According to Managing Director Michalis Tsoukias (photo), Trekking Hellas has been "in the business of adventure and sports tourism" for 18 years. Founded in 1986 by two mountain guides, the company (known as (LEAD S.A.) has grown over the years to include 11 companies and 70 workers and now sells its unique brand of tourism through travel agencies in Greece and through foreign agencies from the U.S. to Nepal.
Trekking Hellas is on the edge of the growing "alternative tourism” trend “which focuses on more exotic locals and at times more physically demanding trips for energetic travelers who want to experience nature first hand, not at a distance through the tinted window of a tour bus." The company serves individuals and corporate clients in Greece and abroad.
People who are looking for something different than the average vacation turn to Trekking Hellas which, with their broad array of officially licensed employees in different areas of specialization including dive masters, kayak instructors, river guides and pilots, are able to design any trip a visitor might want. LEAD S.A. has operation bases throughout Greece, so it is able to adjust to the specific needs of the tourist, both in expertise and location.
Aware of the need to adjust to the changing world of the travel business, the company has recently added a new Sport Events Department dealing with the special services for the influx of guests due to the Olympics in August. The Sports Events Department has the goal of securing almost any type of lodging necessary for Olympic guests, including apartments, condos, executive homes, and yachts. But the company doesn’t want to limit itself only to housing needs and also offers everything a visitor could want, from private, English-speaking drivers and airport transfers to catering services and translation assistance. Among their clients already signed up are the Canadian Olympic Committee, the U.S. Shooting Team, and the Singapore National Olympic Council.
The company knows its future is in its youngest clients and specializes in trips geared toward the young consumer. It offers activities for children, school, and youth programs including snowboarding school, day trekking, adventure camps, and trips to Italy; mountaineering, climbing, and sailing classes are available as well.
Mr. Tsoukias believes the most promising areas of growth for FDI in alternate tourism in Greece are two. The first area is in developing self-organized trips, based on one or two eco-friendly small hotels or guest houses, immersed in nature and surrounded by a network of paths, where people can walk or bike at their pace and can organize their vacations and the day routine as they wish. This kind of vacation combines the freedom of easy choice with the knowledge and organization of a professional tour organizer and is already in big demand. In fact, he says. " we already provide this kind of self organized trips and have invested in operating the first 'forest village' in the mountains of Pindos near Ioannina, from where visitors have access to an immense path network through virgin nature."
The second area that companies are more and more discovering is adventure tourism and outdoor activities as a tool to motivate and to reward their employees. These kinds of events either add on to traditional activities such as congresses or annual meetings as an independent outdoor activity or they are independent events, trips, or training lessons which are entirely based on adventure, nature and activities. "This is very promising as it represents a huge market and because it brings people to nature and to activities that they might never have had this opportunity to practice."
Another element which shows Trekking Hellas is paying attention to recent trends in the tourism business is its focus on environmentally friendly excursions. LEAD S.A. has taken a “green” approach and views the preservation of wildlife and wilderness areas as a serious business. “Being concerned about the protection of the environment, Trekking Hellas Group of Companies has introduced a product line of Eco-tourism programs. In these programs participants will have the opportunity to watch and learn about projects related to the protection of endangered species in protected areas in combination with outdoor activities” the company reports.
Trekking Hellas has been marketing itself vigorously in Greek and English by many methods including a brochure titled “Discoveries,” on the web, and with detailed information distributed in foreign markets. All their brochures include a complete sales manual. Their easy to navigate site written in Greek and English is located at http://www.trekking.gr and contains information on all the programs available to the public as well as information on franchising.