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Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.
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Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.

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INDEPENDENT STUDΥ …

INDEPENDENT STUDΥ

“Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.”

The aim of this project was to identify the role of DMOs in promoting Athens as a tourist destination, as well as to evaluate their effectiveness in terms of marketing and managing the tourist product of Athens, its popularity and imagery.

ABSTRACT

The aim of this thesis is to identify the role of DMOs in promoting Athens as a tourist destination, as well as to evaluate their effectiveness in terms of marketing and managing the tourist product of Athens, its popularity and imagery. For that purposes, 6 personal interviews were conducted with executives who were working in 6 famous local DMOs operating both generally in Greece and specifically in Athens.

The result of this study indicated that DMOs are playing a crucial role for the promotion of Athens as a tourist destination. DMOs key responsibilities include: development of sophisticated online marketing strategies, creation of high quality published material, participation in international tourism fairs for developing relationships with key stakeholders and development of network synergies with airline companies, and international tourism organizations.
Athens is a destination with great potential for future growth and for that reason DMOs have designed certain plans for the next three years in order to exploit the opportunities which are presented. The future plans of the DMOs give particular emphasis in the opening in new tourist markets and more particularly in the markets of Russia, Turkey China, and USA. Besides, DMOs will focus in five forms of tourism which can be developed successfully in Athens, namely: 1) cultural tourism, 2) health tourism, 3) luxury tourism, 4) city break tourism, and 5) convention tourism

On the other hand, the executives of the DMOs underlined several problems which prevent the tourism development of Athens. The majority of these problems are related with the business environment in Greece which has become less competitive due to the crisis. Besides, the city as a destination faces the problems of seasonality as well as missing infrastructures.
Finally, the research showed that DMOs have established strong and long term relationships with DMOs in foreign countries. These partnerships allow the Greek DMOs to be updated concerning the trends of the global tourism market as well as enhance the movement of tourists between cooperating countries. Nevertheless, the promotion of Athens as a tourism destination requires a more concerted effort between the public and the private stakeholders which are involved in the tourism industry. The benefits will be multiplied for businesses, the state and the society in general.

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  • 1. Page.1 M.Sc in Marketing Management INDEPENDENT STUDΥ “Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.” SPYROS LANGOS ID: 100285557 Supervisor: Mr. George Roumeliotis Athens, September 2014 Academic Year 2013 – 2014
  • 2. Page.2 “Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.” The aim of this project was to identify the role of DMOs in promoting Athens as a tourist destination, as well as to evaluate their effectiveness in terms of marketing and managing the tourist product of Athens, its popularity and imagery. “ Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Gustave Flaubert
  • 3. Page.3 ACKNOLEDGEMENTS The writing of this dissertation has been one of the most significant academic challenges that I have faced. Without the support, patience and guidance of the following people, this study would not have been completed. It is to them that I owe my deepest gratitude:  Prof. Goerge Roumeliotis, who undertook to act as my supervisor despite his many other academic and professional commitments. His wisdom, knowledge and commitment to the highest standards, inspired and motivated me.  Prof. Ioanna Tsoka, who carefully analyzed the theoretical and research grounds for the study. She gave me the opportunity to attend conferences and meet so many interesting people, during my time at the college.  Dr. George Papadakis, who expressed great trust in my skills and character. I thank him for his encouragement and advice.  My friends and colleagues: Venia Pervena, Nikitas Papantwniou, Romina Pici, who inspired my final efforts despite the enormous work pressures they were facing.  I appreciate the executives from the DMO’s, that participated in this research project, with interest and enthusiasm.  I would also like to thank some wonderful women working in the Mediterranean college administration, for their everyday student support.  My past business associates Nikos Lygeros and Panos Telonis, for their advice on Greek Tourism Industry and market insights. I am so deeply grateful for their help and professionalism.  I would also like to acknowledge Niovi Christodoulou, for her valuable comments. She demonstrated her faith in my ability to rise to the occasion and do the necessary work.  The faculty of my department (Mrs. Gamaletsou, Mr. Kitonakis and Mrs. Kotsolaki) that have provided me with critical thinking.  Eleni Langkou and Stavros Langkos, my parents, who have always supported, encouraged and believed in me, lovingly and unselfishly. This dissertation is dedicated to Stavros and Eleni firstly, my parents and secondly to all of my friends, family and acquaintances who contributed to formulating my character and development. Thank you all for your support.
  • 4. Page.4 DECLERATION I, the undersigned, hereby declare that this dissertation entitled, “Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s.” is my own work, and that all the sources I have used or quoted have been indicated or acknowledged by means of completed references. …………………………….. …………………………….. Spyros Langkos Date
  • 5. Page.5 ACRONYMS & ABBREVIATIONS GNTO Greek National Tourism Organization DMO Destination Marketing Organizations ITA International Tourism Arrivals SETE Association of Greek Tourism Enterprise GDP Gross Domestic Product GVA Gross Value Added IT Information Technology HR Human Relations WTO World Trade Organization NTA’s National Tourism Authorities RTO’s Regional Tourism Authorities UNWTO United Nations World Tourism Organization MICE Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibitions E.O.T Greek National Travel Organization ACVB Athens Convention and Visitors Bauru ADDMA Athens Development and Destination Management Agency EXAA Athens Hoteliers Union - Attica ICCI Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry ITB Internationale Tourismus-Börse
  • 6. Page.6 WTM World Travel Market IMEX Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events EIBTM Exhibition for the Incentive Business Travel and Meetings IDMA International Destination Marketing Association EESC European Economic and Social Committee OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development WYSTC World Youth and Student Travel Confederation VAT Value Added Tax AHA Athens Hotel Association ECOTEC Emissions Consumption Optimization Technology
  • 7. Page.7 LIST OF TABLES & FIGURES TABLES Table 1.1: Greek Tourism Basic Figures……..………………………………...14 Table 2.1: Key determinants of Destination Marketing efficiency……………22 Table 3.1: Features of Qualitative & Quantitative Research………………….37 Table 4.1: Age range of the participants………….…………………………….43 Table 4.2: Summary of Findings………………………………………………...60 FIGURES Figure 1.1: International Tourist Arrivals in Greece & in Athens…………....15 Figure 2.1: Destination Marketing Framework & economical impact……..…17 Figure 2.2: Suggestions of a destination management model…………….…24 Figure 2.3: The framework of Sustainable Destination Management…………………………………………………….………….….…..25 Figure 2.4: Destination Branding Framework ……………………………..…..27 Figure 2.5: The elements of Destination Branding ……………………….…..28 Figure 2.6: The role of DMOs……………………………………………...…….31 Figure 2.7: Contributions & Rewards between DMOs & DMCs …...………..32 Figure 2.8: The goals of DMO – A DMO Model …………………...……….....34
  • 8. Page.8 ABSTRACT The aim of this thesis is to identify the role of DMOs in promoting Athens as a tourist destination, as well as to evaluate their effectiveness in terms of marketing and managing the tourist product of Athens, its popularity and imagery. For that purposes, 6 personal interviews were conducted with executives who were working in 6 famous local DMOs operating both generally in Greece and specifically in Athens. The result of this study indicated that DMOs are playing a crucial role for the promotion of Athens as a tourist destination. DMOs key responsibilities include: development of sophisticated online marketing strategies, creation of high quality published material, participation in international tourism fairs for developing relationships with key stakeholders and development of network synergies with airline companies, and international tourism organizations. Athens is a destination with great potential for future growth and for that reason DMOs have designed certain plans for the next three years in order to exploit the opportunities which are presented. The future plans of the DMOs give particular emphasis in the opening in new tourist markets and more particularly in the markets of Russia, Turkey China, and USA. Besides, DMOs will focus in five forms of tourism which can be developed successfully in Athens, namely: 1) cultural tourism, 2) health tourism, 3) luxury tourism, 4) city break tourism, and 5) convention tourism On the other hand, the executives of the DMOs underlined several problems which prevent the tourism development of Athens. The majority of these problems are related with the business environment in Greece which has become less competitive due to the crisis. Besides, the city as a destination faces the problems of seasonality as well as missing infrastructures.
  • 9. Page.9 Finally, the research showed that DMOs have established strong and long term relationships with DMOs in foreign countries. These partnerships allow the Greek DMOs to be updated concerning the trends of the global tourism market as well as enhance the movement of tourists between cooperating countries. Nevertheless, the promotion of Athens as a tourism destination requires a more concerted effort between the public and the private stakeholders which are involved in the tourism industry. The benefits will be multiplied for businesses, the state and the society in general. Keywords & terms: Destination Marketing Organizations, DMO’s, tourism destination, tourist product, popularity & imagery, interviews, online marketing strategies, Athens, Greece, international tourism fairs, stakeholder relationships, network synergies, airline companies, future growth, tourist markets, cultural tourism, health tourism, luxury tourism, city break tourism, convention tourism, tourism development of Athens, business environment in Greece, seasonality, infrastructures
  • 10. Page.10 TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOLEDGEMENTS...................................................................................iii DECLARATION...............................................................................................iv ACRONYMS & ABREVIATIONS.....................................................................v LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES.................................................................vii ABSTRACT...................................................................................................viii CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ............................................................ 12 1.1 Aim and objectives of the study ........................................................... 12 1.2 Tourism in Greece ............................................................................... 13 1.3. Athens as a tourist destination ............................................................ 14 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ................................................ 16 2.1 Introduction .......................................................................................... 16 2.2 Destination Marketing .......................................................................... 16 2.3 Determinants of Destination Marketing efficiency ................................ 18 2.4 Destination management ..................................................................... 22 2.5 Destination Branding ............................................................................ 26 2.6 The Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) ......................... 29 2.6.1 Defining DMOs ............................................................................... 29 2.6.2 The role of DMOs ........................................................................... 29 2.6.3 Improving the role of DMOs ........................................................... 34 2.6.4 DMO’s in Greece and Athens ........................................................ 35 CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ................................. 36 3.1 Introduction .......................................................................................... 36 3.2 Research strategy ................................................................................ 36 3.3 Research method – Qualitative versus Quantitative techniques .......... 36 3.4 Research approach .............................................................................. 38
  • 11. Page.11 3.5 Data collection method and tools ......................................................... 38 3.6 Sample selection .................................................................................. 40 3.7 Research process ................................................................................ 40 3.8 Data analysis ....................................................................................... 41 3.9 Ethical considerations .......................................................................... 41 3.10 Research Limitations ......................................................................... 42 CHAPTER 4: ANALYSIS OF FINDINGS........................................... 43 4.1 Introduction .......................................................................................... 43 4.2 Profile of the interviewees .................................................................... 43 4.3 The characteristics of Athens as destination ........................................ 44 4.4 DMOs activities for promoting Athens as a Tourist destination ............ 48 4.5 DMOs future plans for promoting the destination of Athens ................. 51 4.6 Main Problems of Athens & the role of DMOs ..................................... 54 4.7 Relationships with other DMOs ............................................................ 58 4.8 A summary of findings.......................................................................... 60 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS ............................................................. 64 5.1 Conclusions ......................................................................................... 64 5.2 Suggestions for further research .......................................................... 67 5.3 Personal Reflection .............................................................................. 68 6. BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES.......................................... 73 6.1 Literacy Sources ................................................................................ 73 6.2 Interview Sources ............................................................................... 78 6.3 Electronic Sources ............................................................................. 79 7. APPENDICIES ..................................................................................... 80
  • 12. Page.12 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1 Aim and objectives of the study The tourism industry in Greece is one of the most important sectors of the country’s economy it terms of value (Hellenic Statistical Authority, 2014). There are several public and private organizations which are involved in the tourism industry in Greece for promoting destinations such as the Destination Management Organizations (DMOs). In this context, the aim of this project is to evaluate the contribution of Athens DMO’s towards the rising popularity of the city of Athens as an international destination within the context of Destination Marketing. More specifically, the project has the following objectives:  To identify the activities which are performed by DMOs for promoting Athens and to evaluate the strategic role of DMO’s.  To identify the importance of destination marketing through its application in the Greek Tourism Industry and the particular case of Athens.  To portrait the opinions and activity planning of Greek DMO’s Executives, who are considered to be experts in the tourism field.  To provide insights and new trends of high informational value about the Tourism Industry in Athens.  To highlight the latest incentives and programming concerning the city’s future developments.  To identify the key problems that Athens faces as a tourist destination and to recommend points for improvement from the DMOs perspective.
