Robert Duglin: US tourism in Greece will grow dramatically due to ASTA conference

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Robert Duglin: US tourism in Greece will grow dramatically due to ASTA conferenceMore than 500 US tour operators who will be present at the ASTA conference will transfer their Greek experience hundreds of times over to professionals and customers when they return home

Interview to Panos Thomakos

The Congress of ASTA, to be held in Athens in April 2018, will dramatically increase the number of American tourists coming to Greece. 

This belief is expressed, in an exclusive interview to Tornos News, by American Society of Travel Agents Vice President and Business Development Manager, Robert Duglin, who visited Athens last week to discuss and eventually accept FedHATTA's invitation to organize Conference ASTA DESTINATION EXPO 2018 in the Greek capital.

As Mr. Duglin points out, more than 500 US tour operators who will be present at the ASTA conference will transfer their Greek experience hundreds of times over to professionals and customers when they return home, a fact that will increase the interest of Americans to elect Greece for their vacations.

Travel agents in the US, as he points out, sell 82% of outbound trips and over 90% of all cruises.

American travel agents will also visit other places in Greece with specially designed tours, so Mr. Duglin expects them to discover new destinations - "hidden diamonds"as he himself describes them - to be promoted in the US market.

"We want for Americans come and stay in Greece for several days," adds Duglin in his interview which follows:

ASTA Vice President for Business Development Robert Duglin talks with Tornos News International Chief Editor Mr. Panos Thomakos


1.   Why did you decide to hold your conference in Greece?

One of the reasons we wanted to hold our conference in Greece is that it is a top destination for Americans. We normally have many customers and colleagues, who will be travelling over here because they are taking a cruise or they want to learn about history. In addition, we have the Greek-Americans, Greek food and wine is very good and when we come to Greece we get to know a different culture, not to mention the attraction of hundreds of beautiful islands.

2.   How many members do you expect to participate?

Around five hundred is the average participation in Destination Expos and we aim to exceed the number.

3.   How is the market this year?

It is up, people in the United States are spending more, especially in luxury travel. This is worldwide and of course it affects Greece, hotels, cruise ships. The economy is good in the States and people are spending more money.

4.   Can Greece attract more American tourists and if so, why?

Yes and for several reasons. Just bringing over 500 Americans who sell travel, they are going to tell their story a hundred more times and that is going to attract more and more people. Travel agents in the US sell 82% of outbound travel and over 90% of all the cruises. This is an important point, and American agents are already sending their clients to Greece, but we want them spend more time in Greece when they visit, not go straight from the plane to the cruise ship and then spend just ten hours in a place like Mykonos or Santorini. We want them to come and stay for several days.

5.   Is there something we must improve to achieve this aim?

I think it is very important that you have attracted Emirates and more nonstop flights like this would be helpful. I see that in Athens, in particular, more hotels now have an online presence and there are more luxury hotels. As long as the tourist infrastructure continues to improve, which it has been doing, Greece may even get ahead of competitive destinations. You need a strong distribution network as well as a variety of products and that is what I am learning here, the different places people can visit, the different types of cruises that are available, charters and other things like that. This conference that we are planning is also very important because it will have parallel educational events that will result in Greece being promoted continuously during the following months. Our agents will not only come for the conference but afterwards they will also visit different places in Greece with specially designed tours so they will discover new products that will extend the season. They will find “hidden gems”, places they did not even know existed.

6.   Can Greece attract investments from the United States?

I think so, yes. That would come with education. It is interesting that you ask that because the Greek-American community is more influential and wealthier than a lot of the other groups and, from the Greek friends that I know, they are interested in expanding to different businesses.

7. Is the Greek government’s decision to impose a stay tax on tourists a concern of yours?

Well, you know, any time you can avoid a tax, you should. I also understand, on the other hand, that taxes are needed to pay for the infrastructure and that things are very difficult right now. ASTA tries to protect and defend travel agents from unfair taxes in the United Stated so I can certainly empathize with the providers here in Greece that this may be a burden.

8. How is your cooperation with FedHATTA going?

Excellent, they are good friends and colleagues. We have been networking and that is what we want to be able to do with your destination, connect it to the American outbound travel agents. We are putting together this meeting and there is nothing better than meeting new friends and spending time together, learning about each other and our families, sharing the our experiences of the destination, this is number one, person to person and also through education, conferences, trade shows, webinars, email broadcasts and one more thing that I would look at is pictures, because as you know there is an old saying that a picture is like a thousand words, and that is especially true for Greece.

9. Have you ever come to Greece before and which places have you visited?

Yes, I have been to Greece six times. I have been to Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Rodos, Kos, Crete and Volos

10. Would you like to comment on the travel ban recently imposed by the Trump Administration?

We have taken a stand against it, because we are afraid it might become a problem. We have done that publicly because we feel that all people should be free to travel. We know we have to keep our country safe, but, on the other hand, we need to keep open borders and the more we understand each other, the better things will be.

