The Mill of Elves, Greece

“Creating the largest Christmas Park in Greece, from theory to practice”

Best Case Study abstract: The Mill of Elves is the largest and most successful Christmas event in Greece over the last six years.

It has won the smiles, admiration and positive feedback from hundreds of thousands of visitors from every corner of the country and has featured in all major television networks and more generally in the media with hundreds of specials, reports and interviews.

The “Mill of Elves” can serve as an example of organizing a theme park and thus enhancing municipal historic infrastructure.

Training schedule and training categories:

Day 1

External lecture: The role between culture and tourism: enhancing the touristic value of cities and regions/ theme parks as tourist attractions and brand names of a region. [lecturer to be confirmed, probably Futuro Digitale]

 

  • Α  brief presentation of the municipality and the region of Trikala (especially since we are going to finish with a visit to Meteora, it’s good to know all that the region has to offer. Also, the location of the city in the centre of Greece basically is an important asset)

 

  • The history of the building before it became a theme park: (former usage, former management and administration profile, financial investment)
  • Initial idea for creating the theme park and business plan: (who took the initiative, how the first business plan was created, formalized, accepted by the public authority, financed and implemented)

 

  • The history of the building as a Christmas theme park:

 

  1. First year Christmas Park: size, cost,  feedback and number of visitors etc
  2. Second year Christmas Park: size, cost, feedback, number of visitors etc
  3. Third year Christmas Park: size, cost, feedback, number of visitors etc
  4. Fourth year Christmas Park: -//- -//-
  5. Fifth year Christmas Park: -//- -//-
  6. Sixth year Christmas Park: -//- //-
  7. Seventh year Christmas Park: -//- /-/

 

    • Risk management strategy throughout the years: (special comment should be done in relation to other  nearby cities competitiveness as well as the citizens and opposite political authorities protests during the first years as well as the risk in relation to investing such an amount on money during austerity)

 

  • End of training session and visit to Meteora [UNESCO participant to explain the importance and the values of Meteora and the reasons why they constitute World Heritage property]

 

 

Day 2

External lecture: The role of stakeholders in the successful cultural/heritage management [lecturer to be confirmed, probably University of Patras]

  • Promoting the touristic spots of the city in general. Creating a communication bridge among a successful event with the rest of the city, thus create added value: (using the Christmas Park as an opportunity to promote other places of the city and the region as well as local businesses and products in general. Communication strategies in relation to this and impact)
  • General Communication strategy and promotion activities throughout these years (special comment to the means of promotion e.g site and media
  • Financial Management: (the main idea and strategy of the free of charge activities offered, sponsor campaign and communication strategy for attracting sponsors, financial administration and control, workforce and hiring people procedure)

External lecture: Funding and budgeting cultural activities and heritage projects on an EU-level. [VEA Global]

 

  • End of training sessions and visit to the local museums

 

 

Day 3

 

  • Creating the Mill of Elves. The official working team behind the theme park: (timeline and time schedule for creating the park every year, explaining each teams role and obligations e.g artistic team, financial management team, communication team, architectures etc)
  • Creating the Mill of Elves. The unofficial working team behind the theme park: (the importance of volunteers and other organizations, and private clubs (SXOT) in supporting the theme park
  • Local products and business promotion procedure: the strategy to attract other businesses in renting an open market kiosk and the procedure to choose them, advertizing local products and business via the Mill site etc.
  • The Mill in numbers throughout the years: give an analytical description of the theme park impact in.
  • In relation to the cities market during Christmas (hotel booking, restaurants, stores etc and number of visitors)
  • In relation to the cities market the rest of the year (has the theme park increased visitor throughout the years? Has the city of Trikala become a tourist attraction in general thanks to this theme park?
  • End of the training sessions and on the site visit to the Mill of Elves

 

 

Day 4

  • Practical exercise: Based on the facts you collected during the past three days : a) design your own theme park for your region of origin or choice. Think about place, branding, funding, human resources, ways of communication and promotion, management and planning OR
  1. b) Develop ways to better enhance the Mill of Elves [particularly for the participants from Trikala]

 

  • Brief presentation of projects
  • Round Table: common problems when planning theme parks and how to circumvent/solve them.