I was invited as a guest speaker at the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO, Greek acronym EOT) last Thursday. This was my very first contact with any official Greek organization since I started promoting Greek wines abroad two years ago. The event was organised by the OpenTourism team, whose goal is to open a dialogue about Greek tourism and all related issues. They essentially bring together businesses and entrepreneurs, who develop new and fresh approaches to promote knowledge in the industry. The team is actively spreading the word about the Greek culture, and is running campaigns like this. Greece needs more young people like this! I was contacted by Themistocles Papadimopoulos, a young student/entrepreneur, with the idea of sharing my thoughts on business and Greece from the view of a foreigner.
The president of the Greek National Tourism Organization, Nikolaos Kanellopoulos, gave me and another fellow speaker the honour of attending the event and introducing us. I was also touched that the Secretary for Economic & Commercial Affairs, Dimitrios Pitsidimos, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the effort to not only be present during the presentation, but also to arrive early, introduce himself and exchange thoughts with me before the event started.
I believe my speech was viewed as “unconventional”, I did not prepare any power point presentation, nor did I have any notes with me. I wanted to speak from the heart, and this I can only achieve by being me – standing up and starting the engagement.
Thanks to the iphone and an app, I uploaded the speech (in English) here; it runs just short of half an hour. I would advise every Greek winery to listen to this, as it is about you. You might want to start at 05:40, the first few minutes are simply an introduction about me. The Q & A part starting at 15:40 is certainly worth exploring. The European magazine cafebabel.com also reported about the event here (Greek) and here (English).
I offer to play my part in uniting the Greek wine industry – this includes growers, trade bodies, and governmental organizations. The feedback I received on Thursday was very positive, and I am thrilled that people were honestly receptive to new and different ideas. Together we can shape a new era and make things happen.
Oh, and I am sorry for calling the German, French and British people being a bit stiff ;) It was not personal.