Tornos
  1. 27/06 17:57

    New chair of the IATA Board of Governors

  2. 27/06 17:54

    Greece records 7,682 new Covid-19 cases and 12 fatalities on Monday

  3. 27/06 17:46

    Prime Minister: Greece wants development based on investments, not on consumption

  4. 26/06 19:50

    After movie gay sex scene, 150 cameras installed at Parthenon in Athens

  5. 26/06 18:54

    Greece records 9.294 new Covid-19 cases and 13 fatalities on Sunday

  6. 26/06 13:42

    First Hellenic Medical Diaspora World Congress held in Thessaloniki July 15-17

  7. 26/06 11:38

    Hellenic Chamber of Hotels: Demand for Greece as tourist destination remains high

  8. 25/06 21:46

    Russian and Belarusian flight ban in Greek airspace extended till September 22

  9. 23/06 19:54

    Hellinikon Casino, Skaramaga Shipyards in fast-track bill by Greek government

  10. 23/06 18:48

    Greece records 10,474 new Covid-19 cases and 17 fatalities on Thursday

  11. 23/06 18:05

    Greek PM attends Young Presidents' Organization working lunch in Athens

  12. 23/06 17:38

    2nd booster shots available for 30-59 age group in Greece as of Monday

  13. 22/06 22:38

    Boston Youth Orchestra marks lower koilon at ancient Dodona theater of Greece

  14. 22/06 20:50

    Greece approves 840-million-euros tourist project in Saronida of Attica

  15. 22/06 17:56

    Greece records 10,528 new Covid-19 cases and nine fatalities on Wednesday

  16. 21/06 23:51

    2022 Diversity and Inclusion Awards winners announced by IATA

  17. 21/06 00:46

    ICAO to adopt long term aspirational goal to decarbonize aviation industry

  18. 21/06 00:08

    Japanese Festival 2022 returns to Greek capital of Athens

  19. 21/06 00:04

    4,832 new Covid-19 cases and 11 fatalities recorded in Greeece on Monday

  20. 20/06 21:56

    Heatwave to hit Greece with temperatures up to 41°C

  21. 20/06 15:16

    173 passengers on the maiden voyage of the Cyprus to Greece ferry (video)

  22. 19/06 19:32

    Antikythera shipwreck dig season yields huge marble head

  23. 19/06 19:27

    Ecumenical Patriarch honored at U.S. Embassy reception in Greek capital of Athens

  24. 19/06 16:20

    First ferry linking Cyprus and Greece again after 21 years sails from Limassol port

  25. 19/06 13:11

    Fire front in Greek island of Evia under control on Sunday

  26. 19/06 09:16

    US Ambassador to Athens invited to AHEPA World Cup 2022 Beach Volleyball Tournament

  27. 18/06 00:53

    UNWTO welcomed 15 new Affiliate Members into network of tourism stakeholders

  28. 18/06 00:05

    UNWTO and WHO to build coalition of health and tourism partners in Europe

  29. 17/06 11:50

    UNWTO and Allianz partners advance commitment to safer, more responsibke sector

  30. 16/06 21:55

    Eurogroup welcomes EC's plan to end to Greece’s enhanced surveillance

  31. 16/06 21:00

    Media: Easing COVID measures to attarct tourists brings hike in Greece’s cases

  32. 16/06 20:06

    ESM lauds Greece for reaching several important milestones in its reform agenda

  33. 16/06 18:14

    St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Schenectady rewards Greek school students

  34. 16/06 17:17

    Greece records 7,158 new Covid-19 cases and eight 8 fatalities on Thursday

  35. 16/06 13:07

    NEW JOB: Tour Operations Executive - Hybrid work

  36. 15/06 20:11

    42 small Greek islands allocated nearly 500 million euros for development

  37. 15/06 18:14

    British Museum suggests 'sharing arrangement' of Parthenon Marbles with Greece

  38. 15/06 17:22

    Greece records 9,288 Covid-19 cases and 15 fatalities on Wednesday

  39. 14/06 19:08

    EU's top medicinal cannabis plant opening at Corinthia of Greece in July

  40. 14/06 18:50

    Prime Minister: Greece aims at returning to investment grade by 2023

  41. 14/06 17:58

    Greece records 8,083 Covid-19 cases and 12 fatalities on Tuesday

  42. 14/06 00:59

    Agricultural Minister: There is no food security problem in Greece

  43. 14/06 00:01

    Greek cuisine ranked second in the planet

  44. 13/06 22:51

    A third of the world’s cruise vessels to visit Greece this year

  45. 13/06 17:00

    Turkish tourist numbers to Greek island of Lesvos rise

  46. 13/06 13:04

    Brown Hotels chief: Greece attracts Israeli investors

  47. 12/06 00:27

    Greece records 4,539 Covid-19 cases and 15 fatalities on Saturday

  48. 11/06 15:35

    Platform to apply for rebates on electricity bills to go live in Greece on June 16

  49. 11/06 12:16

    Passenger traffic from Attica ports for long weekend to peak on Saturday

  50. 10/06 23:54

    Jeddah call to action: UNWTO sets path towards new tourism sector governance

  51. 10/06 23:42

    Bogotá in Colombia joins the UNWTO Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories

