mediterranean countries and
         in terms of destination      European capitals
         Types of                     Depending on the age, youngest mainly use hostels and low cost
         accommodation                hotels, as the oldest ones go in hotels
         Activities                   Visiting the country, meeting other people, having fun (concerts,
                                      festivals, disco, bars)
         Specific equipment           No specific equipment is required
         Sensitivity to price         Strong sensibility, always looking for discounts, best offers, low cost
                                      packages on internet, especially on transportation
         Seasonality aspects          Mainly high season, then official holidays



4.       ANALYSIS OF THE TOURISM SECTOR
4.1      Market trendsi

         Greece had almost 19 million arrivals of foreign tourists in 2008. Latest findings show that
         tourism sector is down 7.2% in the first quarter of 2009, largely as a result of the world financial
         crisis. Europe holds the biggest share of the tourist market: 92.7%. The majority of foreigners
         come from the UK (15%), Germany (12.9%) and Italy (6.6%). ‘Collective accommodation
         establishments’ make 16 million arrivals and 65.6 million nights: 85% of hotels, 11% of hotels
         with furnished apartments, 2% of campsites and 1% of traditional establishments.

         Greece offers 578,000 bed places in use in hotels and similar establishments (excluding
         camping), 23% of which in the Islands of Southern Egeo, almost 23% in Kriti, 11% in Central
         Macedonia, 11% in Ionnian Islands, and 8.6% in Attiki. The total percentage use of bed-places at
         hotels and similar establishments (excluding camp sites) is 56.7%. About 70% of the total
         arrivals and 81% of the total nights spent is accumulated in five regions: Kriti, Islands of
         Southern Egeo, Central Macedonia, Ionian Islands and Attiki. The higher percentages of the use
         of bed-places are observed in the Ionian Islands (70.0%), in Kriti (69.9%) and in the Islands of
         Southern Egeo (68.4%).
GREECE                                                                                                      10




         81% of arrivals (69% of residents and 91% of non-residents) and 91% of nights spent (75% of
         residents and 96% of non-residents) is accumulated in the period between April and October.
         During the rest of the year, arrivals and nights spent are mainly due to the residents of Greece.

         Greece core products are ‘sun, sand & sea’ and a wealth of history, culture, timeless traditions
         and spectacular landscapes. Although the country’s tourism infrastructure is well developed,
         Greece is committed to expanding its tourism offerings and establishing itself as a 12-month
         destination, with four-season tourism infrastructures that respond to the diverse and challenging
         needs of the 21st Century. Among the targeted sectors for expansion include the development of
         integrated resorts and residential real estate, golf courses and sports tourism, wellness and
         health tourism, upgraded and new marinas, conference centres, agro tourism products, religious
         tourism, thermal spas and thalassotherapy centres, gastronomy tourism. More than 1 million
         Europeans are expected to consider a second/holiday home in Greece, taking advantage of the
         new legislation governing the construction of holiday homes.

         In 2008, 13.56 million holiday trips were realized by Greek tourists (aged 15 and over)1. About
         60% were 4+ night trips. More than 90% were domestic holiday.

4.2      Supply of services

         Following its successful staging of the 2004 Olympic Games, Greece has made consequent
         improvement in tourism equipment, in terms of quality and accessibility. Law 3230/2004
         established that all buildings (new and old) hosting public services are obliged to ensure
         accessibility for disabled people. The Hellenic Chamber of Hotels gives the figure of 259 789 hotel
         beds accessible for disabled people, about half of the offer, with the repartition below:


                                      5*****            4****        3***     2**      1*      TOTAL
         Hotels (Units)               169               418          662      735      90      2 074
         Rooms                        31 395            47 904       29 722   23 457   1 914   134 392
         Beds                         62 626            92 421       56 749   44 381   3 612   259 789

         Nevertheless these data show that main accessible disabled accommodation is concentrated on 4
         and 5 stars, so the most expensive categories. Specific offers exist for people with disabilities, for
         example DR Yachting, which is a Greek sailing company providing barrier-free, fully accessible,
         sailing charters on the Greek islands for people of all ages with disabilities or mobility
         impairments.

         Concerning local transportation, people aged 60 and over can get a 25% discount on railway
         ticket fares.

