“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.
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.