  52. 10/06 23:19

    IATA: EU Emissions Trading Amendment impedes global climate change cooperation

  53. 10/06 09:12

    Olympians & International Swimming Stars in the Authentic Marathon Swim

  54. 09/06 23:26

    SFRC approves resolution marking enduring United States-Greece partnership

  55. 09/06 23:23

    Greece records 4,500 Covid-19 infections and nine fatalities in Greece on Thursday

  56. 09/06 23:19

    Robert McCabe exhibition, Greece: An Enchanted Land in NY until July 7

  57. 09/06 17:12

    Storm Genesis visits Greece as of Thursday

  58. 09/06 00:47

    Athens Pride Festival 2022 to continue its celebrations through June 18

  59. 09/06 00:30

    UNWTO Executive Council looks beyond tourism sector recovery

  60. 08/06 23:34

    Greek city of Kalamata's International Dance Festival tickets go on sale

  61. 08/06 20:37

    Odessa Classics music festival to take place in Thessaloniki due to the Ukraine war

  62. 08/06 20:21

    Qatar Airways launches Doha-Santorini island flights and doubles Athens routes

  63. 08/06 17:29

    Greece records 4,496 Covid-19 cases and 13 fatalities on Wednesday

  64. 08/06 00:22

    IATA: Drop in global air cargo demand in line with expectations

  65. 07/06 22:18

    Greek Finance Ministry proposes abolition of luxury tax on fur and silver sectors

  66. 07/06 21:24

    Aegean Airways carried over 1 million passengers at start of new summer season

  67. 07/06 20:22

    Media report: Greece counting on tourists for big rebound during Covid-19 pandemic

  68. 07/06 18:27

    5,610 Covid-19 cases and 19 fatalities recorded in Greece on Tuesday

  69. 07/06 11:11

    Navarino Challenge Awarded as “Best Health & Wellness Event in Greece”

  70. 06/06 22:35

    PM opens Posidonia: Greek shipping must meet challenge of 'green' transition

  71. 06/06 21:40

    Archbishop of America attends the Greek Independence Day Gala in NY

  72. 06/06 20:48

    Media: Enthusiastic Return to 5th Avenue for New York’s Greek Independence Parade

  73. 06/06 18:52

    Week of highly unsettled weather ahead in Greece

  74. 06/06 17:44

    2,501 Covid-19 cases and 10 fatalities recorded in Greece on Monday

  75. 06/06 14:11

    Beach Volley Ios 2022 championship organized on island from June 29 to July 2

  76. 04/06 22:34

    Aegean Messinia Pro-Am golf event from September 14th to 17th 2022

  77. 04/06 18:30

    Greece: 3,313 Covid-19 cases and 15 fatalities recorded in Greece on Saturday

  78. 04/06 13:47

    Greece's 'European Stork Village' marks return of migratory birds with festival

  79. 04/06 09:03

    Deputy Foreign Minister to attend Greek Independence Day parade in NYC

  80. 04/06 00:32

    Jobs, recovery, sustainability: EU tourism chiefs meet as sector restarts

  81. 04/06 00:25

    UNWTO: Tourism sector recovery gains momentum

  82. 03/06 22:13

    American tourist charged 600 euros for crab in Mykonos island going to court

  83. 03/06 01:14

    Former US VP Dan Quayle savors Greek seafood in island of Mykonos (video)

  84. 03/06 01:04

    The Exhibition of Adult Painting organized in Marousi suburb of Athens

  85. 02/06 22:34

    Greek PM: What is happening on Astypalea island is a green revolution

  86. 02/06 21:55

    Celebrity Cruises launches new Greek shore excursions collection

  87. 02/06 21:43

    Posidonia shipping expo opens in Athens on June 6

  88. 02/06 21:40

    IATA launches MBA in aviation sector with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

  89. 02/06 19:10

    Corinth Canal to reopen to shipping in Greece during July

  90. 02/06 18:49

    UNWTO champions tourism for a healthy planet at Stockholm +50 conference

  91. 02/06 18:00

    EU greenlights dispatch of 200 firefighters on standby in Greece

  92. 02/06 17:53

    3,769 Covid-19 cases and nine fatalities recorded in Greece on Thursday

  93. 02/06 01:23

    IOBE: Tourism will be crucial for business expectations in Greece in coming months

  94. 02/06 01:19

    Nearly 885,000 passengers travelled to and from Larnaka and Pafos airports in May

  95. 01/06 22:58

    Greece among top-5 countries with best value for money holidays for Brits in 2022

  96. 01/06 20:07

    Greek and Malaysian ministers discuss promoting mutual exports in Athens

  97. 01/06 19:44

    Directions clarify where masks are still required in Greece as of June 1

  98. 01/06 18:31

    Syntagma Square’s new look to be ready in Greek capital of Athens by mid-June

  99. 01/06 17:17

    4,026 Covid-19 cases and nine fatalities recorded in Greece on Wednesday

  100. 01/06 17:11

    Greek Foreign Minister hosts lunch for outgoing Israeli Ambassador to Athens