         Air transport
             •   Greece has historically high aviation charges that are not suited to low-cost operations.
                 However this is set to change with new measures reducing these costs. Currently there
                 are six low-cost carriers that serve Greece on a year round scheduled basis and all of
                 these routes are to either Athens or Thessaloniki (Air Berlin, Germanwings, Blue Air,
                 Vueling, easyJet and Air Arabia). Ryanair will venture into Greece in May 2010 for the
                 summer season. The experimentation could even evolve into a longer-term strategy in
                 Greece, provided the Greek airports can come to the party with quicker turnaround times
                 and low-cost orientated operations. However, there are a number of low-cost carriers
                 that serve the Greek islands on a seasonal basis as the resorts in these destinations
                 predominantly close down in the winter.
             •   The purchase of the Greek flagship airline Olympic Airways by MIG group meant the
                 beginning of a new era for air transportation in Greece. This important event is expected
                 to boost competition between airlines in Greece for both domestic and outbound flights.
                 The launch of a brand new airline called Athens Airways in domestic flights along with the


         1
             Source: GNTO / National Statistical Service of Greece
GREECE                                                                                                         11




                 expansion of Aegean Airlines through new routes, both domestic and international, are
                 examples of the significant 2008 developments in air transportation in Greece.

         Tour operating
            • Some 70% of all tourists come on pre-packaged tours with charter airline companies.

4.3      Sustainable tourism aspects

         Inherent in Greece’s tourism development policy is the issue of sustainability. Greece is keen on
         implementing tourism measures that would be environmentally- friendly. Greece’s Ministry of
         Tourism officially announced a new initiative promoting the country’s ‘Green tourism’, as part of a
         national strategic plan for tourism development over the next years. The pilot program exploring
         the potential of such an effort will start with the Tourism Development Company (ETA) facilities
         in northern Greece, putting the tourism state property to good use. Under the “green plan,” eco-
         camps, eco-marinas, mountain-hiking and walking tours, to name just a few, will be created,
         while holistic forms of tourism that are compatible with the environment (such as tourism villages
         and environmental friendly tourist accommodations), more effective waste management and a
         widespread use of alternative energy sources for use by tourist will be promoted.

         Many hotels and resort complexes have already installed photovoltaic systems in an effort to
         become more carbon neutral. Also, Greece is promoting its unique ecosystems and nature
         reserves, many listed under the Ramsar Treaty.



5.       LEGISLATIVE PERSPECTIVES
         There is no special legislation for social tourism. In the existing tourist legislation no obstacle
         exists in the development of social tourism.



6.       DEVELOPMENT OF PRODUCTS FOR SOCIAL TOURISM
         According to the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), the main potentialities for the
         Greek targets to go on holidays abroad are as follows:
            •    Senior citizens
                 Tourism products: health and healthiness, therapeutically and medicinal stays,
                 refreshment and relaxation, potentially in all European countries
                 Mechanisms: promotion to large public, information of the intermediary organizations
                 Funding: subvention through their insurance organs
            •    Young people
                 Tourism products: academic, educational and professional reasons, entertainment and
                 pleasure, discovery of civilizations and folkways, potentially in all European countries
                 Mechanisms: through professional and undergraduate associations
                 Funding: subvention from the European institutions
            •    Large families
                 Tourism products: refreshment and relaxation, discovery of civilizations and folkways,
                 potentially in all European countries
                 Mechanisms: promotion to large public, information of the intermediary organisations
                 Funding: subvention from the European institutions
            •    Disabled adults
                 Tourism products: health and healthiness, therapeutically and medicinal stays,
                 refreshment and relaxation, potentially in all European countries
                 Mechanisms: advertisement in segmental reading matter, information of the collective
                 associations
                 Funding: subvention from the European institutions
         Whereas the main obstacles according to GNTO are:
            •    Lack of information and publicity on existing programs
            •    Low income for many families
GREECE                                                                                                     12




             •   Lack of incentives and motivations for the private suppliers

         Greece is a very touristic country (Greece ranks 17th globally in terms of tourism arrivals; and
         according to WTO, tourism probably contributes close to 20% to Greek GDP - directly and
         indirectly):
             • Tourism supply is well developed, allowing Greece to receive Calypso targets (after
                  Olympic Games Greece has made consequent improvement in tourism equipment, in
                  terms of quality and accessibility for disabled). Besides, the seasonality is very strong as
                  the majority of tourists arrive in a 90-day period between mid-June and mid-September,
                  and Calypso could be an opportunity for professionals to extend the season.
             • Nevertheless as 70% of all tourists come on pre-packaged tours with charter airline
                  companies, many flights, especially on islands, are concentrated in summer period and
                  the seats capacity strongly decrease during off-season.
             • Regarding very difficult social and economic current situation that Greece is facing, any
                  public financial support to help social tourism seems difficult.

