Having established its presence as a leader in the Greek hospitality market, the pioneering Aldemar Hotel group is now planning to invest in the south of Greece where it sees new opportunities for growth.
Alexandros Angelopoulos, Executive Director, Aldemar Hotels & Spa tells BTN about the award-winning hotel group’s future goals and its foray into agro tourism with the recent acquisition Epohes in the Peloponnese.
BTN: What new opportunities and markets do you see opening up in 2007-2008?
AA; Aldemar hotels have already invested in the emerging market of Peloponnese in the south of Greece. This market has recently shown its real potential, with quite a few projects under way.
Worldwide, we will see a growth of the travel sector in every direction, as people are looking for new experiences and diversification. Niche products and services will also emerge as people become more demanding and aware of their choices.
BTN: How is rural tourism for the hotel group doing? Especially after you acquired the 22-room guest-house, Epohes in the Peloponnese mountain village of Abeliona?
AA: Agro tourism is mostly about highlighting the diversifying elements of a rural area. When planned and organized properly, it can become the most effective vehicle in maintaining the local identity. It contributes in bringing the traveller close to rural areas, habits, products, traditional cuisine and cultural characteristics of each place. This was our goal with Epohes, a small mountain village in the Abeliona, Peloponnese.
Agro tourism has become an evolving and very promising tourism sector in Greece, contributing to the improvement of living standards of rural population, new investments, and increase of infrastructure.
BTN: You’ve become more eco-friendly with 75 percent of the energy now solar. You’ve converted all your hotels to organic produce. Why the eco- conscious move and what can we expect in the future?
AA: Our promise is to continuously improve our environmental and social performance, recognizing and respecting the fact that the communities where we operate are impacted by the actions we take today.
Aldemar’s green effort so far is about saving 85% of energy needs (hot water use) that are covered by utilizing solar energy, 40% of annual electric power by using seawater coolers for the air-conditioning system, as well as 35% of the water requirements
The company units are equipped with 2 biological sewage treatment units for each hotel and 7,010 m2 solar collectors in total. In our premises we produce 15,000 litres of wine and 2,082 kgs of organic olive oil, while we recycle 2,150 kgs of paper, 10,010 kgs of glass, 4,000 kgs of cooking oil, 120 kgs of electric batteries.
We have invested a lot over the years in Green technology and we are continuing to do so as we speak. The cost factor is the main concern for most hotels, as it is significant. But renewable energy, while expensive at first, guarantees economies for the future. However, let us consider carefully what will be the cost if we keep consuming Earth’s resources without limitation. The product that we are selling - that is the destination, the location, will loose its charm and uniqueness. Hotels have a social responsibility towards the local communities, as well as its guest to offer a safe and rich environment for now and the future.
BTN: You are the market leader in spa packages. What sets Aldemar different from the rest?
AA: Aldemar was the first to introduce the spa market in Greece 10 years ago. The know-how and expertise acquired through this journey is our specific distinction. The awards for the world leading Thalasso and Spa Resort (World Travel Awards 2006); and Western Peloponnese for the leading Spa Resort in Europe (World Travel Awards 2006) is the acknowledgement and recognition of years of intensive studies and strenuous efforts. They reflect the culmination of extensive development and investment on new products and innovative methods.
BTN: What are the biggest challenges facing Aldemar hotels at the present time?
AA: In order to stay ahead it must continue to invest in new ideas, new projects and new people.