Two months as a project partner for IVY

Hello! My name is Anastasia, I am 19 years old and I am a university student. I am from Komotini, a city in Northern Greece and it’s the place in which my volunteering experience is currently taking place. I volunteer for the Region of East Macedonia and Thrace as an Interreg Project Partner and I wanted to share my experience with you.

Firstly, the region of East Macedonia and Thrace is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece, it consists of the northeastern parts of the country and my hometown, Komotini, is its capital. A significant number of projects is being implemented by the Region of East Macedonia and Thrace, mainly through INTERREG PROGRAMMES and HORIZON EUROPE. The overall goal of the SMS-CBA project (from which I am engaged as IVY) is to systematically plan and organize the smart promotion of the cross-border area as a natural heritage destination. The project entitled “Smart marketing strategies for tourism in the cross-border region” with the acronym ‘SMS-CBA’ is implemented within the framework of the INTERREG V-A Cooperation Program “Greece – Bulgaria 2014-2020” and is part of Priority Axis 2. A sustainable and climate-adaptable cross-border Region, Investment Priority 6c. Preservation, protection, promotion and development of natural and cultural heritage.

The project combines tourism with Information and Communication Technologies, focusing on the promotion of the natural resources of the cross-border area of Greece and Bulgaria through an updated, professionally designed and executed marketing plan and campaign. Tourism has proven to be the most shock-resistant industry worldwide. It plays an important role for the local economy of the cross-border area, with all relevant policy makers placing it at the core of their strategic planning. A traveler’s experience begins online long before they reach the desired destination. A destination can gain more market share with targeted advertising and promotion, as more than 90% of prospective travelers take other travelers’ reviews into consideration when booking.

Our region was not amongst the most popular destinations in Greece, when it comes to sights, mainly due to the distance from the main urban centers of Greece.  This has rapidly changed during the last decade, because of the new vertical transport axis connecting the Greek mainland with the Republic of Bulgaria. So, with this project, we are trying to help our local economy by attracting more tourists, and consequently gaining added value.

I, as a Project Partner, assist to the communication and dissemination activities, according to the foreseen tasks by the Agreement. I am very excited to see people from different countries and institutions collaborating towards achieving a joint objective. To my point of view this is a unique experience which is expected to contribute to my soft skills in a positive way.

Volunteering in INTERREG Project as IVY, has been a great opportunity for me to learn more about the potential of my region and its strategic view in the years to come. 

I am grateful that I had the chance to see behind-the-scenes of a project before its finalization.

I learned how to challenge myself by trying my best to keep up with many responsibilities and I found a way to help my birthplace and its people gain some appreciation outside of the regional borders. I got the opportunity to assist colleagues and people in general, and this to my point of view is the most important thing.

Anastasia Banioti, IVY Project Partner at the Region of East Macedonia and Thrace


Discover more about SMS-CBA Interreg project

Discover more about Region of East Macedonia and Thrace

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