         Kavaliero Viajes, Greek travel Agency in charge of the program ‘Europe Senior Tourism’ run by
         Spanish Ministry of Industry and Tourism (see task 1 and existing support), has very good results
         with this program and would like to develop the mechanism. The goal is to increase the number
         of Greek seniors who go in Spain and transfer the mechanism between other countries: receive
         Spanish seniors in Greece, organize exchanges with Cyprus, etc.



7.       WEB PORTALS
         The main web portal run by GNTO helps consumers to make holidays in Greece but doesn’t
         include facilitations for social tourism.
          1-1




ANNEXES
                                                                                               1-2




Annex 1 – Paid holidays & School holidays



Length of paid holidays in Greece:
   •   In the public sector, 25 work days
   •   In the private sector, the length depends on the labour agreement


Calendar for school holidays:
    •  Christmas-New Year: 23-12 until 7-1
    •  Easter: 15 days
    •  Summer: 3 months from June to August
    •  Some public holidays



Annex 2 - The Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO)

The Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) is the main public stakeholder in the
social tourism sector.
GNTO is the ruling state agency for the tourism sector in Greece. GNTO is a public entity
supervised by the Ministry of Civilization and Tourism, with the head office in Athens and several
Regional Departments of Tourism. GNTO’s mission is the organization, the development and the
promotion of tourism in Greece by exploiting all the possibilities of the country. To achieve this
mission, GNTO:
    •    submits proposals to the government for the determination of tourism policy;
    •    enacts the tourism policy that the Government determines and that lies within its
         competence;
    •    studies and prepares programs with regard to growth and to special and general
         infrastructure;
    •    prepares and enacts the program of Greece tourism promotion within the country and
         abroad and takes care of the development of tourist conscience;
    •    oversees and controls the implementation of special tourism infrastructure;
    •    supports public services, organizations of local self-government and natural and legal
         persons in acts relevant to the local tourist promotion;
    •    prepares and approves programs relevant to the promotion of the regions of the country;
    •    oversees and runs quality control in the tourist market with aim the enhancement of the
         tourist product;
    •    undertakes any other activity or act that aims to organize, develop and promote tourism
         and that is provided by the situated provisions and has not been transferred;
                                                                                               1-3




Annex 2: Description of ‘Tourism for all’ program

Greece has implemented a national program concerning social tourism, which is called ‘Tourism
for all’. Since 2006 the program runs by Greek National Tourism Organization, has subsidized
tourist establishments and travel agencies, in order to secure holidays at low cost, for the low
income social groups. The total annual budget is around the amount of 15 million Euros (coming
from public budget) for the two last periods 2008-2009, 2009-2010. The Program of 2009-2010
is still running (until 31-3-2010).

The main objective of the above mentioned program is:
   •   To give the possibility in Social Groups with mid and low income, to take holidays in
       tourist establishments everywhere in Greece from 15 May of the current year until 31
       March of next year.
   •   To finance the tourist enterprises with parallel extension of the tourist period

The taxable income of the previous year must not exceed (for the Program of 2009-2010):
   •   For single person: 18.000,00 €
   •   For familiar income(couple): 31.000,00 €
   •   For familiar income (couple with 3 children) : 45.000,00 €
   •   For each patronized child, the income is superadded with 1.500,00 €
   •   For example:
           o A family with 2 children must not exceed the 34.000,00 €
           o A family with 3 children must not exceed the 49.500,00 €

The Program of Social Tourism, namely “Tourism for all” program comprehends three
subprograms, through which 151.000 individual coupons are given to equivalent deservers.