  • 13. Page.13 There were numerous reasons for which the study subject was selected. First of all, numerous researchers (Buhalis & Michopoulou, 2011, Pike, 2008) have highlighted the importance of Destination Marketing and Destination Management for effectively promoting and managing the tourism product. These two concepts have become even more important nowadays that Greece as a whole suffers from the economic crisis that has started since the second half of 2008. Given that tourism, is one of the most important sectors in Greece, especially as far as its contribution to revenues (16.4% of GDP) and employment (18.3% of total employment) is concerned, promoting and effectively managing the Greek tourism product nowadays is probably most important than ever (SETE, 2013). In the meantime, the case of Athens is not as easy as the case of Greek islands to be promoted for summer holidays, rather, Athens has to compete with major European capitals, which also form very famous and important tourism destinations. Within the above context, it was considered as very interesting to identify and evaluate the actions undertaken during the crisis in order to change the positioning of the city of Athens as a tourism destination, in the mind of the international visitor. This will help in identifying weaknesses, as well as proposing ways in which DMOs improve their role in terms of promoting Athens as a major tourism destination, while at the same time providing important implications for the state itself as well. 1.2 Tourism in Greece The importance of tourism in the Greek Economy can be reflected with the figures which are illustrated in table 1.1. More particularly, tourism accounted for 16.4% in the end of 2012, while at the same time contributing to the 18,3% of the national employment rates, occupying more than 688,000 employees in the particular year. Greece has a share of 2.95% in the European tourism industry and is ranked 17th, attracting 15 million tourists on average on an annual basis. Tourists in Greece mainly come from Germany (13,6%), followed by UK (12,4%).
  • 14. Page.14 Greek tourism is highly subject to seasonality, with June, July, and August being the months attracting more international visitors, due to the high popularity of Greek islands (SETE, 2013). According to Buhalis & Deimezi (2003), Greece lacks coordination of the various parties involved in the tourism industry, and as a result it fails to take advantage of its tourism potential to the extent that it could. Table 1.1: Greek Tourism Basic Figures, 2012 Element Value Contribution to GDP 16,4 % Contribution to employment 18,3 % Employment 688.800 International Tourist Receipts 10 billion Euros International Tourist Arrivals 15,5 millions Average per Capita Tourism Expenditure 646 Euros European Market Share 2.9 % World Market Share 1,5 % Hotel Capacity 9670 Hotels, 771,271 beds Source: Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, 2013 1.3. Athens as a tourist destination Athens is mainly popular for its ancient history and culture, which are studied and admired worldwide. The capital of Greece attracts the biggest number of tourists than any other place in the country, reporting the arrival of about 2.5 million tourists in 2012 (SETE, 2013). The adaption of the latest information technologies have given Athenian hotels the opportunity to offer exceptional Internet services, while tourism operators offer online reservation and information schemes to serve tourists from all over the world.
  • 15. Page.15 The climate of Athens makes it attractive during all seasons of the year, while the city also offers various transportation modes and significant night life. However, it is much more expensive than other European cities, and is also less clean (Igoumenakis, 2000). For a more detailed view of the tourism in Athens, figure 1.1 illustrates the international tourist arrivals in Athens and in Greece in 2012 and 2013. As it is presented below, the arrivals in Athens and in the whole country increased in 2013. In more details, in 2012 11.413.792 international tourists arrived in Athens whereas in 2013 the arrivals increased reaching the 2.619.455. In the same length, the arrivals of tourists in Greece in 2012 were 11.413.792 and in 2013 increased to 12.645.214. Figure 1.1: International Tourist Arrivals in Greece and in Athens in 2012 and 2013, Source: Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE, 2014) 2.555.355 2.619.455 11.413.792 12.645.214 0 2.000.000 4.000.000 6.000.000 8.000.000 10.000.000 12.000.000 14.000.000 2012 2013 Athens Total Greece
  • 16. Page.16 CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Introduction This chapter contains the literature review of the dissertation. In this part of the project, the writer presents the academic theory regarding destination marketing, destination management, destination branding and Destination Management Organizations (DMOs). 2.2 Destination Marketing Destinations across the world heavily compete with each other, in order to maintain their attractiveness and competitiveness in the global tourist industry. In order to do so, it is necessary for destination authorities to be able to address the different needs of different market segments, as well as promote their image and manage destinations in a way that attracts tourists. In other words, they need to effectively implement Destination Marketing, the term referring to promoting tourist destinations as a means of improving their imagery and popularity (Buhalis & Michopoulou, 2011). According to Koutoulas & Zoyganeli (2007), Destination Marketing takes place at two levels. At the micro-level, independent tourist operators, such as hotels and transportation agencies, which promote the products and services they offer in the industry. At the macro-level, governments and other official authorities promote their countries and states as tourist destinations. ECOTEC (2010) provides an analytical framework of Destination marketing and its economical impact. As it is illustrated in figure 2.1 the framework includes four key elements: 1) activities, 2) outputs, 3) outcomes and 4) impacts. Activities include the promotional and marketing activities regarding leisure services and the promotional activities regarding events. Promotional activities of the leisure services target leisure visitors while marketing activities of events target event organizers.
  • 17. Page.17 Moving to the outcomes, the marketing activities may convince leisure visitors to decide to visit a destination or to extent their stay in a destination. ECOTEC (2010) also in this phase highlights the role of DMOs in extending the stay of the visitors as well as to bring more events to a destination. Lastly, ECOTEC (2010) underlines the major economic impacts of an efficient destination marketing campaign, more specifically, the firm states that destination marketing may increase the spending of the visitors. Additional spending leads to additional jobs and to the creation of additional gross value (GVA). Figure 2.1: Destination Marketing Framework and its economical impact, adapted from ECOTEC (2010) Destination Marketing essentially involves the notion of Destination Management as well, which refers to all those efforts made towards promoting sustainable tourism and the interest of stakeholders. For that purpose the following two paragraphs disrobe the key determinants of Destination marketing and Destination management respectively.
  • 18. Page.18 2.3 Determinants of Destination Marketing efficiency The key determinant of Destination Marketing is an issue which has been broadly discussed in the academic literature. For example, Chaitip et al. (2008) investigates the factors which determine the success in a tourist destination. For that purpose, the authors distributed questionnaires in a sample consisted of 100 tourists who had chose Greece as a tourist destination. Additionally, the researchers used factor analysis and structural equation modeling techniques for analyzing their primary data. The results of this paper indicated that destination marketing efficiency is influenced by four factors, namely: a) satisfaction of the travel cost, b) the integrated tourism product, c) tourism product attributes and d) tourism product management. These factors are determined by several attributes. To begin with, the tourism product is formulated by the satisfaction of the tourists from the sea, the sun, the beaches, the mountains, the hotels, the market places and the restaurants of a destination. Tourism product management is determined by the attractions, the amenities, the accesses and the image of a destination. Lastly, the satisfaction of the travel cost of tourists is determined by the airline cost, the hotel and the guesthouse cost, and the total cost of the domestic trip in Greece. Furthermore, Buhalis (2001) distinguishes three strategic directions that can enhance destination marketing efficiency: 1) enhance the satisfaction of tourist and delight the visitor, 2) strengthen the long term competitiveness and profitability of the local tourism industry and of the local small and medium- sized tourism enterprises, and 3) develop the sustainability of the destinations and ensure prosperity of host population (see table in appendixes). Each of these three directions incorporates several strategic objectives. More particularly for enhancing the satisfaction of the visitors, destinations and tourism enterprises should improve their services, specialize their tourism product and offer value - for - money tourism services by focusing on quality.
  • 19. Page.19 The improvement of the services can be achieved with the following tasks: standardize the delivery of the services, adoption and development of quality control systems, enhance operational management procedures, provide flexible tourism services, focus in the development of personal relationships with the customers, invest in the training of the personnel and augment the tourism product. Buhalis (2001) also writes that for strengthening the long term competiveness and profitability of the local tourism industry the official bodies of tourism should set the following objectives: increase revenues, manage costs more efficiently, invest in human resources management and promote collaboration between state and public tourism organizations. To begin with, destinations and tourism enterprises can increase their revenues by: increasing tourist volume, targeting new markets and boosting penetration in existing markets, adopting aggressive marketing strategies, increasing average spending per customer, selecting high quality specialized tour operators, investing in alternative tourism, motivating the employees who are working in the tourism industry with bonuses and lastly use alternative distribution services for delivering their services. The efficient management of the cost can be achieved with the standardization of the service delivery, the augmentation of the productivity, the decrease of the labor costs and the usage of advanced IT applications. Strategic tasks for the HR operations include the satisfaction of the employees, the development of long term relationships with the personnel and the motivation of the staff. Finally, the support from the state and the public tourism organizations can be achieved through the usage of destination marketing techniques, the provision of financial aid to the local enterprises and the provision of incentive policies for further development.
  • 20. Page.20 Lastly, the sustainability of the destinations for ensuring prosperity for the local community can be achieved through: a) environmental protection, b) infrastructure amelioration, c) improvement in transportation, d) economic integration, and e) equitable return on resources utilized. Buhalis (2001) claims that the protection of the environment can be achieved through the management of natural supplies the reduction of the noise pollution, the usage – or installation – of sewage treatment systems and architecture preservation. The improvement of the infrastructure of a destination includes tasks such as improvement in the accessibility, as well as advancements in the telecommunication systems and in public facilities. Strategic tasks for the improvement of the transportation system include advancements in the vehicles and in the timetables whereas economic integration premises integration with raw material production, recruiting local labor forces, integration of the tourism services and diagonal integration of region economy. Finally, important tasks for the equitable return on the resources utilized include: the establishment of reinvestment mechanisms, investments in sustainable resources and ensuring equity in distribution of the wealth that is produced from tourism in the destination. Moreover, Stankovic et al. (2012) support that destination marketing efficiency is highly depended in the organization of cultural and sport events. More specifically, the authors support that events and festivals – sport and cultural – can help a destination to improve its image and its popularity. It is indicative that the writers state that: “Events can have a significant effect on shaping the image of the local community. For many destinations, events can provide a wide public attention through extensive media coverage.” And then they add: “Events of all kinds can make the city more pleasant, interesting, while big events help to increase the popularity and creating an image of the city”
  • 21. Page.21 Likewise, writers such as Lopes (2011), Echtner and Ritchie (2003), and Stabler (1988) underline the crucial role of destination image in the destination marketing perspective. More specifically, Lopes (2011) supports that when tourists choose a tourist destination are influenced significantly by the image of the destination. In this context the researcher mentions the factors which determine the image in tourism destinations, namely: the perceptions of the visitors, the effectiveness of tourism marketing activities, the educational background of the visitors, the social and economic characteristics of the tourists, the motives of the visitors, the media (TV, magazines, newspaper, books, etc.), the experiences of the tourists and the psychological characteristics of the visitors (Stabler, 1988 cited by Lopes, 2011). It should be noted that Lopes (2011) distinguishes two types of destination image: primary image and secondary image. The primary image is the image that a visitor has after visiting a destination and recalls his / hers experience. In contrast, secondary image is the image that a tourist has before visiting the destination. Destination marketers should consider both types of images in order to design efficient campaigns. Lastly, Echtner and Ritchie (2003) write that from the tourism industry perspective important factors which determine the image of a destination are: the scenery and the natural attractions, pricing strategies, hospitality and friendliness, climate, tourist activities, nightlife and entertainment, sport facilities, national parks and museums, local infrastructure and transportation, and accommodation facilities. Table 2.1 summarizes the key findings mentioned in this paragraph classified by author:
  • 22. Page.22 Table 2.1: Key determinants of Destination Marketing efficiency Author Key determinants of Destination Marketing efficiency Chaitip et al. (2008) Satisfaction of the travel cost Integrated tourism product Tourism product attributes Tourism product management Buhalis (2001) Enhance the satisfaction of tourist and delight the visitor Strengthen long term competitiveness and profitability of the local tourism industry and of the local small and medium-sized tourism enterprises Develop the sustainability of the destinations and ensure prosperity of host population Stankovic et al. (2012) Organization of cultural and sport events Lopes (2011) Demographic features of the tourists Echtner and Ritchie (2003) Scenery and natural attractions Pricing strategies Hospitality and friendliness Climate Tourist activities Nightlife and entertainment Sport facilities / General facilities National parks and museums Local infrastructure and transportation Accommodation 2.4 Destination management According to Manente (2009), the role of destination management is to manage and support the integration of different resources, activities and stakeholders through suitable policies and actions. In this perspective destination management has six major tasks: 1) to improve the quality of life of the residents of the destination, 2) to ensure the quality of visit of the tourists, 3) to gain and to maintain the competitiveness on the markets, 4) to promote sustainable development, 5) to preserve local resources and 6) to create products for specific market segments.
