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TOPOSOPHY INFO 
As a new corporate entity that aims to become the leading integrated destination 
management & marketing a...
Greek 
Tourism 
uncovered 
2014 
To build a tourism strategy that lasts and that works for all, you have 
to be realistic ...
INTRODUCTION 
A COUNTRY TO 
TRANSITION WITH A 
TOURISM SECTOR IN 
PROGRESSION 
This report substantiates the common percep...
In the Greek case, learning that the viability of tourism at each place is largely 
attached to the prospect of socio-poli...
Facts and Figures 
- Thriving is the sequel to staying alive 
- A pillar of the Greek economy 
- Greece in the competitive...
Facts 
and 
Figures
CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES 
This report is informed by the favourable position which the tour-ism 
sector enjoys in Gre...
Thriving is the sequel 
to staying alive 
UK VISITORS RETURN TO GRECE 
ASSOCIATION OF BRITISH TRAVEL AGENTS 
Crete, Corfu,...
A new record figure of approximately 18 
million international tourist arrivals along 
with an enhanced pattern of seasona...
CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES 
A re-confirmation of positive effects 
due to the lifting of restrictions 
(Cabotage) for c...
CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES 
A re-appreciation of the spending power 
of long-haul markets 
An expected return of the us...
An enthusiasm about the dynamics of 
emerging markets from both within 
and outside the European Union: 
CHAPTER 1 | FACTS...
CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES 
A rather high rate of growth for international tourist arrivals 
at the Kalamata Airport, a...
Signs of a reappearance of Athens in the map 
of European city tourism mainly due to the annual performance 
of long-haul ...
Latest data as well as the attention of international media including articles by the Irish Independent1, The 
FVW Media G...
CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES 
The growth of international tourist arrivals and expenditure inside Greece from January to ...
CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES 
Italy is another marker illustrating growth potential in 2014 given 
the high increases of ...
Indications also reconfirm the status of Russian tour-ists 
as the third major market of inbound tourism in 
Greece. Howev...
CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES 
The restructured network of flights of Aegean Airlines and the growing penetration of major...
A pillar 
of the Greek economy 
Widespread consensus on the positive effects on the Greek economy and local development is...
CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES 
Greece 
in the competitive arena 
GRECE iTALY TURKEY 
In performing a current analysis of G...
The Post Office in the United Kingdom9 has recent-lay 
corroborated such concerns in the case of Greek 
destinations. Evid...
How can it be 
the beginning of a new era 
for Greek tourism? 
CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES 
The presentation of facts an...
CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES 
It is equally important to bear in mind that tourism development cannot be a panacea for ec...
The 
Latent 
Qualities 
of Greek 
Tourism
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
Though much analysis suggests that economic issues tend to dominate 
the...
Connecting 
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
the numerous dots 
Connectivity has always been a major issu...
First, optimism is reasonable because new and returning airline carriers ask for access to Greece’s airports. To a 
certai...
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
Third, it is important to keep in mind that the more tourists decide to ...
A guest 
never forgets the host 
who had treated him kindly 
(Homer, Odyssey) 
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TO...
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
In the first case, experience from Greece shows how 
issues such as the ...
A land 
of experiences 
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
Along with efforts to enhance destination adapta...
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
Shares of Tourism Receipts per Purpose of Visit (Source: Bank of Greece)...
A re-assessment of approaches related to the development 
of alternative forms of tourism is also necessary 
The second po...
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
The world of tourism 
development is, 
by definition, 
one of trade-offs...
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
According to several examples, a first key point for tourism planning is...
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
Other examples clarify why consistency is a second key point for tourism...
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
However, consistency mainly varies according to the horizon for implemen...
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
Greece and the Younger Generations of Travellers 
• When focusing on the...
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
Minding the marketing gap 
between the public 
and the private sector 
I...
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
In 2013, Greece saw the establishment of Marketing Greece as a non-profi...
CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 
For the first time in the country’s history, the Law 4276/2014 introduce...
Greek 
Tourism 
& Global 
Trends 
to Take 
on Board
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
Although the issues discussed in Chapter 2 tell a lot about th...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
Market Groups 
and Consumption Trends 
• The plenitude of chal...
The easy case 
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
of attracting tourists from 
emerging economies...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
What is more interesting about recent instability in Russian o...
Hey 
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
big Chinese spender! 
Chinese outbound tourism epitomises...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
International experience shows that shopping is 
an attraction...
The consumer 
is King 
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
As we move towards the end of 2014, it ...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
For the time being, the great shift of travel products and ser...
The 
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
silent traveller 
Mobile devices such as tablets and smar...
consolidating their position at all the other stages of the customer journey; for becoming inspired, for research-ing, 
fo...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
Issues of Integrated 
Destination Management 
The second group...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
Wiredestinations 
or Weirdestinations? 
