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All About Aviation Insiders Interview with Danae Tsadila, Managing Director Trails Beyond

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All About Aviation Insiders Interview with Danae Tsadila, Managing Director Trails Beyond
August 03
08:32 2015

danae tsadilaDanae Tsadila knows about adventure travel.  Born and raised in Athens, Danae has traveled to 30 countries on four continents. She has rafted the Manso Rio (Patagonia, Argentina), hiked in Tongariro National Park (New Zealand), kayaked in Sri Lanka, traveled on a boat through Tonga islands in the Pacific Ocean, among other adventures! She is back in Greece and is successfully running her own company called Trails Beyond which is a unique, boutique tour operator. Her team is dedicated to offering authentic adventure travel experiences in Greece.

Prior to managing Trails Beyond, Danae worked in the Greek business aviation sector as an air charter coordinator.  She managed aircraft charter sales and handled sales and marketing, VIP travel packages and office administration. She says her aviation industry experience gave her valuable knowledge to eventually run a  business of her own.

Danae took a moment out of her busy entrepreneurial schedule to tell us about trends in adventure travel in Greece and responsible tourism.

All About Aviation.gr:  Tell us more about your company and what inspired you to create a product that offers unique travel experiences in Greece.

I thought of the idea more than two years ago. There are so many things that tourists do not know about our beautiful and diverse country. Apart from our stunning islands and the thousands of kilometers of coastline, Greece is primarily a mountainous country with wild and steep mountains and rivers, alpine lakes, lush fir forests, traditional stone made villages, untouched by time, delicious local cuisine and of course the warm hospitality of the local people. Mainland Greece is in its larger part unspoiled by mass tourism and full of secret beauties and striking landscapes, ideal for those who wish to explore the country beyond the beaten path and experience it from another perspective, get an authentic taste of what Greece is.

Trails Beyond was established with the mission to show travelers Greece’s hidden gems and offer those unique experiences beyond the ordinary. We are driven by the principles of responsible tourism.   Greece is an ideal tourism destination all year round and offers numerous opportunities. Our effort is an attempt to decongest the tourism traffic in very popular tourism destinations and spread the socioeconomic benefits of tourism in other areas, too.

All About Aviation.gr:  What activities can adventure travelers can participate in Greece that involves aviation?

 

Greece is an ideal place for gliding and paragliding.  However, few people know snow is Greece’s best kept secret. Ski lovers can raise their adrenaline even more and enjoy Heliski in pristine, inaccessible by other means, white slopes, set in striking landscapes.

Another sky adventure activity is skydiving, where extreme sports lovers can enjoy the wild beauty of the Greek landscape from the skies!

All About Aviation.gr:  What are the challenges that you have faced establishing a new business during the crisis?

Well, being an entrepreneur in Greece resulted to be more challenging than I thought in the beginning! First of all, we had to deal with the extensive bureaucracy that characterizes the Greek system and impeded us from focusing on the real business.

After coming over this first obstacle, we had to face the insecure financial and political situation in which Greece is at the moment and try to think positive about future developments and opportunities in the tourism sector.  In addition, as you will be aware of, the mass media worldwide create a negative image to tourists willing to visit Greece and discourage them from coming to our country. Those of us in the tourism sector had to make over this negative image and convince our guests that it’s safe to visit the country and that their holidays would still be memorable. Greece remains the same beautiful country and local people are even more welcoming with foreign visitors.

All About Aviation.gr:   Do you believe that the travel trends in Greece are changing and in what way?

Absolutely. Travelers have started becoming more mature. They are being fatigued by the typical sun and sea holidays. They are looking for new experiences, cultural encounters with the local people and feeling closer to nature. Nowadays, they are not satisfied by just seeing a destination, they want to experience it. Therefore, there is an increasing interest in participating in several activities and willing to learn more about the history and culture of the places they visit. I think they have also realized the exploitation of natural resources and the environmental degradation by the rapid growth of mass tourism and how important is preserving our natural habitat.