  • 23. Page.23 In the same length with the writers who were mentioned in the previous paragraph, several researchers have investigated the key determinants of destination management. To begin with, Ryglova (2008) distinguishes three important factors in the destination management perspective: the private sector of a destination, the local destination organizations – for example the DMOs and the public sectors (see figure 2.2). The private sector includes aspects such as the accommodation and facilities of a destination, the boarding facilities, the providers of accompanying activities, the providers of natural and cultural activities, the tour operators, the travel agencies and offices, the organizers of cultural and social events, the carriers and lastly the other providers which operate in the tourism industry. On the other hand, important aspects of the public sector of a tourist destination are the villages and the towns, the alliances of villages, the organizations which were founded and established by the villagers, the nongovernmental non-profit organizations, the citizen-action public and the partner organizations from neighboring regions. It is indicative that Ryglova (2008) places the role of the DMOs between the private and the public sector. More specifically, the local destination organizations interact with the private and the public sector respectively and have an important role in coordinating the destination management mission: Image Source: “Strategic plan”, http://www.sustainabletourismonline.com/destinations-and-communities/destination- planning/planning-process/strategic-plan
  • 24. Page.24 Figure 2.2: Suggestions of a destination management model, adapted from Ryglova, 2008 In agreement, Nezirovic (2013) writes that important aspects for an efficient destination management include actions such as focus intensively in the development of regional tourism, provision of high quality tourist services, efficient use of the available capacities of a destination, invest in the extension of the tourist season, organize more efficiently the enterprises in the industry, focus in the augmentation of the productivity, increase foreign tourist traffic and accelerate the development in the underdeveloped areas in the destination. It should be noted that the findings of Nezirovic (2013) were based in a destination management analysis that was conducted in Northeastern Bosnia. Additionally, Kogovsek (2013) supports that the sustainability in destination management is determined by three key factors: 1) knowledge management, 2) innovativeness and 3) collaboration. Knowledge management refers to the sharing of the knowledge, to the investment in continuous training and education of the persons who are working in the tourism industry as well as in the development of a wide and deep knowledge base.
  • 25. Page.25 Collaboration presupposes the active involvement of all key stakeholders, the determination of common vision and goals and the adoption of a strategic dialog between all stakeholders. Lastly, innovativeness presupposes the adoption of an “out of the box” business thinking. The authors also distinguish two types of innovation: constant innovation (incremental) and major innovation (radical). Therefore, the writers conclude that a destination will be successful when it focuses in these three key parameters and argue that knowledge management and collaboration when they are combined lead to innovativeness (see figure 2.3). Kogovsek (2013) lastly support that market segmentation plays a vital role in Destination Management. More specifically, the authors say that market segmentation leads to the development of an efficient strategic plan which is the fundamental stone for a successful tourism destination management. Figure 2.3: The framework of Sustainable Destination Management, adapted from Kogovsek (2013)
  • 26. Page.26 Finally, Mulec (2010) in agreement with Kogovsek 2013) underlines that efficient destination management actions should begin with proper market segmentation strategies. For that reason the writer states that a destination can maximize the effectiveness of its management strategies only by presenting the destination to the segment of potential clients in the right way. 2.5 Destination Branding One other key element of destination marketing is destination branding. Giannopoulos et al. (2008) supports that the concept of destination branding involves two stages. The first stage is the destination brand development whereas the second is the maintenance of the destination brand over time (see figure 2.4). More particularly, the first phase in destination branding development is the brand analysis which leads to the development of the brand positioning which in turns leads to the determination of the shared brand values. In the maintenance phase the first stage is consistency and coordination which leads to long term commitment from all the key stakeholders which are involved in the destination marketing process. The third stage involves the management of the destination brand portfolio which finally leads to the brand performance assessment. This process according to Giannopoulos et al. (2008) can help tourism stakeholders of a region to enhance the brand of their destination. It should be noted that the framework of Giannopoulos et al. (2008) was developed after the conduction of 38 personal interviews with 37 key informants in the Greek hotel industry. Image Source: Robust National Branding, Scoopit.com
  • 27. Page.27 Figure 2.4: Destination Branding Framework, adapted from Giannopoulos et al. (2008) Furthermore, Hankinson (2004) notes that destination branding as a term is shaped from four key elements, namely: 1) relationships with visitors, 2) primary service relationships, 3) media relationships, and 4) brand infrastructure relationships (see figure 2.5). Consumer relationships refer to the relations which are developed between tourism enterprises and residents and employees, internal customers, and non conflicting target markets. An efficient destination branding presupposes the development and management of high quality relationships with these categories. On the other hand, primary service relationships are the relationships that the destination firms develop with retailers, hotels and hotel associations, and event organizers. Hankinson (2004) adds that services should be places at the core of the brand experience.
  • 28. Page.28 Figure 2.5: The elements of Destination Branding, adapted from Hankinson (2004) Besides, media relationships refer to the organic marketing communication activities and more specifically to publicity, public relations and advertising of the destination. Lastly, brand infrastructure relationships involve access services, hygiene facilities and landscape. Access services are distinguished in external transport air, sea, land, rail and internal transport while hygiene facilities involve car parks and open spaces. Therefore, Hankinson (2004) considers destination branding as a process which includes the management of four types of relationships. It can be concluded that destination branding is a complex procedure and implies the cooperation of many actors in order to bring results.
  • 29. Page.29 2.6 The Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) 2.6.1. Defining DMOs Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) are those organizations authorized to manage and promote destinations. According to World Tourism Organization (WTO) (2004), every destination must have at least one DMO. WTO (2004) distinguishes DMOs in terms of their geographic location and legal form. Taking geographic location first, DMOs are distinguished into National Tourism Authorities (NTAs) or National Tourism Organizations (NTOs), Regional, Provincial or state DMOs (RTOs), and Local DMOs (Ibid, 2004). As far as their legal form is concerned, DMOs may be governmental authorities, organizations operating under the control of government, public organizations, organizations operating under the control of municipalities, non-profit organizations that belong both to the public and the private sector, non-profit tourism organizations, and profit tourism organizations (Christou et al., 2008). 2.6.2. The role of DMOs According to Pike (2008), DMOs essentially have a dual role: the one of Destination Marketing and the one of Destination Management - both terms were analyzed in the previous paragraphs. Talking about Destination Marketing first, this involves the obvious role of DMOs, i.e. to improve the imagery and popularity of a tourist destination. This is implemented using many techniques, such as advertising through media, distributing promotional materials, and offering promotional holiday packages. Destination branding is another important element of Destination Marketing, and so is direct selling (Mistilis & Daniele, 2005). The major challenge associated with Destination Marketing is that tourist destinations are multi-dimensional, so it is difficult for marketers and DMOs to combine the different dimensions to target specific consumer segments (Reid et al., 2008).
  • 30. Page.30 As far as destination management is concerned, one of the main roles of DMOs is to protect and improve the image of the destination, as well as offer complete holiday packages to tourists (Sheehan et al., 2007). Except for that, Destination Management essentially involves the development of sustainable tourism policies, which also safeguard the needs and interests of other stakeholders, such as those occupied with tourism in general, the residents of destinations, the natural resources and the environment of destinations, as well as the society as a whole (Dwyer et al., 2003). Chaitip et al. (2010) point out that Destination Management involves three elements, namely the competitiveness of destination, its performance in terms of sustainability and tourist satisfaction, and the achievement of sustainable goals. As it happens with Destination Marketing, Destination Management is also complex, due to the complex nature of tasks to be accomplished and the number of stakeholders involved in the tourist product (Gretzel et al., 2006). In the same spirit, Mazilu (2012) notes that the role of DMOs is to manage and coordinate all the parties which are involved in the local tourism industry (figure 2.6). DMOs interact with the destination elements which are: the attraction of the destination, the entertainment facilities, accessibility, human resources strategies, the image of the destination, and the price of the touristic services. The role of DMOs influences and is influenced by the destination elements. Then, the role of DMOs is to create the appropriate environment for the development of tourism in the destination by establishing policies, legislations, regulations, and taxes. Lastly, DMOs play a critical role in developing destination marketing campaigns in order to attract more visitors to the region. Image Source: Conceptual framework, UNWNTO
  • 31. Page.31 Figure 2.6: The role of DMOs, adapted from Mazilu (2012) Angela (2010) claims that DMOs and destination firms should have close relationships with specific contributions and rewards between the two parts (see figure 2.7). In more details, DMOs receive the following contributions from the destination firms: a) funds, b) consensus and legitimacy, c) decision making ability regarding promotional activities and development of tourism services, and d) power to coordinate activities such as bookings, promotions and events, etc. On the other hand, DMOs provide to the firms which operate in the tourism industry the following contributions: 1) planning activities, 2) fundraising, 3) development of tourism products/services, 4) marketing initiatives, 5) bidding activities to host international congresses, 6) research projects, 7) training to the people who are working in the local tourism industry, 8) management of tourism data and reporting to international institutions to position the destination in the global market, 9) know how and experience in tourism management, 10) rules, information and reporting in destination’s performance and 11) continuous quality control and determination of quality standards.
  • 32. Page.32 These contributions from the DMOs incorporate several rewards for the destination firms: 1) destination firms can achieve economies of scale, 2) synergies are more frequent, 3) sales volume improvement (lower seasonality, high occupancy rate, high number of MICE, and leisure events), 4) marketing activities which organized by specialists, 5) planning and organization of events in the destination, 6) involvement in the decision making process, 7) active participation in the development of the regional tourism industry and motivation, and 8) consistency among destination’s firms in terms of activities and goals. Lastly, Angela (2008) in her model distinguishes three types of risks for destination firms which shape their contributions to the DMOs: a) financial risk, b) knowledge sharing risk and c) independence risk. Hence, Angela (2010) supports that the role of DMOs in promoting a tourism destination is vital. DMOs can contribute significantly to the promotion of tourism of a region as well as to the strengthening of the local economy. Figure 2.7: Contributions and Rewards between DMOs and destination firms, adapted from Angela (2010)
  • 33. Page.33 Similarly, Grzinic and Saftic (2012) support that the role of the DMOs is to address five specific goals (see figure 2.8): 1. Ensure adequate tourist and related infrastructure 2. Achievement of coordinated offer 3. Reduction of seasonality 4. Provide and promote institutional support of tourist development 5. Ensure local community involvement According to Grzinic and Saftic (2012) there are 7 actions which can ensure adequate tourist and related infrastructure: 1) ensure accessibility to and within the destination, 2) improve the communal infrastructure, 3) develop new accommodation capacities, 4) advance the service quality of the provided services, 5) develop the necessary infrastructure, 6) upgrade the existing accommodation capacities, and 7) focus in destination safety and cleanliness. For achieving a coordinated offer, DMOs should develop an efficient marketing system as well offer diversified services for reaching more market segments. The reduction of seasonality can be achieved through the usage of destination marketing activities, the offering of diversified tourist services and the diversified accommodation capacities. For promoting the institutional support in the local tourist industry, DMOs should intensify their inspection activities, granting autonomy to tourist organizations, establish a clear legal basis of tourist development and develop and manage an integrated information system. Finally, DMOs should promote entrepreneurship development as well as communicate the importance of tourism in order to motivate the local community.
  • 34. Page.34 Figure 2.8: The goals of DMO – A DMO Model, Source Grzinic and Saftic (2012) 2.6.3. Improving the role of DMOs In order for DMOs to become more effective in terms of their Destination Marketing and Destination Management tasks, the need to combine these both functions, i.e. abandon their traditional marketing role and encompass the notion of management in their strategies and actions. More specifically, DMOs need to take into account the needs and interests of all stakeholders associated with the destination they wish to promote (Prebensen, 2007). In order to do so, they need to offer personalized and customized services to meet the requirements and preferences of different stakeholders, while they also need to always have the aim of developing and improving the destination that they are occupied with (Sotiriades & Avgeli, 2007).
  • 35. Page.35 Excessive and effective market research is also required on a regular basis, so that DMOs keep up with changing tourist’s trend and promote their destinations accordingly. Keeping up with advancements in technology is also a critical success factor for DMOs, which can advantage of new media and information technologies to better communicate with their target audiences (Blumberg, 2005). Bornhorst et al. (2010) highlight the need for coordination of the constituents of the tourism sector. 2.6.4. DMO’s in Greece and Athens The Greek National Tourism Organization (G.N.T.O.) is the central and official governmental DMO occupied with Destination Marketing and Management in Greece. The organization is mainly financed by the Greek government, both directly and through hotel taxation, while local authorities also finance E.O.T. for the expenses regarding their region. Other sources of financing include registration fees paid by members of the tourism industry in Greece, as well as revenues from advertising campaigns developed by tourism corporations (Christou et al., 2008). Except for G.N.T.O, other important Greek DMOs that operate in Athens are Athens Convention Bauru (ACB), Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (ADDMA), and Athens Hoteliers Union - Attica (EXAA). Image Source: Results from Google search with keyword - “DMO’s in Greece and Athens”
  • 36. Page.36 CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 3.1 Introduction As it is indicated in the title, this chapter includes the research methodology of the dissertation. In more details, in this part the author outlines the research strategy, the research method, the research approach, the methods of data collection, the selection of the sample, the research process, the type of data analysis, the ethical considerations and the research limitations of the project. 3.2 Research strategy The research held with respect to this dissertation was an applied one, but not new. Rather, numerous pieces of previous academic research exist regarding the role of DMOs in promoting and managing tourist destinations, not only for Athens in specific, but also for other tourist destinations in Greece and other places of the world. As such, the proposed research took the form of a new research but on an existing research subject. 3.3 Research method – Qualitative versus Quantitative techniques In order to satisfy the objectives of the dissertation, a qualitative research was held. The main characteristic of qualitative research is that it is mostly appropriate for small samples, while its outcomes are not measurable and quantifiable (see table 3.1). Its basic advantage, which also constitutes its basic difference with quantitative research, is that it offers a complete description and analysis of a research subject, without limiting the scope of the research and the nature of participant’s responses (Collis & Hussey, 2003).