The blessing or curse ...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
Millennials 
are also of ten 
critical of the lack 
of adequat...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
A big question for DMOs: 
What to do about 
the Sharing Econom...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
This critical equation lies at the heart of the dispute 
over ...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
Counting Tourists 
or Counting Challenges? 
No matter how citi...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
According to the Greek edition of Kathimerini34, a different t...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
DMOs seek to consolidate 
their role in second-tier cities 
Th...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
The Evolving Nature of the 
Tourist Experience 
The last group...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
LC go CLC: Low-cost carriers 
cut luxury costs 
Low-cost carri...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
All-Inclusive hotels 
go upscale 
The 
all-inclusive 
industry...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
In response, all-inclusive hotels are not so sceptical nowaday...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
Creative tourism: 
the bright side 
of cultural tourism 
Altho...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
Fostering a closer and more direct interaction between local p...
Does 
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
sustainability ‘sell’? 
A common theme in the discussion...
CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board 
As a result, the terms green-washing and grey-washing have com...
Seven 
Steps 
to 
Boosting 
Greek 
Tourism
CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism 
According to the analysis set out in this report, Toposophy experts hav...
Consolidate 
CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism 
a strategic approach 
to tourism development 
The direct i...
Under the leadership of the Ministry of Tourism, the 
result would be the provision of explicit recommen-dations 
to indiv...
CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism 
Make progress 
with massive legal reforms 
Tidying up and coding touris...
CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism 
Upgrade Infrastructure 
and Promote 
Environmental Protection 
Both the...
Bridge 
the digital divide 
CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism 
It is essential for Greek businesses and de...
Shape tourism 
CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism 
product differentiation 
As a response to the vague deba...
CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism 
Be smart and embrace change 
at the local level 
The range of digital t...
Invest 
in Human Capital 
CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism 
The investment of money and time implied from...
Greek Tourism - UNCOVERED
Greek Tourism - UNCOVERED
Greek Tourism - UNCOVERED
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Greek Tourism - UNCOVERED

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To build a tourism strategy that lasts and that works for all, you have to be realistic in analysing what works and what doesn’t. In the first of this ‘uncovered’ series of reports, experts at TOPOSOPHY share their views on the tourism resurgence in Greece and the top priorities for government and business in Greece today.

Cruise lines are queuing up to bring visitors to Greek shores, airlines of all colours and origins are returning to Greek airports and hotels are yet again filling with guests eager to enjoy Greek hospitality. But after some difficult years, is the picture really this rosy? A closer look reveals a range of concerns as big and small players across Greece struggle to keep up with their European competitors and understand how to capitalise on growth from the emerging markets. discover TOPOSOPHY’s take on the current state of Greek Tourism in this candid report that aims to provide much food for thought to tourism industry professionals in Greece and beyond.

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  • Greek Tourism - UNCOVERED: Congrats our neighbour that enjoys a successful "strategic planning" where Turkey is still suffering within the lost recent 8 years of National Tourism Strategy of 17 Years perspective. There are "critical lessons" to be taken for all global destinations within this contemporary procedure!
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Greek Tourism - UNCOVERED

  1. 1. TOPOSOPHY INFO As a new corporate entity that aims to become the leading integrated destination management & marketing agency in Europe, TOPOSOPHY offers a full range of specialized, end-to-end solutions in destination management & marketing. With a broad network of experts around the world, the company is well-equipped to work with a diverse clientele base within the travel and tourism industry using an innovative approach, flexible operations and fully committed partners at all levels. TOPOSOPHY is the totally reengineered and rebranded entity derived from ABOUTOURISM Destination Consultants. Founded in 2010, ABOUTOURISM has already received several distinctions in the consultancy arena. In just over four years, the company’s portfolio has boasted high-level projects and a global net-work of associates from some of the industry’s leading brands. TOPOSOPHY’s top digital applications and marketing offering is powered by the ATCOM Group of Companies, the leading web agency in the Greek market, with an extensive project portfolio and unrivalled experience on the creation of por-tals, e-Shops and web and mobile applications. As a Business Unit of ATCOM, TOPOSOPHY will share resources with the whole group of ATCOM Companies & Business Units (ATCOM/Mindworks/UXLab) in web development and digital marketing services, enabling brands to obtain the visibility they need with a fo-cus on delivering perfect integrated digital experiences.