   •    Attribution criteria and modalities of the subsidies process:
           o The KEP (Centers of Citizens’ Service) situated all around the country give
                directly the coupon to the person
           o Coupons are attributed to:
                    a) Persons working in the public and broader public sector and the free-
                         lancers (every other year)
                    b) Pensioners of the public, broader public sector and free-lancers, above
                         the age of 60 years (every other year)
                    c) Disabled persons with disability upper to 67% (are deservers each year)
                    d) Families with 4 children and up are deservers each year.
                    e) Low income (as above mentioned)
           o Beneficiaries pay from 1,00 €/per person/per day, until a higher sum, according
                to the category of the tourist installation (hotel or room to let) and the tourist
                period (high or low), they choose to make holidays.

   •   Using criteria:
           o Beneficiaries have to choose between 4.000 tourist installations which participate
               voluntary and in response to an annual public appeal to the Program:
                       Subsidy for hotels is 14,00€/per person/per day X 7 overnights = 98€
                       Subsidy for rented rooms and apartments is 12,00 €/per person/per day
                       X 7 overnights = 84,00 €
                       Subsidy for all kind of establishments for the Elderly Program is 22,00 €
                       /per person/per day X7 overnights = 154,00 €.
                       Subsidy for tour operators is 80,00 €/per person/per travel
           o Retribution: The tourist enterprises receive at the end of the Program the sum of
               the subvention for the total of the coupons used by deservers of the program.

1- SUBPROGRAM OF 8 DAYS HOLIDAYS (7 overnights) 2009-2010:
    •  Total number of spared individual coupons 135.000
    •  The deservers of coupons have the possibility to make holidays everywhere in Greece, in
       all types, of included in the Program, tourist establishment (hotels, rented rooms and
       apartments, villas, camps) since they operate according to the Law.
                                                                                           1-4




2- SUBPROGRAM OF EXCURSIONS INSIDE GREECE 2009-2010
    •  Total number of spared individual coupons 4.000
    •  This program is realized through Tour Operators and includes a trip of 3 days (2
       overnights) at minimum.

3 - SUBPROGRAM FOR ELDERLY 2009-2010
    •  Total number of spared coupons 12.000
    •  The deservers of coupons have the possibility to make holidays everywhere in Greece, in
       all types, of included in the Program, tourist establishments (hotels, rented rooms and
       apartments, villas, camps) since they operate according to the law.

STATISTICAL DATA (spared coupons)

                   SUBPROGRAM   OF   8 DAYS HOLIDAYS   50.164
2006               SUBPROGRAM   OF   THIRD AGE         2.486
                   SUBPROGRAM   OF   EXCURSIONS        1.475
                   SUBPROGRAM   OF   8 DAYS HOLIDAYS   80.607
2007               SUBPROGRAM   OF   THIRD AGE         13.009
                   SUBPROGRAM   OF   EXCURSIONS        825
                   SUBPROGRAM   OF   8 DAYS HOLIDAYS   127.636
2008               SUBPROGRAM   OF   THIRD AGE         12.000
                   SUBPROGRAM   OF   EXCURSIONS        1.335
                   SUBPROGRAM   OF   8 DAYS HOLIDAYS   135.000
2009
                   SUBPROGRAM   OF   THIRD AGE         4.500
(until 5-1-2010)
                   SUBPROGRAM   OF   EXCURSIONS        1.532
                                                                                                  1-5




Annex 3: Key features of the national system for social protection
Source: EU's Mutual Information System on Social Protection (MISSOC)

Important national laws, policies and strategies concerning disabled people include:
•  The Greek Constitution establishes the principle of equality (Law 3304/2005) among all
   Greek citizens, referring explicitly to the fundamental rights of disabled people for autonomy,
   employment, and participation in social and political life, as well as to the duty of the state to
   implement measures that safeguard those rights.
•  Law 2831/2000 New Urban Planning Regulations article 26 ensures horizontal and vertical
   access in all new buildings hosting public services, public spaces for education, health and
   social welfare, trade and offices.
•  Law 3230/2004 all buildings (new and old) hosting public services are obliged to ensure
   accessibility for disabled people. All public services are required to operate a dedicated unit
   for producing, implementing and monitoring action plans on improving accessibility.
•  Law 3699/2008 Special Education for people with disability or special education needs for the
   first time establishes special education compulsory for students with disability, as with
   mainstream education, while the state is obliged to provide special education on pre-school,
   primary and secondary education levels.