  • 37. Page.37 However, the effectiveness of qualitative research is heavily based on the skills and abilities of researchers, while the outcomes may not be perceived as reliable, because they mostly come from researcher’s personal judgments and interpretations. Because it is more appropriate for small samples, it is also risky for the results of qualitative research to be perceived as reflecting the opinions of a wider population (Bell, 2005). Qualitative research Quantitative Research The aim is a complete, detailed description. The aim is to classify features, count them, and construct statistical models in an attempt to explain what is observed. Researcher may only know roughly in advance what he/she is looking for. Researcher knows clearly in advance what he/she is looking for. Recommended during earlier phases of research projects. Recommended during latter phases of research projects. The design emerges as the study unfolds. All aspects of the study are carefully designed before data is collected. Researcher is the data gathering instrument. Researcher uses tools, such as questionnaires or equipment to collect numerical data. Data is in the form of words, pictures or objects. Data is in the form of numbers and statistics. Subjective – individuals interpretation of events is important ,e.g., uses participant observation, in-depth interviews etc. Objective: seeks precise measurement & analysis of target concepts, e.g., uses surveys, questionnaires etc. Qualitative data is more 'rich', time consuming, and less able to be generalized. Quantitative data is more efficient, able to test hypotheses, but may miss contextual detail. Researcher tends to become subjectively immersed in the subject matter. Researcher tends to remain objectively separated from the subject matter. Adapted from: Miles & Huberman (1994, p. 40). Qualitative Data Analysis, available at http://wilderdom.com/research/QualitativeVersusQuantitativeResearch.html Table 3.1: Features of Qualitative & Quantitative Research
  • 38. Page.38 3.4 Research approach The research approach that was followed for the purposes of this research was the inductive one. According to this approach, researchers begin with specific observation, which are used to produce generalized theories and conclusions drawn from the research. The reasons for occupying the inductive approach was that it takes into account the context where research effort is active, while it is also most appropriate for small samples that produce qualitative data. However, the main weakness of the inductive approach is that it produces generalized theories and conclusions based only on a small number of observations, thereby the reliability of research results being under question (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005). 3.5 Data collection method and tools For the purposes of this research, in depth interviews were used. In depth interviews are personal and unstructured interviews, whose aim is to identify participant’s emotions, feelings, and opinions regarding a particular research subject. The main advantage of personal interviews is that they involve personal and direct contact between interviewers and interviewees, as well as eliminate non-response rates, but interviewers need to have developed the necessary skills to successfully carry an interview (Fisher, 2005, Wilson, 2003). What is more, unstructured interviews offer flexibility in terms of the flow of the interview, thereby leaving room for the generation of conclusions that were not initially meant to be derived regarding a research subject. However, there is the risk that the interview may deviate from the pre- specified research aims and objectives (Gill & Johnson, 2002). As far as data collection tools were concerned, the conduction of the research involved the use of semi-structured questionnaire, which was used as an interview guide for the researcher. Some certain questions were prepared, so as for the researcher to guide the interview towards the satisfaction of research objectives, but additional questions were made encountered during the interviews.
  • 39. Page.39 Some sample questions that were included in the semi-structured questionnaire were the following: Question 1: What do you think about the popularity of Greece as a tourist destination? Question 2: What do you think about the popularity of Athens as a tourist destination? Question 3: What have you done as an organization to promote Athens as a Tourist destination? Were your activities efficient? (Please discuss) Question 4: Do you think that Athens can become a more popular destination in the near future? How it can enhance its brand name as a tourist destination? Question 5: What are the main problems and Challenges of Athens as a Tourist destination? What are the key advantages? What are these problems causing? Are they affecting their activities for promoting Athens as a destination? Question 6: What activities your organization applies for addressing the problems that Athens faces as a tourist destination? Question 7: In your view, which are the improvements that your organization should made in order to increase its efficiency and for promoting tourism more effectively? Question 8: What do you think about the role of Greek DMOs in promoting the tourism in Greece? Do you have any recommendation for improvement? Question 9: Do you have experience of DMOs in other countries? How they operate? What can we learn from them? Question 10: How do you manage the tourist product of Athens, except for marketing? Do you pay attention to sustainable tourism issues? How do the city and residents of Athens benefit from your management practices? Question 11: Marketing and Destination Marketing can help Athens and Greece to develop their touristic offer more efficiently? With what actions and programs? (A detailed form of the interview guide is presented in Appendixes A)
  • 40. Page.40 3.6 Sample selection The method of purposive sampling was used to develop the sample of the research under discussion. According to this method, which belongs to the category of non-probability sampling techniques, sample members are selected on the basis of their knowledge, relationships and expertise regarding a research subject (Freedman et al., 2007). In the current study, the sample members who were selected had special relationship with the phenomenon under investigation, sufficient and relevant work experience in the field of tourism, active involvement in several tourism initiatives and partnerships, as well as proven research background and understanding of raw data concerning destinations. Within this context, the participants of this study were executives of 6 famous DMOs operating both generally in Greece and specifically in Athens, namely: 1) Greek National Tourism Organization (G.N.T.O) 2) City of Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) 3) Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (ADDMA) 4) Athens Hotel Association - Attica (EXAA) 5) Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) 6) Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) 3.7 Research process Meetings were held during April and June of 2014 with the executives of the DMOs mentioned above, so as to gain acceptance of their participation in the research. More specifically, the researcher came in touch with and asked them to participate in the research after explaining the nature and the scope of the study. In general terms the respondents were willing to participate in the research and the interviews were conducted between May and June of 2014. The discussions took place at the offices of the executives and lasted approximately 20 to 25 minutes. During the interviews were mainly kept notes, in order to help the researcher to analyze the gathered data.
  • 41. Page.41 During the conduction of the interview, respondents were free to express their views even in topics which were not included in the discussed areas which were mentioned in paragraph 3.5. Finally, it should be noted that the conversations flowed smoothly and pleasantly. 3.8. Data analysis Content analysis was used to analyze the data which was gathered from personal interviews. According to Moore & McCabe (2005), this is the type of research whereby data gathered is categorized in themes and sub-themes, so as to be able to be comparable. A main advantage of content analysis is that it helps in data collected being reduced and simplified, while at the same time producing results that may then measured using quantitative techniques. Moreover, content analysis gives the ability to researchers to structure the qualitative data collected in a way that satisfies the accomplishment of research objectives. However, human error is highly involved in content analysis, since there is the risk for researchers to misinterpret the data gathered, thereby generating false and unreliable conclusions (Krippendorff & Bock, 2008). 3.9 Ethical considerations The current study was subject to certain ethical issues. As it was mentioned earlier, all participants reported their written acceptance regarding their participation in the research, through a signed Consent and Briefing Letter. At the same time, sample members were asked to sign a Debriefing and Withdrawal Letter. The aim of both letters was to reassure participants that their participation in the research is voluntary and that they were free to withdraw from it at any point and for any reason.
  • 42. Page.42 Next to this, participants were fully informed regarding the objectives of the study, while they were reassured that their answers were treated as confidential and used only for academic purposes and only for the purposes of the particular research. Except from the above, participants were not harmed or abused, both physically and psychologically, during the conduction of the research. In contrast, the researcher attempted to create and maintain a climate of comfort. 3.10 Research Limitations As it is for every study, this dissertation had the following limitations:  The size of the sample was relatively small - 6 participants. A bigger sample would probably enhance the reliability of the research  Qualitative research is not allowing the measurement of the examined problems  The analysis of the role of the DMOs in the promotion of Athens as a tourist destination may be influenced by factors which were not mentioned in this project  In some cases participants may refused to speak against their organizations
  • 43. Page.43 CHAPTER 4: ANALYSIS OF FINDINGS 4.1 Introduction This chapter contains the analysis of findings. More specifically, in this chapter the author presents the profile of the participants, the characteristics of Athens as a tourist destination, the activities performed by the DMOs for promoting Athens as a tourist destination, the future plans of the DMOs for promoting Athens, the main problems of the destination of Athens and the role of the DMOs for addressing these problems and finally, the relationships of Greek DMOs with other stakeholders of the tourism industry. In the end of the chapter there is a table which summarizes the key findings of the analysis. 4.2 Profile of the interviewees Table 4.1 illustrates the age of the participants. As it is presented below, one executive was aged between 25 and 30 years old, 3 were 31-40 years old and two were 41-55 years old. Table 4.1: Age range of the participant Age group Number of respondents Percentage (%) 25 – 30 1 17 31 – 40 3 50 41 – 55 2 33 Total number of respondents 6 100
  • 44. Page.44 Moreover, it should be noted that:  Four of the participants were males and two were females  Three participants had a bachelor degree and three had obtained also a Master Degree  Three of the participants had more than 10 years of working experience in the tourism industry. Finally, it should be noted that responses were not indicated differences according to the gender, the education level and the years of working experience of the participants. 4.3 The characteristics of Athens as a tourist destination First of all, respondents said that Greece in general terms is a popular destination in the global tourism market with many growth prospects. Regarding the nationalities of the tourists who visit Greece, the managers said that the majority of the visitors are Germans, followed by Englishmen, French, Russians, etc. Generally, the tourists who are visiting Greece are coming from several countries revealing the international identity of the country’s destinations. However, visitors from Europe are by far the majority. The main reasons which lead tourist in visiting Greece are the natural beauty, the clean seas, the sunlight and the historical monuments and archaeological sites of the country. However, the majority of the respondents stated that Greece is positioned in the tourism markets as a summer destination where tourist can relax in the beaches, and not as a destination which can offer to visitors cultural experiences. Only in the last years, DMOs are trying to change the position of Greece to a destination which can offer high level cultural tourism. Lastly, participants mentioned that Greece for the moment has limited congress tourism initiatives. Nevertheless, in the future there is room for growth in the certain field which requires the essential contribution of the DMOs.
  • 45. Page.45 The following statements are representative: “Yes I think Greece has become a popular destination. We have a long way to go for establishing Greece as a top destination in the global market but I think that we are in the right on track!”…”Regarding the nationalities of the tourist that you asked me before, we have a lot of tourist from Germany, UK, France, Italy, and from other countries as well. The majority of them are coming from Europe but now we are also expanding in other markets” (interviewee 2). And interviewee 4 added: “Listen Greece is marketed as place that the tourist can come and relax, enjoy the sea, the sun, etc. I want to say that we are not promoting efficiently the history and the culture of the country. We are positioned as a summer destination and to be deadly honest with you DMOs have increased share of responsibility for this situation. We must reveal the other advantages of Greece which are related with the history and the culture –modern and ancient- of the country. For example, the majority of the tourists who are going to the islands are not visiting the museums because they have limited information about them. Anyway, for the moment I think the core touristic product of the country has to do with the sea and the sun…” Regarding Athens, the managers agreed that after the appearance of the financial crisis the capital of Greece as a tourism destination experienced a continuous decline in the tourist demand. The decrease stopped in 2012 and in 2013 and 2014 the tourist arrivals started again to increase. 2014 seems to be a year with many prospects but still it is not able to cover the loss of the previous years. According to the executives of the DMOs, the average stay per guest in Athens is approximately 2 nights, whereas the occupancy of the Hotels in Athens in 2013 was close to 50 % illustrating an increase of 5 % compared with 2012 but a decline of 25 % compared with 2008.