  2. 2. Greek Tourism uncovered 2014 To build a tourism strategy that lasts and that works for all, you have to be realistic in analysing what works and what doesn’t. In the first of this ‘UNCOVERED’ series of reports, experts at TOPOSOPHY share their views on the tourism resurgence in Greece and the top priorities for government and business in Greece today. Cruise lines are queuing up to bring visitors to Greek shores, airlines of all colours and origins are returning to Greek airports and hotels are yet again filling with guests eager to enjoy Greek hospitality. But after some difficult years, is the picture really this rosy? A closer look reveals a range of concerns as big and small players across Greece struggle to keep up with their European competitors and understand how to capitalise on growth from the emerging markets. Discover TOPOSOPHY’s take on the current state of Greek Tourism in this candid report that aims to provide much food for thought to tourism industry professionals in Greece and beyond. Team of Contributors Dr. Pantazis Pastras | Senior Research Analyst Manolis Psarros | Managing Director Peter Jordan | Senior Tourism Analyst
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION A COUNTRY TO TRANSITION WITH A TOURISM SECTOR IN PROGRESSION This report substantiates the common perception of tourism in Greece as a driv-ing force of the national economy, but one which has not yet been fully integrat-ed into the country’s development agenda and priorities. To verify this oxymoron, the report addresses the most recent data related to the sector’s transition from years of stagnation to a period of unprecedented growth. Since the beginning of the crisis at the end of 2008, both the country and the tourism sector have expe-rienced significant pressures caused by domestic unrest. The limited availability of public funds undermined the foundations of the welfare state, with policies and programmes focused on urban regeneration in particular being put on hold. With overnights and hotel occupancies falling sharply in many Greek destina-tions in 2010 and 2012 as a result of the country’s image being affected by nega-tive media coverage in major source markets, the sovereign debt crisis exposed the vulnerabilities of the tourism sector and jeopardised Greece’s identity as a hospitable destination for foreign visitors. Another consequence of the crisis was that the competence of the public and the private sector to deal effectively with domestic challenges and growing international competition was questioned in an aggressive manner in the light of escalating political tension. 1
  4. 4. In the Greek case, learning that the viability of tourism at each place is largely attached to the prospect of socio-political stability and the well-being of local communities came at a high price for several insular, coastal and urban destina-tions. The positive news is that Greek tourism seems to favour a die-hard approach to recovery. Since all available indicators about the performance of Greek tour-ism in 2013 and the first nine months of 2014 have exhibited signs of a remark-able comeback, it is no surprise that optimism is firmly back nowadays among relevant stakeholder groups and organisations. Major reforms along with struc-tural changes have also contributed to redefining the institutional framework of tourism planning and development at the national level. Nevertheless, there is much evidence to suggest Greek tourism in its current condition still falls short of a holistic approach to destination development and management and lacks a balanced distribution of funds between offline and online marketing practices. In this context, this report explores whether in some sense, Greek tourism has already gone too far according to its performance over the last year and a half. Experts within Toposophy believe, however, that this kind of question is intrinsi-cally flawed. The ups and downs of Greek tourism are not necessarily a spec-tacular phenomenon considering the uncertainty surrounding the evolution of tourism destinations worldwide under the shadow of changing political and eco-nomic conditions. A more important matter is how Greek tourism can improve the capacity to adapt to contemporary trends and quality standards, Hence, this report is focused on scrutinising the underlying dynamics of the comeback of Greek tourism along with other achievements that Greek tourism can celebrate in the future, on the condition that a strategic element will become more explicit in policy prepara-tion, implementation and evaluation. MANOLIS PSARROS Managing Director 2
  5. 5. Facts and Figures - Thriving is the sequel to staying alive - A pillar of the Greek economy - Greece in the competitive arena - How can it be the beginning of a new era for Greek tourism? The Latent Qualities of Greek Tourism - Connecting the numerous dots - ‘A guest never forgets the host who had treated him kindly’ - A land of experiences - To develop (and how to develop) or not to develop tourism? - Minding the marketing gap between the public and the private sector Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board - Market Groups and Consumption Trends - Issues of Integrated Destination Management - The Evolving Nature of the Tourist Experience Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism - Consolidate a strategic approach to tourism development - Make progress with massive legal reforms - Upgrade Infrastructure and Promote Environmental Protection - Bridge the digital divide - Shape tourism product differentiation - Be smart and embrace change at the local level - Invest in Human Capital Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 6 7 19 21 23 28 30 33 38 43 52 60 70 72 73 74 75 76 77 content
  6. 6. Facts and Figures
  7. 7. CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES This report is informed by the favourable position which the tour-ism sector enjoys in Greek society both as a key stimulus of the na-tional economy and a major area of local politics. On these grounds, understanding the present and future of Greek tourism is the out-come of: • Summing up the facts and figures of recent growth (1st Chapter) • Shedding light on themes and issues that will shape the evolution of the sector in following years (2nd Chapter) • Asking what a national response should be to the emergence of contemporary trends at the global level (3rd Chapter) • Discussing the need for actions by the public and private sector at all stages of tourism planning that will equip the operating environment of Greek tourism with a competitive edge (4th Chapter) 5