Disability- related pensions are based on the following definition of “disability”:
“A person is considered to be suffering from severe invalidity when, as a result of illness or
physical or mental disability which appeared or worsened after affiliation, he or she cannot earn
more than a fifth of the normal earnings of a worker in the same category or training during at
least 1 year. However, those who can no longer earn more than 1/3 of the normal earnings
obtain 75% of the benefit and those who can no longer earn more than 1/2 obtain 50% of the
pension”

Disability benefits:
For people insured before 1.1.1993, welfare payments are financed through the contributions of
employees and employers. For those insured after the 1.1.1993 there is three-party financing, by
the employee, employer and state. Annual State subsidies to social insurance institutions are
provided (MISSOC, 2008
The minimum disability pension, as provided by the main social security fund under the Ministry
for Employment and Social Protection, is 486,64€ per month. In addition, the supplementary,
means-tested benefit of social solidarity for pensioners ranges from 100€ to 230€, according to
the income of the pensioner.
304,515 people received disability pension in 2008, out of a total of 2,341,374 pensioners
insured through social security funds run by the Ministry for Employment and Social Protection.
In addition, 78,527 disability pensioners received a supplementary benefit of social solidarity.
                                                                                                                                   1-6




LIST OF INTERVIEWEES

Name and                                                                           Type of                            Interview
                   Designation                      Organization                                      Target
surname                                                                          organization                            date
Maraka         Direc tor of Studies and
                                                                                                          All       09/03/2010
Romanou        Investments
                                                                                                                    26/02/2010
                                                                                                                    29/02/2010
                                          Greek National Tourism Organization       Public                          11/02/2010
Maria          Direc torate Studies                                                                                 12/02/2010
                                                                                                          All
Tsantouli      and Investments                                                                                      16/02/2010
                                                                                                                    18/02/2010
                                                                                                                    23/02/2010
                                                                                                                    09/03/2010
               European Youth Policy
               Division of Information,
Mrs Mosc hou                            General Sec retariat for Youth              Public      Youth
               Public & International
               Relations
                                                                                                                    Contacted by
                                          Worker’s Social Benefits
                                                                                    Public                          national c ontact
                                          Organization
                                                                                                                    point
Antonis
               President                  50 plus HELLAS                             NGO        Seniors
Karakousis
                                                                                                                    Contacted by
                                          Agric ultural Insurance Organization
                                                                                    Public      Seniors, families   national c ontact
                                          (OGA)
                                                                                                                    point
                                                                                                                    Contacted by
Mrs.                                      Assoc iation of Greek Tourist
               Researc h Department                                                 Private                         national c ontact
Boulougouri                               Enterprises (SETE)
                                                                                                                    point
               Marketing and
Leon Ganis                                KAVALIEROVIAJES - travel agenc y          Private                         01/03/2010
               Development



LIST OF DOCUMENTS


    •       Questionnaire “better understanding of youth” GREECE, Council of Europe – European
            Commission, 2009
    •       Country sheet on youth policy Greece, Council of Europe – European Commission, 2009
    •       Greece Disabled country profile - ANED
    •       Programs realised by Greek National Tourism Organisation: ‘Tourism for All’, GNTO
    •       Travel Agent, Final technical implementation report, ANCE, 2008
    •       European Social Charter, 20th Greek report, 2008
    •       Contribution to EIRO comparative study on social partners and the social security system
            – case of Greece, 2005
    •       Accessibility market and stakeholders analysis, the Greece example, OSSATE, 2005
    •       Statistics on accommodation, SETE, 2009
                                                                                                                1-7




GOOD PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS

TraVeL AGEnt
Name of the expert                            Daniel GROS
conducting research
Country                                       Greece
Respondents/informants                        ANCE (Athens Network of Collaborating Experts), Greek NGO
                                              engaged in promotion of sustainable development and the support
                                              of vulnerable social groups2
Target group involved:                        The project aim was to offer traveling, volunteering, learning,
                                              intercultural and income opportunities to people over 55, in 10
                                              European countries through the establishment of the ‘Over 55s
                                              without frontiers’ networks:
                                                  •    Older people from ten European countries: Greece, Italy,
                                                       Finland, Germany, Portugal, Cyprus, Estonia, Slovakia,
                                                       Poland and Czech Republic
                                                  •    Members and non-members of elderly centres and older
                                                       people associations
                                                  •    Individuals over 55s, retired or still employed
                                                  •    Low income older people, or older people that are isolated
                                                       and socially excluded
Description of exchange:                      European Parliament, at own initiative, introduced into the 2003
                                              budget a new heading ‘ENEA pilot project on mobility of elderly
                                              people’. The ENEA preparatory action, coordinated by European
                                              Commission (DG Employment), is intended to:
                                                   •    Fund a limited number of projects that promote active
                                                        ageing, including access to the labor market
                                                   •    Finance measures to encourage the establishment of
                                                        exchange programs for elderly through specialized
                                                        organizations tasked with developing resources for mobility
                                                        and adapting travel infrastructures