  • 46. Page.46 The average price of hotel rooms in Athens in 2013 was approximately 70 Euros and the revenue per available room 45 Euros. Both these two indexes presented serious decline from 2008 indicating that the recession impacted seriously the revenues from tourism in Athens. Nevertheless, it was stated that Athens as a destination started to recover and has the potential to bring enough income in the future: “Oh Yes! The crisis influenced intensively our business. The crisis started in 2008. After 2008 the occupancy in the hotels, the arrivals of tourists, the revenues from the rooms started to decline. We lost a lot of income due to recession. It was a very difficult period, it still is but after 2012 the touristic market of Athens started to grow. I hope that in the near future Athens will boost its brand image and we will cover the losses from the previous years. The crisis is still here but now we have a more stable environment than 2010 or 2011. Anyway, tourism may help us to recover from the crisis as well” (interviewee 1) Respondents also said that Athens in most of the cases is used by tourists as a stopover in their way for the islands. Therefore, visitors spend one or two nights in Athens and then they continue their trip to the Greek islands. The main activity from tourists in Athens is a visit to the Acropolis and the Parthenon, as well as in the Acropolis museum. Other popular activities of tourist in Athens are a walk in the city center, shopping, and a visit in the national archeological museum. It is indicative that the vast majority of the tourists are not visiting any theater, cinema, cultural exhibition, music show etc. neither go to the beaches which are close to the city. The managers who participated in the study said that most of the tourists are not informed regarding the events which are running in the city. Three of the participants denoted that the main reason that dissuades visitors from participating in local cultural events such as theaters, music concerts, etc, is the language. Most of these events are in the Greek language which is not understandable by tourists.
  • 47. Page.47 Finally, the discussions revealed that the local stakeholders of tourism are not promoting efficiently the activities that the tourists can enjoy, therefore their participation in other actions is limited. “Athens is a strange story. Most of the tourists come to Athens for one or two nights and then they go the Greek Islands. I want to say that they are not staying in Athens. They just pass by and this is a serious problem for our business. We must develop a touristic offer which will keep the visitor in Athens for more than 5 days” (interviewee 6) And interviewee 5 added: “Most of the visitors go to the Acropolis, and to the Acropolis museum. Then they will visit the center of the city for shopping, drink a coffee etc. But I think one of the major problems which make tourists not to go to theaters, local music concerts, cultural exhibitions is the language. In London tourist can go to the theater and understand the performance because English is an international language. Greek is not, hence we exclude tourists from participating in numerous cultural activities. On the other hand, it is true that the local actors are not promoting efficiently alternative activities for tourists. We need to work on these issues…”
  • 48. Page.48 4.4 DMOs activities for promoting Athens as a destination The DMOs have performed several activities in a regular basis for promoting Athens as a tourist destination. The most active DMO is the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) which is responsible for promoting the tourism in Greece exploiting the full potential of the country. Other DMOs which also play a crucial role in the promotion of Athens are the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency, and the Athens Hotel Association - Attica (EXAA), The main activities which were performed by DMOs for promoting Athens as a tourist destinations are: 1) promotion through publications and audiovisual media, 2) participation of DMOs in international tourism fairs, 3) creation of audiovisual productions with the title “You in Athens”, 4) creation of network synergies with airline companies, and DMOs from other countries, 5) joint promotion activities with Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air - which are Greek airline companies, 6) online promotion activities and creation of online portals which promote the touristic activities in Athens, 7) development of a membership program for firms which are operating in the tourism sector in Athens, 8) creation of promotional products such as umbrellas, bags, blocks, postcards and other souvenirs, and 9) conduction of market research studies for evaluating the current activities and designing future actions. First of all, DMOs publish touristic material such as tourist guides for Athens, thematic brochures, maps, special editions (albums, anniversary editions, series posters, etc.). The majority of the published material includes high- quality photographs, and translations from texts of famous Greek authors. Additionally, the participants said that their organization also use audiovisual material such as videos, visualized presentations and documentaries for promoting the destination of Athens.
  • 49. Page.49 It is interesting to note that DMOs such as the Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) have produced printed promotional material for Athens as a destination City Break, thematic forms (Sightseeing, 1-2-3 days in Athens, lifestyle, Blue and Daytrips), visitor guides and maps, which have been distributed to more than 150,000 tourists. In the same spirit a video with the title “You in Athens” was created by the GNTO which contained the experiences of tourists who had already visited Athens. The aim of the video was to attract more visitors to the city. For example interviewee 1 said: “We made a lot of things for promoting Athens. Firstly, we are trying every year to publish high quality tourist guides and maps that will help visitors to navigate Athens. Second we made the video “You in Athens “. The concept was to produce a video with the experiences of tourist who had already visited Athens. We focused in Athens because we believe that it can become a popular tourist destination. We don’t want tourists consider Athens as a stopover on their way to the islands, but as a unique tourist destination” And interviewee 3 stated: “We focus exclusively in Athens and for that reason we create a promotional material which position Athens as the ideal destination for a City break. We also produced visitor guides which are adjusted to the length of stay of the tourists. For example, we have propositions for visitors who are planning to stay one day, two days or three days respectively. I want also to say that it was a great success for our organization that we managed to distribute our promotion material in more than 150,000 tourists, and the feedback that we received was quite encouraging”
  • 50. Page.50 Moreover, several DMOs are participating in international tourism exhibitions for promoting Athens. The most representative of these fairs are the ITB, the World Travel Market (WTM), the IMEX and EIVTM. DMOs are also participating in hold meetings with hosted buyers and trade visitors and distribute large volumes of information material for Athens and its touristic services. In these exhibitions, the managers of the DMOs have the opportunity to meet organizers of conferences and events, incentive travel organizers, representatives of international agencies and organizations, journalists and representatives of specialized media, members of international organizations and networks market, etc. Besides, DMOs have establish international collaborations with airline companies, the World Tourism Organization, (UNWTO), the International Destination Marketing Association, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) the World Youth & Student Travel Confederation, cultural organizations, museums and institutions in the field of communication for promoting Athens in the global tourist market. Finally, the executives who are working in three DMOs stated that their organizations conduct market studies for measuring the satisfaction of the tourists who have visited Athens, as well as investigate the trends in the international tourist market. It should be noted that these studies demand the cooperation of Universities with other research institutes: “One of our major tasks for promoting Athens is the partnerships with other International Organizations such as the UNWTO, the International Destination Marketing Association the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), etc. As every market, the tourism market has also its lobbies. You must develop relationships with all these institutions for promoting successfully a destination. In these organizations there are people who formulate the trends in the global tourism market and we are trying to have an intimate contact with them” (interviewee 4)
  • 51. Page.51 Regarding the market segments, most DMOs were focusing in the markets of Germany, UK, France, Holland, Italy, USA, Russia, Balkans and Israel. In the last year some DMOs also attempted to approach tourists from China, India and South Asia and this effort is expected to expand in the near future. In terms of the type of tourism, the respondents claimed that for the moment DMOs focus in seaside leisure tourism and convention tourism. There is not a coordinated effort for the promotion of other types of tourism and for that reason, few of the managers stated that this should be the plan for the future (see next paragraph). “To be honest with you, for the moment we focus only in seaside leisure tourism and congress tourism in Athens. We must develop our offering and include other forms of tourism because Athens provides several opportunities. For example, we can develop health tourism or cultural tourism activities”. (Interviewee 2) 4.5 DMO future plans for promoting the destination of Athens The discussions also revealed that the DMOs have several plans for enhancing the destination of Athens in the future. As it was mentioned by two participants, the aim of the DMOs is to establish Athens as one of the top European destinations. First of all, the participant who was working in the GNTO said that the communication strategy for Athens in the next years will be based in five modules which represent the key sectors of the Greek Tourism. These sectors are: 1) cultural tourism, 2) health tourism, 3) luxury tourism, 4) city break tourism, and 5) convention tourism. It is indicative that the mission of the DMOs is to enhance the tourism in the main cities of Greece and especially in Athens. The reason is that Athens is a modern city with unique cultural interest which can contribute substantially in the increase of the tourist revenues.
  • 52. Page.52 For example, interviewee 3 stated: “I think Athens can become a great destination in the future. I will be very happy if Athens will compete on an equal footing London, Paris and all the other top European destination. Athens had the potential, why not? I mean a tourist in Athens can see the Acropolis and the Parthenon, the great museums of the city and also go to the beach, enjoy the good weather etc. But our main target is to increase the residence time of the tourists in the city. Anyway, I want to say that we are starting to focus in the boost of the city- tourism and especially in the tourism in Athens!” In agreement interviewee 6 said: “We will focus in Athens in the future and the main reason is that the city can increase importantly the profitability of the tourism income” Other activities which were mentioned by respondents for enhancing the brand name of Athens and for promoting the five types of tourism mentioned before were: 1) development of a communication campaign which will focus in the maximization of the marketing effectiveness, 2) continue to cooperate with tour operators, travel agents, foreign DMOs, or offices of Greek DMOs in foreign countries, 3) development of a core communication strategy for the city which will also contain advertising campaigns in the foreign media, 4) increased participation in international tourism fairs, 5) sponsorships in selected events in Greece and abroad, 6) opening in new markets and 7) promotion of domestic tourism.
  • 53. Page.53 It should be mentioned that the participants emphasized intensively in the importance of the opening in new markets. More specifically, the majority of the managers stated that the DMOs in the future should promote Athens in the tourist markets of China, Russia, Turkey and USA. In the same length, two respondents claimed that Brazil and India are also two key markets in which Greece should obvert. The main argument was that in these countries the global economic changes have created social classes that are particularly wealthy. The members of these classes have started to travel in other countries for relaxation constituting very important tourist markets. Therefore, the Greek DMOs should focus in these new markets for enchasing the brand image of Athens. For example interviewee 5 stated: “You know, the world is always changing and offers new opportunities for tourism development. In this perspective, we must focus in new markets. We always need to search for new markets but know we have numerous opportunities. I mean that in the future we will target tourists from Russia and China. These countries are huge tourist markets for us. Most of the tourists who are coming from these countries want to visit Athens because is a symbol for the Western civilization. So, there is room for future growth…” Concurring, interviewee 4 said: “Apart from Germany, UK and the other European markets, we must promote Athens in China, Turkey, Russia and USA. India is also a good opportunity and Brazil as well! Anyway, we plan to promote Athens in China and Russia in the next three years and I have a feeling that these campaigns will be very successful.”
  • 54. Page.54 4.6 Main Problems of Athens and the role of DMOs The interviews with the executives of DMOs also indicated that Athens faces numerous problems which hinder its tourism development. To begin with, participants stated that the economic recession caused several problems to tourism enterprises which influenced negatively the competitiveness of Athens as a tourist destination. Firstly, tourism companies such as hotels, tour operators, restaurants, coffee shops, etc have to face a very high taxation. High taxes affect their profitability and their intention to invest in the improvement of their services. The Greek government after the appearance of the crisis in 2008 imposed strict taxation for increasing public revenues. This new taxation in many cases had a negative impact on businesses. Furthermore, the Value Added Tax (VAT) in Greece is relatively high (23 %) and this makes Athens an expensive destination. The VAT increases the prices in several other supplementary services of the tourism industry. Likewise, respondents said that one other critical problem was that after 2008 the economic and political environment in Greece was unstable deterring tourists from coming to Athens. After 2013 the situation seems to stabilize showing the first signs of recovery for the Greek economy. The statements presented below are representative of the findings mentioned above: “In Greece we don’t have a fair tax system. Before the crisis the tax system was quite unclear and after the crisis it became very strict. As you can understand this is not good for businesses. The strict taxation was quite unfair in most of the cases and impacted the profitability of the companies. The limited profitability results in fewer jobs, less investment capabilities etc. It’s very difficult for firms to operate in the Greek economic environment. We need a more clear and fair tax systems without severe penalties - especially for minor offenses” (interviewee 5)
  • 55. Page.55 And interviewee 6 added: “…now the VAT is 23 %. Can you imagine what we are talking about, 23 %! It is very high. You cannot be competitive with a VAT of 23 %. The VAT increases all the prices of all the products and services which are offered to a destination. Especially, in this period that most of the tourists are trying to minimize travel costs we cannot have so high VAT. After the crisis the government implemented very strict austerity measures for increasing its revenues. These measures were a disaster for most of the firms. The worst thing is that these measures formulated an unstable and chaotic business environment. In some cases I think that we are heroes that we managed to survive from the crisis!” One other problem which was mentioned by the executives of DMOs was seasonality. The vast majority of the tourists visit Athens between June and September. Athens as a destination is capable to attract visitors during the whole year and DMOs should work towards this direction. The limited seasonality affects the amount of the tourism revenues: “We work mainly for three or four months. I mean from June till September or October in the best case. So, seasonality is a problem. We should develop strategies for attracting visitors for twelve months, such as London. This will bring also huge increase in our profits”. (Interviewee 2) The interviewees also said that Athens has also infrastructure problems. For increasing the amount of tourists the city needs more high quality hotels as well as an improvement in the public transportations inside the city. In addition, the respondents said that the coastal front of the city should be connected more easily with the city center allowing visitors to be transported from Acropolis to the beach and conversely.
