Dr. Zack Protogeros is one of the owners and a member of the founding team for Destination Greece. Dr. Protogeros has held the position of Marketing and Technology Director since 2008. Destination Greece is a US-based tour operator offering high-quality personalized services to clients visiting Greece, Egypt, Turkey and the Mediterranean with a local presence in Athens, Greece. You can read his previous 1:1 interview from January 2011 here.
TRO: What inspired you to work in the travel industry?
ZP: I guess it was not just one thing. I still remember the excitement new places brought while traveling to places like Santorini, Delphi, Meteora and Crete. And then more while in Giza, Alexandria, Ephesus, Istanbul… I came to realize and appreciate the sense of freedom inherent in traveling. And I came to discover the things we all share and which unite us all, people and cultures. That’s when I knew I wanted to share my knowledge and experiences from Greece with everyone. What best way to do it than help people realize their travel dreams to Greece?
TRO: What is your favorite island(s) in Greece?
ZP: That’s a difficult one, really. The Cyclades are my favorite islands in the Aegean. Each has its own unique color, character, atmosphere and grace. I would have to admit I am in love with Santorini, Sifnos and Amorgos. The latter are less touristy islands and that along with their exceptional beauty is what sets them apart in my mind.
TRO: Considering the current financial crisis Greece faces, is it smart to travel there?
ZP: A very interesting question. To start with the crisis is more of a European Union affair rather than a Greek one. It is now obvious that most EU countries, including Spain, Italy, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands, start feeling the financial woes that had been apparent in Greece since 2009. Does the current situation affect travel in Greece? Yes, but in a way that favors traveling to Greece. Prices for travel services to Greece have gone down while at the same time the exchange of Euro to the US Dollar stands – for quite some time now – at a low level. Is it safe to travel to Greece? Absolutely yes. Greece is a European country going through the democratic process of voting for its own government and defining its own foreign policy. In this picture, one need not for any reason worry about safety.
TRO: What else makes this a smart time to travel to Greece?
ZP: Greece offers a unique travel product that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Natural beauty, close to 8,500 miles of pristine coastline, crystal blue sea and countless Classical, as well as Byzantine cultural treasures one can devote an entire life to explore. And it only gets better. With the Euro to USD exchange rate in a steep dive and the competitive rates of travel services in Greece due to the recent financial crisis, a Greece package is a winner. If one plans to visit Greece the opportunity is definitely here and the time is now.
TRO: What itinerary would you suggest for first-time travelers to Greece?
ZP: For a traveler interested in Classical Greece we would suggest our Golden Age 101 starter package as it offers a glance at the most important sites of Classical era. For island hoppers there is our Aegean Overture including stays in Mykonos and Santorini. We would not leave out honeymooners of course; for an unforgettable Greek experience we suggest our Greek Isles Honeymoon package.
TRO: Greece is becoming a very popular destination for travelers. What makes Destination Greece different from other operators?
ZP: Thank you for this question, as it really addresses the essence of what Destination Greece stands for and what it really offers to travel agents and our clients. I think the top-five factors setting Destination Greece ahead of the competition are the following:
- We consider offering trusted, high quality travel services to be our first priority. With more than 1,300 US travel agents registered with Destination Greece you know Destination Greece is a tour operator to be trusted for our consistency in delivering top class services to our clients.
- Destination Greece is a US tour operator and has local presence in Greece. What this means is that we have first hand experience and information on everything going on in Greece. We know Greece as Greeks only do. We pride ourselves on being real experts for the destinations we serve.
- Put our clients mind at ease with our 24×7 local support. Any changes, questions, requests are addressed through our Greek National Tourist Organization endorsed Athens office through our local assistance telephone line.
- We believe in one-stop shop customization. Each and every package we offer can be tailored to meet exact client requirements as far as accommodation (hotels and villas), transfers, shore excursions, organized or private guided tours, ferry and hydrofoil tickets, domestic air tickets, as well as air tickets from Athens to most European cities, Istanbul and Cairo, yacht chartering and cruises are concerned.
- We carry a 1,000,000 Errors and Omissions insurance
TRO: How can travel agents benefit from working with your company?
ZP: Destination Greece values co-operation with travel agents. There are many benefits for travel agents working with us.
Apart from our competitive rates and consistently high level of personalized quality services, travel agents can rest assured Destination Greece will offer their clients a seamless, excellent travel experience in Greece. Destination Greece has worked out contingency plans to address conditions such as unexpected changes in ferry or hydrofoil schedules, or unexpected weather conditions. We guarantee placing best effort to make the necessary adjustments in order to minimize effects on client itineraries.
We are always available for travel agent requests or questions regarding our services. We guarantee a 24-hour turn around time for any FIT documented request for quotation (48-hour turn around time for Groups). Our quotes are detailed, explicit and contain no hidden costs.
Travel agents registered with Destination Greece enjoy great commission levels. Commissions are paid on time posted to the address the travel agents specify.
No more losing time in searching quality services for Greece. Destination Greece can cover all travel needs for Greece. Anything travel agents and their clients need for their trip to Greece can be offered through our experts.
TRO: Do you offer any educational tools for agents to learn about Destination Greece and offering Greece as a destination to their clients?
ZP: We try to inform travel agents of Destination Greece presentations as they occur throughout the year. Our representatives have been presenting Destination Greece and our services to OSSN, SKAL, IATA and ASTA professionals, as well as home-based travel agents throughout the US. We have a dedicated section on our web site where travel agents can download e-brochures. In addition, we try to keep our news section updated regarding interesting changes taking place in Destination Greece or in Greece. Our packages have links for each and every destination included in the package. These links lead to detailed information on some of the most interesting places in the destinations served. Last but not least there is always a Destination Greece expert available on our Toll Free number 888-473-3238 (888-GREECE-8) to address travel agent requests for information.
TRO: Is there anything new on the horizon for Destination Greece?
ZP: Destination Greece has enriched the flavors of our white branding platform. For select travel agents Destination Greece, in cooperation with Gate2Greece, offers a Travel Site Beneficiary (TSB) presence, where travel agents may use our online platform to:
a. select as many Destination Greece packages as they wish to market to their client base,
b. add on the commission they deem best for the market they move in, on top of the net rates we provide them,
c. choose the look and feel of their TSB web presence
Keep in touch as we always update our site with new products and offers.
Travel agents wishing to learn more about Destination Greece should visit their site at http://www.destinationgreece.com/ or call their offices at 888-GREECE-8 (888-473-3238)