                                              The projects funded have some main characteristics:
                                                 •   Short-term stays in another EU Member States
                                                 •   Mobility should enable older persons to acquire skills
                                                     (including linguistic proficiencies), make the most of skills
                                                     acquired previously and share their experiences, irrespective
                                                     of their financial or social situation
                                                 •   The projects involve partners from at least three Member
                                                     States

                                              “TraVeL AGEnts (Traveling, Volunteering and Learning Activities
                                              Generating Employment for the over 55s)” is one of the projects
                                              financed in the framework of ENEA program.
                                              The project aim’s was to offer traveling, learning, intercultural and
                                              income generating opportunities to people over 55s, in ten European
                                              countries (Greece, Italy, Finland, Germany, Portugal, Cyprus,
                                              Estonia, Slovakia, Poland, Czech republic) through the establishment
                                              of the ‘Over 55s without frontiers’ networks.
                                              The network members were trained in sustainable tour planning,
                                              participated to cultural exchange programs, published an elderly-
                                              friendly travel guide book in order to facilitate older people’s
                                              mobility in the EU and promote social inclusion and active
                                              participation.

                                              The project activities were carried out in the 10 partner countries

2
    TraVeL AGEnts -ARN : VS/2006/0733- Final technical implementation report, August 2008
                                                                                           1-8




                           and were disseminated through a web site, newsletters and various
                           conferences, both at national and at European level, allowing the
                           exchange of good practices.
Handling of target group   One of the outputs of the project is the travel guide, which is the
needs:                     product of the collective work of the members of the “Over 55s
                           without frontiers” networks, providing information and
                           recommendations about low-cost and elderly-friendly tours to ten
                           European destinations. The guide made is an effort in proposing
                           travel solutions that respect local cultures, do not harm the
                           environment and support local economies. After test-travels, some
                           propositions of activities have been modified and re-adapted to
                           elderly people (i.e. duration of hiking-walking)
                           The travel guide is organized per country, as followed:
                               •    Overview of the country: general country information
                                    (climate, safety..) and discounts for older people
                               •    Transportation
                               •    Lodging
                               •    Food and drinks
                               •    Arts and culture
                               •    Alternative tourism initiative: other attractions, health
                                    tourism, volunteerism
                               •    Proposition of 5 to 6 days trips
Description of support     Activities were implemented by the 10 national coordinators
mechanisms                 partners of the project, under the coordination and monitoring of
                           ANCE.
                           The main activities of the 18 months’ project were:

                           1. Establish ‘over 55s without frontiers’ networks for people over
                              55s with the aim of promoting active ageing and mobility in the
                              European Union. Each project partner mobilized older people in
                              order to form a core group of over 55s to become the founding
                              members of each national network. It was initially planned that
                              the networks would be legally established as a non-profit
                              organizations, but facing legal difficulties in some countries,
                              three countries legally registered the ‘over 55 without frontiers’
                              networks at autonomous NGO; whereas in Finland the decision
                              was taken to cooperate with an existing NGO active in the field
                              of tourism for elderly people, and in the other national networks,
                              the members decided to continue working as non-formal entities
                              cooperating with the Project Partners.
                              •   The main objectives of the “Over 55s without frontiers”
                                  networks are:
                                  -    To support people over 55s to remain active and useful
                                       to society through organizing volunteering and learning
                                       activities
                                  -    To encourage and facilitate the mobility of older people
                                       across the European Union
                                  -    To promote cultural exchanges among over 55 year-old
                                       from different European countries
                                  -    To create income generating opportunities for their
                                       members interested in providing tour planning, hosting
                                       and guiding services
                                  -    To encourage and support older people with fewer
                                       opportunities (e.g. low-income, disabled, etc.) to
                                       participate in the networks’ activities