  • 56. Page.56 Besides, the beachfront of the city is untapped since there is not an area for the visitors to walk, have a coffee, relax, eat something etc. In other words, the executives stated that the seafront is detached from the city: “For increasing the tourist demand in Athens we should connect and I mean connect efficiently the city center with the seafront. A good example is Barcelona which achieved to connect the beach with the city center. In Athens the beach is unexploited. We have many kilometers of coastline and there is not an area that visitors can have a walk, take a coffee, rent a bike, etc. From 2004 we are listening plans for the development of the seafront of the city and nothing has been done. I think that the tourists in Athens are not going to the seafront. If the city manages to promote and highlight its seafront, it will gain an important competitive advantage” (interviewee 4) Finally, respondents stated that Athens should become more clean and organized as well as complete the major projects of the construction of the new Lyrical Stage, the redevelopment of the city center and the construction of the metropolitan park at the area of old airport. DMOs have developed several recommendations for addressing the problems which hinder the development of Athens as a tourist destination. It is interesting to note that DMOs differ in the ways of perceiving and addressing these problems. For example, GNTO which is a public organization focuses in the development of central government policies in which private enterprises should be incorporated. In contrast, DMOs such as the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) and the Athens Hotels Association (AHA) which are private legal entities - demand state intervention for constructing infrastructure projects and for facilitating the development of entrepreneurship in the city of Athens.
  • 57. Page.57 For example, managers who were working in SETE and in AHA submitted proposals to several public bodies for changing the business environment in Greece. These proposals included: 1) changes in the income tax, 2) reductions in VAT and other tax reforms which will enhance entrepreneurship, 3) the construction of peripheral airports, 4) the opening of the retail stores on Sundays, especially in the touristic periods, 5) establishment and functioning of University departments such as the Department of Economics and Tourism Administration, and 6) arrangements of the debts of tourism enterprises to pension funds. The following statement by interviewee 3 is representative: “In 2013 we made plenty suggestions and proposals to the government for addressing the problems that we discussed before. Our suggestions covered a wide range of activities such as the changes in tax policy, the reduction of the VAT, the construction of peripheral airports which will decrease travel costs for tourist who want to visit Athens and the establishment of Schools such as the Department of Economics and Tourism Administration. These are very important issues for our business. Apart from the taxes I want to say that we need peripheral airports because the current airport of Athens is very expensive. An expensive airport means that travelers will pay more for visiting Athens. Besides, we are a touristic country and we don’t have a University School of Tourism. This does not happen anywhere else! All the other western countries have University departments which support tourism” In general terms, the participants said that the relationships and the collaboration between public and private DMOs are good. However, in the period of crisis, private DMOs have ever - increasing demands to ensure the sustainability of the tourism businesses and promote Athens as a destination.
  • 58. Page.58 4.7 Relationships with other DMOs Most of the DMOs which participated in the study have established partnerships with DMOs and other tourism institutions in foreign countries. These partnerships help Greek DMOs to be updated concerning the trends of the global tourism market as well as to enhance the movement of tourists between cooperating countries. Participants also said that DMOs from European countries and USA have developed an advanced know-how in destination marketing which in some cases can be adopted from Greek DMOs. For example, DMOs in France for attracting visitors in the country’s destinations organize cultural and sport festivals which have international identity. During the discussions it was stated that these events are very efficient in increasing the arrivals of tourists in a certain destination calling the executives of the Greek DMOs to move towards this tactic: “Yes we have partnerships with other DMOs in foreign countries and especially with organizations in Europe and USA. We have to learn a lot of things from them. Don’t forget that countries such as France, UK, Italy etc. have a long tradition in tourism and have developed more sophisticated marketing strategies. We have some way to go to reach them. France, for example organizes several cultural and sport events which attract visitors from all over the world. It not easy to organize and promote these kind of festivals but we should start thinking that these events can bring many tourists in Athens”. (interviewee 1)
  • 59. Page.59 The managers of the DMOs also said that destination marketing can improve substantially the image of Athens as a tourist destination. However, an essential requirement is the better coordination and collaboration between the DMOs. DMOs should collaborate more efficiently not only between them but also with the public bodies. In other words, the respondents denoted that the promotion of Athens requires concerted effort between public and private actors which are involved in the tourism industry. The benefits will be multiplied for businesses, the state and the society in general. Image Source: “ Cad. EBAPE.BR vol.8 no.4”, Rio de Janeiro Dec. 2010 http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1679-39512010000400003
  • 60. Page.60 4.8 A summary of findings Table 4.2 summarizes the findings coming from the depth interviews. The author chose to use a table because:  It helps to present the results more effectively  Categorizes the findings according to the aims of the dissertation  The reader can make comparisons with the results of other academic studies Table 4.2: Summary of Findings Objective Findings Insights and new trends of high informational value about the Tourism Industry in Athens. Greece in general terms is a popular destination in the global tourism market with many growth prospects The tourists who are visiting Greece are coming from several countries revealing the international identity of the country’s destinations The main reasons which lead tourist in visiting Greece are the natural beauty, the clean seas, the sunlight and the historical monuments and archaeological sites of the country After the appearance of the financial crisis in 2008 the capital of Greece as a tourism destination experienced a continuous decline in the tourist demand. As it was expected, this decline impacted negatively tourism revenues. The decrease stopped in 2012 and in 2013 and 2014 the tourist arrivals started to increase The average stay per guest in Athens is approximately 2 nights, whereas the occupancy of the Hotels in Athens in 2013 was close to 50 %. The average price of hotel rooms in Athens in 2013 was approximately 70 Euros and the revenue per available room 45 Euros. The main activities of tourists in Athens are visits to the Acropolis and the Parthenon as well as in the Acropolis museum. The vast majority of the tourists are not visiting any theater, cinema, cultural exhibition, music show etc. neither go to the beaches which are close to the city.
  • 61. Page.61 Most of the tourists are not informed regarding the events – cultural, athletic, etc. - which are running in the city. Athens in most of the cases is used by tourists as a stopover in their way for the islands Activities which were performed by DMOs for promoting Athens as a tourist destination The main activities which were performed by DMOs for promoting Athens as a tourist destinations are: I. promotion through publications and audiovisual media II. participation of DMOs in international tourism fairs III. creation of audiovisual productions with the title “You in Athens” IV. creation of network synergies with airline companies, and DMOs from other countries V. joint promotion activities with Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air -which are Greek airline companies VI. online promotion activities and creation of online portals which promote the tourist activities in Athens VII. development of a membership program for firms which are operating in the tourism sector in Athens VIII. creation of promotional products such as umbrellas, bags, blocks, postcards and other souvenirs IX. Conduction of market research studies for evaluating the current activities and designing future actions. Most DMOs are focusing in the markets of Germany, UK, France, Holland, Italy, USA, Russia, Balkans and Israel For the moment DMOs focus in seaside leisure tourism and convention tourism. There is not a coordinated effort for the promotion of other types of tourism Planned Actions of the DMOs for the future The mission of the DMOs in the next three years is to enhance the tourism in the main cities of Greece and especially in Athens The communication strategy for Athens in the next years will be based in five modules which represent the key sectors of the Greek Tourism. These sectors are: 1) cultural tourism, 2) health tourism, 3) luxury tourism, 4) city break tourism, and 5) convention tourism
  • 62. Page.62 Other planned activities for promoting the destination of Athens include: I. development of a communication campaign which will focus in the maximization of the marketing effectiveness II. continue to cooperate with tour operators, travel agents, foreign DMOs, or offices of Greek DMOs in foreign countries III. development of a core communication strategy for the city which will also contain advertising campaigns in the foreign media IV. increased participation in international tourism fairs V. sponsorships in selected events in Greece and abroad VI. opening in new markets VII. promotion of domestic tourism DMOs in the future are planning to target the tourist markets of China, Russia, Turkey and USA. Brazil and India are also emerging markets Problems that hinder the development of Athens as a Tourism destination Tourism companies –hotels, tour operators, restaurants, coffee shops, etc – have to face a very high taxation. The Value Added Tax (VAT) in Greece is relatively high After 2008 the economic and political environment in Greece was unstable deterring tourists from coming to Athens Seasonality: The vast majority of the tourists visit Athens between June and September. Athens as a destination can attract visitors during the whole year and DMOs should work towards this direction. Infrastructure problems: The city needs more high quality hotels as well as an improvement in the public transportations inside the city The coastal front of the city should be connected more easily with the city center allowing visitors to be transported from Acropolis to the beach and conversely. The beachfront of the city is untapped since there is not an area for the visitors to walk, have a coffee, relax, eat something etc.
  • 63. Page.63 Athens should become more clean and organized as well as complete the major projects of the construction of the new Lyrical Stage, the redevelopment of the city center supervised by the Onassis Foundation and the construction of the metropolitan park at the area of the old airport. The strategic role of the DMOs In general terms, the relationships and the collaboration between public and private DMOs are good. However, they differ in the ways of perceiving and addressing the problems of tourism. Most of the DMOs which participated in the study have established partnerships with DMOs and other tourism institutions in foreign countries. These partnerships help Greek DMOs to be updated concerning the trends of the global tourism market as well as to enhance the movement of tourists between cooperating countries Participants also said that DMOs from European countries and USA have developed an advanced know-how in destination marketing which in some cases can be adopted from Greek DMOs. The promotion of Athens requires concerted effort between public and private actors which are involved in the tourism industry. Suggestions for improvement proposed by the DMOs I. changes in the income tax, II. reductions in VAT and other tax reforms which will enhance entrepreneurship, III. construction of peripheral airports IV. the opening of the retail stores on Sundays, especially in the tourist periods V. Establishment and functioning of University departments such as the Department of Economics and Tourism Administration VI. Arrangements of the debts of tourism enterprises to pension funds
  • 64. Page.64 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS 5.1 Conclusions The aim of this dissertation, was to evaluate the contribution of Athens DMO’s towards the rising popularity of the city of Athens as an international destination within the context of Destination Marketing. More specifically, the dissertation had the following objectives: 1. To identify the activities which are performed by DMOs for promoting Athens and to evaluate the strategic role of DMO’s. 2. To identify the importance of destination marketing through its application in the Greek Tourism Industry and the particular case of Athens. 3. To portrait the opinions and activity planning of Greek DMO’s Executives, who are considered to be experts in the tourism field. 4. To provide insights and new trends of high informational value about the Tourism Industry in Athens. 5. To highlight the latest incentives and programming concerning the city’s future developments. 6. To identify the key problems that Athens face as a tourist destination and to recommend points for improvement from the DMOs perspective. First of all, the results of this study indicated that DMOs are playing a crucial role for the promotion of Athens as a tourist destination. More specifically, DMOs key responsibilities include: the promotion of Athens with the use of audiovisual media, development of sophisticated online marketing strategies, creation of high quality published material; participation in international tourism fairs for developing relationships with key stakeholders, development of network synergies with airline companies, and DMOs from other countries, production of promotional products such as umbrellas, bags, blocks, postcards and other souvenirs and conduction of market research studies for evaluating the current activities and designing future actions.
  • 65. Page.65 Athens is a destination with great potential for future growth and for that reason DMOs have design certain plans for the next three years in order to exploit the opportunities which are presented. The future plans of the DMOs give particular emphasis in the opening in new tourist markets and more particularly in the markets of Russia, Turkey China, and USA. Besides, DMOs will focus in five forms of tourism which can be developed successfully in Athens, namely: 1) cultural tourism, 2) health tourism, 3) luxury tourism, 4) city break tourism, and 5) convention tourism. Other future activities planned from the DMOs involve the increased participation in international tourism fairs, and sponsorships in selected events in Greece and abroad. On the other hand, the executives of the DMOs underlined several problems which prevent the tourism development of Athens. The majority of these problems are related with the business environment in Greece which has become less competitive due to the crisis. In more details, the Greek state has imposed strict taxation to increase public revenues. The strict taxation has influenced the operation of tourism enterprises in Athens and for that reason, several DMOs have proposed to the Greek government several tax reforms which will help tourism businesses to increase their competitiveness. Besides, Athens as a destination faces the problems of seasonality, the vast majority of the tourists visit the city between June and September. However, the region has the potential to attract visitors during the whole year and DMOs should work towards this direction. It is indicative that Grzinic and Saftic (2012) and ECOTEC (2010) also underlined the capability of DMOs to reduce seasonality and increase substantially tourist revenues in a destination.