Driven by this shift in the consumers’ profile, the tourism sector in Greece has been adopting its tourism product during the past decade. Both the public and the private sector have recognized these new travel trends and have started promoting a different image of the Greek tourism product, which has been enhanced by new cultural experiences, emphasis in the Greek history and gastronomy, promotion of new, less tourism developed destinations and a variety of activities. Moreover, as a result of the financial crisis in Greece, which has resulted in the need for decentralization from the congested city centers, and the shift in the consumers’ preferences, many young people return back to their homelands, with fresh innovative ideas and start up their own businesses, offering agrotourism, activities in nature, more eco-friendly and traditional accommodation etc.

Besides the swift in the visitors’ interests, there is also a swift in the demographic profile of incoming visitors to Greece. Besides the traditional tourism markets like Germany, UK, the Netherlands, Italy and Scandinavian countries, there is an increasing number of travelers from Asia (such as India, China, Southeast Asia), the Balkan countries and Brazil, coming to Greece, so the tourism industry has to adapt accordingly to cater the needs and preferences of the emerging tourism markets.

All About Aviation.gr:  What countries are your strongest markets this year?

Most of our clients come from the traditional tourism markets for Greece, such as the UK, Germany and Scandinavian countries. They age ranges between 30 and 50 years old and they are mainly couples, independent travelers or families, all of them looking for unique experience  beyond the ordinary and away from the mass tourism.

Our explorations are also popular among incentive groups either from the above mentioned countries or from Greek companies.

All About Aviation.gr:  In your opinion have the travelers become more adventurous? 

As a result of the international growth in tourism, adventure travel is also increasing, but at a much faster pace. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) study, adventure travel has accelerated at a 65 percent yearly rate since 2009, while a study performed by George Washington University together with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) in 2013 found that 42 percent of travelers departed on adventure trips, making the sector worth USD 263 billion—an increase of 195 percent in two years. So, undoubtedly the international share of adventure travel sees a rapid growth.

But, before talking about adventure travelers, let’s first define adventure travel. According to ATTA, it is any tourist activity including two of the following three components: a physical activity, a cultural exchange, or interaction and engagement with nature.

A few years ago, adventure travel was related to backpackers willing to travel under tough conditions and discomfort in order to get an authentic experience. Nowadays, adventure travel attracts a much more mainstream group: prosperous professionals, romantic couples and sporty families, usually with a high educational background, all looking for more adventure, nature and culture during their vacations.

I think this increase in adventure travel is also related to what I mentioned on question 3, about the changes in the travelers’ profile and the fact that they become more mature and seek for new experiences.

All About Aviation.gr:  Tell us about your best-selling tour so far?

One of our best-selling tours is our “Wild mountains and rivers” adventure. It’s a weekly exploration that perfectly combines numerous activities in stunning natural landscapes (such as hydro-biking in lake Plastira, horseback riding in Pertouli lush forests, hiking through Vikos gorge, rafting in one of Europe’s cleanest rivers and exploring on foot the spectacular cliff-top monasteries of Meteora) with cultural activities (wine tasting of local wines, visits to old byzantine churches stone made villages and arch stone bridges, getting in touch with the local people etc.) and relaxation in some of Greece’s most beautiful sceneries.

Besides that, our sailing explorations are popular among those who love sea holidays and wish to enjoy Greece’s crystal clear waters. All our sailing tours are not just sailing and relaxation, but we combine other activities too, such as hiking, kayaking, cycling and we never miss the chance to visit the significant places of historical and cultural interests of the destination we visit while sailing.

All About Aviation.gr:  Do you have any plans of adding paragliding activities to the services that you already offer?

Truth is that Greece’s climate is ideal for activities such as gliding, hand gliding and paragliding; plus you can enjoy stunning landscapes and Greece’s natural beauties from above. As long as we add more destinations, where paragliding is offered, and we evaluate the activity’s providers, then why not?!

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