                              •   The members of the networks were involved in the following
                                                                  1-9




        activities:
        -   They were trained in responsible tours planned for over
            55s
        -   Participated in test-travel cultural exchanges in the
            European Union
        -   Organized low-cost visits to EU countries focusing on
            learning, intercultural and volunteering activities that
            pay particular attention to local traditions and the
            environment
        -   Organized voluntary activities and short courses on local
            cuisine, traditional dances, traditional handicrafts, etc.,
            in their country, for the members of the other national
            networks.
        -   Organized fundraising activities (e.g. through selling
            traditional handicrafts) and create a solidarity fund for
            members with fewer opportunities
    •   Outputs: statues, list of members

2. Disseminate the idea, the mission and the activities of the
    networks within each participating country and the European
    Union.
Twenty-four local / national conferences & workshops and one
European Conference were organized in the partner countries in
order to disseminate the mission and the activities of the project, to
recruit members for the networks and participants for the various
activities and to promote the networks at national levels. In total
1,312 people participated in these events.
Outputs: meetings’ agenda, leaflets, posters, list of contacted
media, press releases, articles

3. Create the ‘TraVeL AGEnt’ website (10 languages) and publish 5
   quarterly newsletters in 9 languages to offer older people a tool
   for expression and communication, as they are mostly excluded
   from the digital culture and the use of contemporary means of
   information and communication.
   •   Web site: the web site was developed in 10 languages. All
       relevant information concerning the project can be found in
       the site. The main aim of the site is to inform older people
       about alternative travelling opportunities, as well as to
       support the national ‘’over 55 without frontiers’’ networks.
       More than 40,000 people are visiting these pages on a
       monthly basis.
   •   Newsletter: Five newsletters were issued during the
       project’s implementation period. The newsletters were
       uploaded on the website and sent to all partners’ mailing list
       electronically (40.000 people received the electronic
       version), or were sent by post to members of the national
       networks, elderly people associations, organisations working
       with seniors, selected travel agencies and other stakeholders
       involved in the project (30.000 people received the printed
       version).
   •   Outputs: TraVeL AGEnt website
       (www.travelagentsproject.org), five newsletters in 9
       languages




4. Form a pool of elder trainers of the TraVeL AGEnt and develop
                                                                                            1-10




                             the training curricula: each national coordinator was responsible
                             for collecting candidate CVs from all over the country that were
                             then evaluated by steering committee and some of them were
                             used for project training. A total of 100 CVs were collected from
                             experts in tour guiding, booking and tour planning, English
                             language, information technology and other relevant field such
                             as volunteering, social works, arts, etc... Many of the trainers
                             expressed their interest to become members of the networks.
                             •    Outputs: list of pool of trainers, training curricula

                         5. Prepare the trainers of the TraVeL AGEnt:
                            •   A total of 72 trainers participated in the Adult Education
                                trainings in all countries. The project leader developed a
                                basic methodology for the Training of Trainers that was
                                communicated to the project partners.
                            •   Outputs: methodology, attendance list

                         6. Organize seminars in tour planning, booking, guiding, IT and
                            English for members of the ‘over 55 without frontiers’ networks
                            in order to build the capacity of the ‘TraVel AGEnts’ in tour
                            planning in the field of elderly-friendly, sustainable tourism.
                            •   10 seminars in tour planning, booking, guiding IT and
                                English were realized for a total of 199 trainees.

                         7. Publish and disseminate through conferences, events,
                            presentations, an elderly-friendly travel guide for low-cost
                            sustainable tours around Europe
                            •   Outputs: Guidelines, guidelines book in all partner’s
                                languages (9), meetings’ agenda, leaflets, posters