  • 66. Page.66 Other problems which were revealed from the research were the missing infrastructures of Athens. In more details, Athens needs: a) more high quality hotels, b) improvements in the public transportation system, c) a better connection of the city canter with the coastal front of the city, d) redevelopment of the beachfront of the city with the construction of large pedestrian zones, coffee shops, restaurants, etc. e) completion of the projects of the new Lyrical Stage, the redevelopment of the city center supervised by Onassis Foundation and the metropolitan park at the area of the old airport. Finally, one other key recommendation which were mentioned from the executives of the DMOs was the establishment of University departments such as the Department of Economics and Tourism Administration. The functioning of these faculties will help in the overall improvement of the quality of tourism in the country as well as in the instilling of a culture of hospitality in the executives of tourism. DMOs are aware of their strategic role and have established strong and long term relationships with DMOs in foreign countries. These partnerships allow the Greek DMOs to be updated concerning the trends of the global tourism market as well as to enhance the movement of tourists between cooperating countries. In the same length, the collaboration between public and private DMOs in Greece is satisfactory. Nevertheless, the promotion of Athens requires a more concerted effort between the public and the private stakeholders which are involved in the tourism industry. The benefits will be multiplied for businesses, the state and the society in general.
  • 67. Page.67 The results of this study were in agreement with the findings of Grzinic and Saftic (2012), Angela (2010) and Buhalis (2001). More specifically, authors such as Grzinic and Saftic (2012) and Angela (2010) also underlined the vital role of DMOs in promoting a destination and especially in: ensuring adequate related infrastructure, achieve a coordinated offer between the involved stakeholders, decrease seasonality, provide and promote institutional support of tourist development (Grzinic and Saftic, 2012) and strengthen the local economy (Angela 2010). Concurring, Buhalis (2001) claims that DMOs for promoting efficiently a tourist destination should promote collaboration between state and public tourism organizations, target new markets, invest in alternative tourism – such as cultural, city break, health and congress tourism and provide sufficient support, not only financial, to local tourism enterprises. 5.2 Suggestions for further research In relevance with the limitations of the project which were presented in the third chapter, suggestions for further research include the following points: I. Since the sample of the study was limited, future studies can conduct more personal interviews with executives of other DMOs. II. The sample included only managers who were working in DMOs. Other papers can conduct interviews also with tourists, tourism consultants, and tourism entrepreneurs. III. The dissertation was based only in Athens. Future projects can investigate the role of the DMOs in the promotion of other destinations. or/and to compare the role of the DMOs in different destinations. IV. Other papers can also use quantitative research approaches that will allow the measurement of the discussed issues.
  • 68. Page.68 5.3 Personal Reflection To determine the best practices in experiential learning, it is necessary to first define experiential learning. In the words of Lewis and Williams (1994): “In its simplest form, experiential learning means learning from experience or learning by doing. Experiential education first immerses learners in an experience and then encourages reflection about the experience to develop new skills, new attitudes, or new ways of thinking.” The first theories of experiential learning arose in the mid-nineteenth century as attempts to move away from traditional formal education, where teachers simply presented students with abstract concepts, and toward an immersive method of instruction. Students would “learn by doing,” applying knowledge to experience in order to develop skills or new ways of thinking (Lewis & Williams, 1994). Experiential learning is also built upon a foundation of interdisciplinary and constructivist learning. Experiential methodology doesn’t treat each subject as being walled off in its own room, unconnected to any other subjects. Compartmentalized learning doesn’t reflect the real world, while as the experiential classroom works to create an interdisciplinary learning experience that mimics real world learning (Wurdinger, 2005). Similarly “experiential learning is aligned with the constructivist theory of learning” in that the “outcomes of the learning process are varied and often unpredictable” and “learners play a critical role in assessing their own learning” (Wurdinger, 2005). How one student chooses to solve a problem will be different from another student, and what one student takes away from an experience will be different from the others.
  • 69. Page.69 This following part aims at describing the personal thoughts and critical statements that emerged during the composition of this dissertation. The composition of the theoretical framework has thoroughly been developed in connection with the dissertations objective statement. Many scientific articles, relevant literature and previous research on topic have been systematically read and analyzed in order to gain understanding of the research phenomenon. The chosen theories are related to destination management and contribute to a thorough analysis and deeper understanding of different tourism aspects of Athens. The author gained even more understanding by using the theoretical framework when performing interviews with relevant actors. Reflecting on the experiences of this thesis, it is realized that I am reflecting on a journey, my personal journey into the world of destination marketing. Like any journey, some of the most memorable experiences come from side trips that take us out of our comfort zones, changing us forever. Concerning the whole process of the dissertation, it should be noted that in overall was very intriguing and exciting. Generally, I liked learning about the destination marketing disciplinary and the Greek tourism market, as I find this specific subject an ongoing challenge for today’s local marketers in this new era of changes and visitors shifting behaviors. All the information that I read around the topic, was of great value and aligned with today’s tourist “trends” on the scientific field. I liked the independent study as it had more tasks to fulfill & demanded my academic view and critique of things.
  • 70. Page.70 The interviewees represent different fields of the dissertation's topic, though interconnected within the subject of matter. The discussions in form of personal meetings allowed to gain insights into the perspectives of the different actors, hence approaching from a different angle. The communication with the interviewees provided certain information that would have definitely been hard go get from merely examining the respective scientific articles and literature, as it is taken from direct experience. The aim of this dissertation is to evaluate theory and practice in the field of DMO’s. The theoretical framework as well as the information gained from the interviewees were very informative and useful. To allow for some degree participant-led responses but also compensate for my lack of research experience, I decided on semi-structured interviews. After I had revised my questionnaire and skeletal interview script several times, and conducted a couple of practice runs with friends, I was ready to undertake my interviews. The interviews generally went more smoothly as I went along. I probably also relaxed a little more with every interview as I gained more experience and got closer to completing the research. The most demanding and time-consuming requirement of the access arrangement was that of transcribing all interviews. The challenge was to choose which data I would use, and to put it together in a way that was both interesting and engaging, to produce a unique “product”. As I conducted more and more interviews, developed my theoretical structure, and reflected on what I had observed, I became more and more confident in my interpretation of events and behaviors as I understood them.
  • 71. Page.71 In interviewing, I usually found no difficulty in getting people to talk. The issue was rather, moving from the "warming up" phase of the interview to the serious business of the interview, which I expected would provide "good data" as well as "good conversation”. Since all interviews had to be transcribed, the challenge was to keep them short without sacrificing rapport- building conversation. I tried to conduct interviews in an open ended style, to allow the possibility of pursuing areas of inquiry that were significant to the individual. The coordination of interviews became a much more time- consuming and challenging task. Confidentiality had been a serious issue from the time of negotiating access, particularly in the conduct of interviews. My consciousness of the need for confidentiality grew stronger as I conducted more interviews. It became clear to me that people were taking a risk in talking to me, at least in their view. They needed constant reassurance that what they shared with me would remain confidential. At the same time, I had to acknowledge that I had only stepped into their world for a short time, and only to the extent to which they granted me admittance. The conclusions of this dissertation is not generalized universally, as one of the aims is to investigate what factors that characterize Athens travel patterns that occur within local DMO context and framework. While reflecting on the experience of writing a thesis, I came to the realization that I truly enjoyed this process, at least most of it. I am the type of person who loves to learn and always seeks to obtain more knowledge in and out of the classroom. I am especially passionate about learning things that pertain to my major and my future career in the marketing sector.
  • 72. Page.72 I spent many hours doing this project, but through it I learned that, if I set goals, I can achieve anything. As I reflect upon what I learned, that was most valuable, I think it was truly seeing that persistence pays. I learned that I can achieve more than often I think I can, so just push myself. I have not always pushed myself, but, in this instance, I enjoyed the challenge and felt driven to do as well as I could. I learned that when I enjoy what I am doing, it is much easier for me to excel. In overall it was a very interesting “trip” for me, as I gained new colleagues, partners and business friends to share my academic and personal thoughts. The research helped to maintain a study focus and encouraged me to have participation, through questions and answers. Concerning this reflection, I would like to state that Mr. Roumeliotis's feedback and guidance, upon my project was sufficient enough to point out clearly which parts of my dissertation where adequate and which not. I gained an insight which I think made me untwist understanding upon the subject of my thesis. I can now look back and realize that this experience has helped me both as a student and as a young professional. Research and writing skills are not only valued in an academic setting, but also in the marketing sector as well. I now feel much more confident in my writing abilities and research skills. Additionally, working under my Supervising Professor, has given me the opportunity to develop a mentor/mentee relationship with a professional of the travel industry. Overall, I feel that this has been both a valuable and enjoyable experience and I now feel prepared and excited for my upcoming academic and career years.
  • 73. Page.73 6. BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES 6.1. Literary sources  Angella, F. (2008), Destination management and stakeholders' collaboration in urban destinations, available at: http://www.esade.edu/cedit2007/pdfs/papers/pdf18.pdf  Angella, F., Go, F., (2010), Tale of two cities’ collaborative tourism marketing: Towards a theory of destination stakeholder assessment, Tourism Management Vol.30, pp.429–440  Bell, J. (2005), Doing your Research Project, Buckingham, Open University Press.  Blumberg, K. (2005), “Tourism Destination Marketing –A Tool for Destination Management? A Case Study from Nelson/Tasman Region, New Zealand”, Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 10(1): 45-57  Bornhorst, T., Ritchie, B., & Sheehan, L. (2010), “Determinants of tourism success for DMOs & destinations: An empirical examination of stakeholders’ perspectives”, Tourism Management, 31, 572–589  Buhalis D. and Deimezi O., 2004, “E-tourism developments in Greece: Information communication technologies adoption for the strategic management of the Greek tourism industry”, Tourism and Hospitality Research, 5 (2): 103-130.  Buhalis, D. (2001), Tourism in Greece: Strategic Analysis and Challenges, Current Issues in Tourism, Vol. 4, No. 5, pp.440-480  Buhalis, D., & Michopoulou, E. (2011), “Information-enabled tourism destination marketing: addressing the accessibility market”, Current Issues in Tourism, 14(2): 145–168  Chaitip, P., Chaboonsri, C., Kovacs, S., Balogh, P. (2008), A STRUCTURAL EQUATION MODEL: GREECE’STOURISM DEMAND FOR TOURIST DESTINATION, Applied Studies in Agribusiness and Commerce, Vol. 1., pp. 75-83
  • 74. Page.74  Chaitip, P., Chaiboonsri, C., Kovacs, S., & Balogh, P. (2010), “A structural equation model: Greece’s Tourism demand for tourist destination”, APSTRACT, 4(1,2): 75-83  Christou, E., Kassianidis, P., Sigala, M., & Avdimiotis, S. (2008), “Electronic Systems of Destination Marketing and Management”, available at <http://www.ebusinessforum.gr/teams/teamsall/view/index.php?ctn=106&language=el>, accessed on 10-02-2014  Collis, J., & Hussey, R. (2003), Business Research: A practical Guide for Undergraduate and Post graduate Students, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.  Denzin, K., & Lincoln, Y. (2005), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, 3rd edition, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.  Dey, B., & Sarma, M. K. (2010), “Information Source Usage Among Motive-Based Segments of Travellers to Newly Emerging Tourist Destinations”, Tourism Management, 31(3): 341- 344.  Dwyer, L. , Livaic, Z., & Mellor, R. (2003), “Competitiveness of Australia as a tourism destination”, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 10(1): 60-78.  Echtner, C., Ritchie, B. (2003), The Meaning and Measurement of Destination Image, THE JOURNAL OF TOURISM STUDIES Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 37 – 48  ECOTEC Research and Consulting Limited (2010), Destination Marketing and Promotion Economic Impact Methodology Study, Final Report, A report, ECOTEC: London  Fischer, C.T. (2005), Qualitative research methods for psychologists: Introduction through empirical studies, Academic Press.  Freedman, D., Pisani, R., & Purves, R. (2007), Statistics, 4th edition, New York: Norton Publications.
  • 75. Page.75  Giannopoulos, A. A., Piha P. L., Avlonitis, G. J., (2008), “Desti–Nation Branding”: what for? From the notions of tourism and nation branding to an integrated framework, The Berlin International Economics Congress 2011: An International Conference on the Future of Nation Branding, Tourism and International Investments in a Globalized World & Cultural Diplomacy in the Global Economy: Berlin, Germany  Gill, J., & Johnson, P. (2002), Research Methods for Managers, London, Sage Publications.  Gretzel ,U., Fesenmaier , D.R. , Formica ,S. & O’Leary, J.T. (2006), “Searching for the Future: Challenges Faced by Destination Marketing Organizations”, Journal of Travel Research, 45, 116-126.  Grzinic, J., Saftic, D., (2012), Approach to the development of destination management in Croatian tourism, Management Journal of Contemporary Management, Vo. 17, pp. 59-74  Hankinson, Graham (2004). “Relational Network Brands: Towards a Conceptual Model of Place Brands.” Journal of Vacation Marketing, 10 (2): 109–21  Igoumenakis, N. (2000), Tourism and Growth, Athens: Interbooks Publications.  Kogovsek, M., Kogovsek, M. (2013), Innovation in Tourism: The potential for improving the sustainability of tourism Destination, in Contemporary trends in Tourism and Hospitality (2013), A Collection of papers, pp. 87-95  Kotler, P., & Gertner, D. (2002). Country as a Brand, Product, and Beyond: A place Marketing and Brand Management Perspective. Journal of Brand Management, 9(4/5), 249-261  Koutoulas, D., & Zoyganeli, S. (2007), “Analyzing the destination marketing task at the regional level: The case of prefecture promotion committees in Greece”, Paper presented at 1st Biannual International Conference “STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENTS IN SERVICES MARKETING” in September 2007.