                         8. Organise 10 test-travel cultural exchange programs for the
                             members of the networks. This activity aimed at offering the
                             opportunity to members of the national networks to get to know
                             the members and the activities of the other networks, exchange
                             ideas and opinions, test the proposed itineraries, facilities and
                             activities and gain the necessary experience for the organization
                             and promotion of elderly-friendly and low-costs tour in Europe
                             •    Participants in the test travels were selected by each partner
                                  in a different way. The task of the travellers was to evaluate
                                  the travel offered in terms of sustainability, accessibility and
                                  innovation. All travellers received an information pack
                                  (programme, cost, information about the country, draft of
                                  travel guide to be compared with the reality)
                             •    Initially 40 people planned to participate in the test travel,
                                  but 66 took part. After the completion of the test travels
                                  evaluation were performed and participants prepared a
                                  report of their travel experience, offering also suggestions;
                                  The general evaluation is that the test travels were very
                                  successful and empowered participants in order to continue
                                  their involvement in the networks
                             •    Outputs: test travel programs, participant’s reports and
                                  evaluations, follow up travels and new TraVeL Proposals
Description of funding   Project was funded by the European Commission in the framework
mechanisms:              of the ‘ENEA Preparatory Action on active ageing and mobility for
                         elderly people’, through a call for proposal.
                                                                                     1-11




Lessons learned   Difficulties met in the implementation of the project:
                       •    Difficulty to coordinate the project due to the high number
                            of countries involved, and to adopt an harmonious
                            communication between all members (centralized
                            communication, bilateral communication)
                       •    According to EC regulations, project leader is obliged to
                            provide a bank guarantee (complex for NGO in Greece) and
                            first payment was realised 6 months after the beginning of
                            the project, creating problems in the implementation of
                            activities.
                       •    Financial disparities between the income of some seniors
                            and other EU countries from West Europe, where the prices
                            makes these destinations inaccessible

                  Most positive aspects:
                     •   Participants were very involved both during the training and
                         the travelling activities, also during meetings
                     •   After first initial preoccupation about their ability ‘to learn’
                         new things at an older age and their capacity to organize
                         trips, their attitude towards the learning process was very
                         positive, they became self-confident and express their
                         interest to continue developing particular knowledge,
                         participating other courses (English, Internet..), travel, etc.
                     •   The network gave the opportunity to members to be
                         involved from the very beginning and to have a very active
                         role, to activate both locally, nationally and internationally
                         not only in the field of travel/tourism, but also in the field of
                         lifelong learning and employability of elderly citizens
                     •   Promotion of volunteering as a possibility open to elderly
                         people, even in countries where it is not popular

                  Tracks for perpetuation after the end of TraVeL AGEnt project:
                      •   The networks kept on developing a strategy on recruiting
                          new members and disseminating their activities
                      •   Members also developed proposal for international
                          cooperation and new initiatives
                      •   Some bilateral trips continue to be organized (for example
                          between Estonia and Poland)
                      •   As a result of their involvement in the project, many
                          members decided to continue or start learning English and
                          use of the internet, in order to become more active in future
                          travelling activities and be able to better communicate with
                          their partners from other countries
                      •   Some people have found employment after the training
                          sessions

                  This initiative even if it remains small, is interesting in promoting
                  seniors mobility and involvement.

                  One of Calypso pilot tests could be inspired by TraVeL AGEnt project
                  in order to create an exchange mechanism on similar bases between
                  a small number of motivated stakeholders, and with a stronger
                  objective to perpetuate the mechanism after the end of the project
                  and funding by the European commission.

                  In order to promote this kind of initiative the Commission could
                  launch a call for tender so as to select one consortium
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                                                  •     The consortium should be constituted at least by 3 to 4
                                                        members of different countries and a maximum of 7 to 8 in
                                                        order to facilitate the management
                                                  •     The Commission funds the project only during the first year
                                                        or the necessary time to train people, set up the network,
                                                        organize test-travels and meetings
                                                  •     In order to insure the perpetuation of the initiative, one of
                                                        the tasks of the consortium should be to propose an action
                                                        plan for the post subsidies years: type of action,
                                                        justification, tools and method to extend the program, goals

                                             One of the main challenges is the involvement of low income elderly
                                             people. Even if efforts were taken by all networks to create really
                                             low-cost travel proposals, international travel costs remained the
                                             main obstacle for elderly people traveling. One of the possibilities
                                             would be to integrate travel agencies or transport companies in the
                                             project.

                                             This initiative which trained seniors to tourism / travel (by
                                             professional trainers) could be thought in the other way, where
                                             seniors trained professionals on special seniors needs and
                                             expectations when they travel




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    Source : National Statistical Service, Ministry of Economy and Finance