  • 76. Page.76  Krippendorff, K., & Bock, M. A. (2008), The Content Analysis Reader, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.  Lopes, S. (2011), Destination image: Origins, Developments and Implications, PASOS. Revista de Turismo y Patrimonio Cultural, Vol. 9, Issue. 2. 2011, pp. 305-315  Malhotra, N., Birks, D. (2003). Marketing research: An applied Approach, 2nd European edition. Harlow: Pearson Education  Manente, M. (2009), Destination management and economic background: defining and monitoring local tourist destination, Enzo Paci Papers on Measuring the Economic Significance of Tourism, Vol. 6, pp. 363 -384  Mazilu M., (2012), Sustainable Tourism of Destination, Imperative Triangle Among: Competitiveness, Effective Management and Proper Financing, Sustainable Development - Policy and Urban Development - Tourism, Life Science, Management and Environment, INTECH, ISBN 978-953-51-0100-0 Available at: http://www.intechopen.com/books/sustainable-development-policy-and- urbandevelopment-tourism-life-science-management-and- environment/sustainable-tourism-of-destinationimperative-triangle- among-competitiveness-effective-management-an  Mistilis, N., & Daniele, R. (2005), “Challenges for Competitive Strategy in Public and Private Sector Partnerships in Electronic National Tourist Destination Marketing Systems”, Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 17(4): 63-73.  Moore, D., & McCabe, G. (2005), Introduction to the practice of statistics, 5th edition, W.H. Freeman & Company Publications.  Mulec, I. (2010), Promotion as a Tool in Sustaining the Destination Marketing Activities, TURIZAM, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp. 13-21  Nezirovic, S. (2013), Tourism, Politics and Regional Development – Guidelines of the Development of Northeastern Bosnia, in Contemporary trends in Tourism and Hospitality (2013), A Collection of papers, pp. 31-37
  • 77. Page.77  Pike, S. (2008), Destination Marketing: An integrated marketing communication approach, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann  Pike, Steven & Scott, Noel (2009) Destination brand equity among the host community : a potential source of comparative advantage for DMOs. Acta Turistica, 21(2), pp. 160-183  Prebensen, N.K. (2007), “Research Paper - Exploring tourists’ images of a distant destination”, Tourism Management, 28, 747-756.  Reid, L.J., Smith, S.L.J., & McCloskey, R. (2008), “The effectiveness of Regional Marketing Alliances: A Case Study of the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership 2000-2006”, Tourism Management, 29, 581-593  Ryglova. L. (2008), Destination Management, Agric. Econ. – Czech, 54, 2008 (9): 440–448  Saunders M., Lewis P. and Thornihill A. (2006), “Research Methods for Business Students” 4th ed,, Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River  SETE (2013), “Greek tourism: Facts and Figures. 2013 Edition”, available at http://sete.gr/_fileuploads/tourism_Facts_Figures/FACTS%20%20FIGURES%202013.pdf>, accessed on 10-02-2014  Sheehan, L., Ritchie, J.R.B., & Hudson, S. (2007), “The Destination Promotion Triad: understanding Asymmetric stakeholder Interdependencies Among the City, Hotels and DMO”, Journal of Travel Research, 46, 64-74.  Sotiriades, M.D., & Avgeli, V.A. (2007), “Promoting tourism destinations: A Strategic Marketing Approach”, Tourism Review, 55(3): 335-345.  Stankovic, M., Filipovic, V., Mulitinovic, V. (2012), Destination Marketing: Analyzes of Event Management Effects on the Reputation, Electronic International Interdisciplinary Conference, September, pp.161-169  Wilson, A. (2003), Marketing Research, an Integrated Approach, Essex: Prentice Hall
  • 78. Page.78  World Tourism Organization, “Survey of Destination Management Organizations Report”, April 2004  Wrenn, B., Stevens, R., Loudon, D. (2007), Marketing research: text and cases, New York: Haworth publications 6.2 Interviews  Planning of Tourism Development at Greek National Tourism Organization  Public Relations at City of Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau  Board Member at Athens Development and Destination Management Agency  Board member at Athens Hotel Association - Attica  General Management at Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry  Board member at Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises
  • 79. Page.79 6.3 Electronic sources  http://www.all-athens-hotels.com/attica/webpage/athens-tourism- entities , accessed on 10-5-2014  http://www.developathens.gr/el , accessed on 12-5-2014  http://www.athensconventionbureau.gr/ , accessed on 14-5-2014  http://www.thisisathens.org/ , accessed on 15-5-2014  http://www.gnto.gov.gr/ , accessed on 15-6-2014  http://www.gnto.gov.gr/el/marketing , accessed on 12-6-2014  http://www.mintour.gr/ , accessed on 9-6-2014  http://www.visitgreece.gr/, accessed on 9-6-2014  http://sete.gr/GR/Archiki/ , accessed on 10-6-2014  http://www.all-athens-hotels.com/attica/webpage/athens-tourism- entities , accessed on 10-6-2014  http://www.statistics.gr/portal/page/portal/ESYE , accessed on 10-7-2014  http://gtp.gr , accessed on 18-7-2014  http://unwto.org , accessed on 18-7-2014  www.iobe.gr , accessed on 22-7-2014  www.marketinggreece.com , accessed on 22-7-2014  http://www.investingreece.gov.gr , accessed on 24-7-2014
  • 80. Page.80 7. APPENDICIES A] Questionnaire M.Sc in Marketing Management Questionnaire Destination Marketing Organizations SPYROS LANGKOS ID: 100285557 Tutor: Mr. George Roumeliotis Athens, March 2014
  • 81. Page.81 Participant Briefing and Consent Letter Dear Participant, I am Spyros Langkos and I am collecting data from you which will be used in my dissertation for: Athens as an international tourism destination. An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s, as part of my MSc in Marketing Management at the University of Derby. The objective of the dissertation research, will be to evaluate the contribution of Athens DMO’s towards the rising popularity of the city of Athens as an international destination within the context of Destination Marketing and the information you will be asked to provide will be used to help to provide insights to achieve this objective. The data you provide will only be used for the dissertation, and will not be disclosed to any third party, except as part of the dissertation findings, or as part of the supervisory or assessment processes of the University of Derby. The data you provide will be kept until the 31st of December 2014, so that it is available for scrutiny by the University of Derby as part of the assessment process. If you feel uncomfortable with any of the questions being asked, you may decline to answer specific questions. You may also withdraw from the study completely, and your answers will not be used. And, if you later decide that you wish to withdraw from the study, please write to me at Spyros Langkos, email: s.langkos@emc.edu.gr no later than the 30th of March 2014 and I will be able to remove your response from my analysis and findings, and destroy your response. The Researcher Spyros Langkos I have read and understood the contents of this consent and briefing form, and freely and voluntarily agree to participate in this research. I am happy to be identified as a participant in the research by my position at work. Signed Date
  • 82. Page.82 Dear respondent, For the purpose of qualitative statistical analysis of the research, please fill the information below ( mark your choice with an X). AGE 25 – 30 31 – 40 41 – 55 GENDER Male Female DEGREE Bachelor Master EXERIENCE 5-10 years >10 years
  • 83. Page.83 Interview Guide – Areas of Discussion Question 1: What do you think about the popularity of Greece as a tourist destination? Question 2: What do you think about the popularity of Athens as a tourist destination? Question 3: What have you done as an organization to promote Athens ? Question 4: Do you think Athens can become more popular destination in the near future? Question 5: What are the main problems & challenges of Athens as a tourist destination? Question 6: What activities does your organization apply for Athens? Question 7: Which improvements, your organization should make to increase efficiency ? Question 8: What do you think about the role of Greek DMOs in promoting tourism ? Question 9: What can we learn of DMOs in other countries? Question 10: Destination Marketing, can help Athens to develop touristic offesr ? Question 11: How do you manage the tourist product of Athens, except for marketing? Do you pay attention to sustainable tourism issues?
  • 84. Page.84 Participant Debriefing and Withdrawal Letter Dear Participant, Thank you for agreeing to participate in my research, your help was much appreciated and I can confirm the following: The information I collected from you will be used in my dissertation, Athens as an international tourism destination. An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMO’s, as part of my MSc in Marketing Management at the University of Derby.  The objective of the dissertation research, will be to evaluate the contribution of Athens DMO’s towards the rising popularity of the city of Athens as an international destination within the context of Destination Marketing and the data you provided will be used to help to provide insights to achieve this objective.  The information you provided will only be used for the dissertation, and will not be disclosed to any third party, except as part of the dissertation findings, or as part of the supervisory or assessment processes of the University of Derby.  The data you provided will be kept until the 31st of December 2014, so that it is available for scrutiny by the University of Derby as part of the assessment process.  If you later decide that you wish to withdraw from the study, please write to me at Spyros Langkos, Mediterranean College: Patision 107 & Pellinis 8 (Bustop Angelopoulos), Tel: +30 210 8899600, Fax: +30 211 7709450 , Email: s.langkos@emc.edu.gr no later than the 30th of March 2014 and I will be able to remove your response from my analysis and findings, and destroy your response. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries relating to this study. The academic staff contact at Mediterranean College is the Postgraduate Programmes Leader, Mrs Ioanna Tsoka who can be reached by phone at 210-8899655 or by email at: itsoka@medcollege.edu.gr. Kind Regards, The researcher 10/02/2014 Spyros Langkos
  • 85. Page.85 B] General Observations Strategic direction, objectives and tasks in the DM perspective Strategic directions Strategic objectives Strategic tasks 1. Enhance the satisfaction of tourists and delight the customer 1.1 Improvement of services a. Standardization of service delivery b. Development of quality control systems c. Consistency of promises d. Improvements in operational management e. Flexibility in services delivery f. Training and education improvements g. Smile and personal relationships h. Augmentation of tourism product i. Total quality management 1.2 Specialization of tourism product a. Niche marketing b. Lifestyle targeting 1.3 Value for money a. Quality at each price level 2.Strengthen the long-term com- petitiveness and profitability of Greek tourism and SMTEs 2.1 Increase revenue a. Increase tourist volumes b. Target new markets and penetration in existing markets c. Use yield management d. Expand distribution channel mix e. Aggressive marketing f. Achieve high average spending per customer g. Select high-quality specialized tour operators h. Attract alternative types of tourism i. Use alternative distribution channels j. Motivate front-of-house employees as salesmen 2.2 Cost control and rational management a. Standardize service delivery b. Increase productivity c. Reduce labor costs d. Rationalize supplies management e. Education/training for managers and employees f. Use of new technology g. Integrate service delivery within SMTEs 2.3 Human resources management a. Internal marketing b. Empowerment c. Satisfactory salary and working conditions d. Long-term relations with employees e. Motivation and rewards
  • 86. Page.86 2.4 State and public tourism organization support a. Destination development and control b. Incentives policies for improvement c. Attract European Union assistance d. Promotional activity e. Provide financial resources 3. Develop Greek destinations sustainably, and ensure prosperity of host population 3.1 Environmental protection a. Carrying capacity identification b. Zoning system application c. Architecture preservation d. Installation of sewage treatment systems e. Reduction of noise pollution f. Natural supplies management 3.2 Infrastructure amelioration a. Accessibility improvements b. Telecommunication improvements c. Public facilities advancements 3.3 Transportation improvements a. Improvement of local timetables b. Punctuality and reliability c. Improvements of vehicles d. Flexibility to meet demand needs 3.4 Economic integration a. Integration with raw material production b. Utilization of local labor force c. Integration of tourism services d. Diagonal integration of destination's economy 3.5 Equitable return on resources utilized a. Establish mechanism for reinvestments b. Provide services for host community c. Invest in sustainability of resources d. Ensure equity in distribution of wealth produced Source: Bouhalis, 2001
  • 87. Page.87 C] Statistical Tourism Charts Source: SETE, Greek Tourism Statistics Handbook Source: SETE, Greek Tourism Statistics Handbook
  • 88. Page.88 D] Athens future city-break planning Source: ADDMA, adapted from Kouris (2008)
  • 89. Page.89

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