  8. 8. Thriving is the sequel to staying alive UK VISITORS RETURN TO GRECE ASSOCIATION OF BRITISH TRAVEL AGENTS Crete, Corfu, Rhodes and Zante are the most popular Greek islands (travel trends report 2014) Greece is once again very firmly on the tourist map and is also much more affordable. Enjoy luxury and spectacular at the volcanic island of Santorini CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES The revival of Greek tourism has coincided with the gradual fading of problematic references to the sta-tus and transformation of the socio-political environ-ment, as the country’s finances began to gain impe-tus. By the end of 2013, the tourism sector effectively reflected Greece’s die-hard approach to recovery. Al-though domestic tourism performed well below the average as a consequence of the shrinking buying power of Greek citizens, trends of impressive growth in inbound tourism placed the country as one of the best performing destinations worldwide in 2013. It consolidated its position in the Mediterranean mar-ket, and drew international attention in the midst of the crisis. Luxury accommodation options have sprung up recently Truly relax and recharge your batteries in the Sporades Islands New offers off the beaten track along with boutique options give a taste of authentic Greece. Check the green and thickly wooded islands of Thassos and Ikaria 6
  9. 9. A new record figure of approximately 18 million international tourist arrivals along with an enhanced pattern of seasonality Another record figure of more than 12 billion international tourism receipts including cruise passengers A notable increase of tourists arriving to Greece by crossing the country’s northern and north-eastern borders Greece is the third most popular cruise destination in Europe CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES 7
  10. 10. CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES A re-confirmation of positive effects due to the lifting of restrictions (Cabotage) for cruise vessels to embark and disembark passengers at Greek ports A highly concentrated allocation of tourism traffic Slight decreases of the average length of stay and the average spend on each trip partially due to the increasing proportion of cruise passengers among international tourists - A relief because of the timid come-back of domestic tourism A consensus on the driving force of the Russian market 8
  11. 11. CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES A re-appreciation of the spending power of long-haul markets An expected return of the usual suspects of inbound tourism 9
  12. 12. An enthusiasm about the dynamics of emerging markets from both within and outside the European Union: CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES 10
  13. 13. CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES A rather high rate of growth for international tourist arrivals at the Kalamata Airport, although Greek islands were also effective in terms of increasing their traffic among peripheral destinations. 11
  14. 14. Signs of a reappearance of Athens in the map of European city tourism mainly due to the annual performance of long-haul and emerging markets at the Athens International Airport. Evidence of the growing appeal of Thessaloniki as Greece’s second urban destination to markets CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES from Eastern Europe and North-Eastern Mediterranean. 12
  15. 15. Latest data as well as the attention of international media including articles by the Irish Independent1, The FVW Media Group2, the Huffington Post3, the Die Zeit4, and The Guardian5 suggests the above trends were simply the warm-up before the country kicks off another year of success because: The Greek comeback has gained international media attention 13
  16. 16. CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES The growth of international tourist arrivals and expenditure inside Greece from January to August 2014 along with visits to archaeological sites and museums from January to June 2014 has been significantly higher than last year, though it is also observed a loss of €57 on the average spend for each trip. Messages from traditional markets are particularly positive. Evidence from the first seven months of 2014 points out the dynamics of the UK and the US market while French tourists are including Greece among their favourite summer holiday destinations. It is also a fact, however,that the German market has shown so far signs of stagnation 14
  17. 17. CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES Italy is another marker illustrating growth potential in 2014 given the high increases of seats in scheduled flights from the airports of Rome and Milan to Greece. Concerning the spread of international tourist arrivals from January to September among airports in Greece - Kalamata, Mykonos, Athens and Santorini lead the way in growth from 2013 to 2014 with the performance of the majority of peripheral destinations leaning toward seasonal records during out of season months. 15
  18. 18. Indications also reconfirm the status of Russian tour-ists as the third major market of inbound tourism in Greece. However, there are notable concerns on the short- and mid-term impact of the Ukraine conflict on the behavior of both Russian and Ukrainian tourists, which together account for 2.8 million seats in sched-uled flights to Greece in 2014. Towards the end of the first semester, the Crimean crisis had slowed down the impressive growth observed in the first quarter of 2014 including almost double figures of Russian tour-ist arrivals and expenditure as compared to the first quarter of 2013. In the last few months, Russian out-bound tourism in general did not escape unscathed from the string of bankruptcies among Russian travel agencies. This explains why the arrivals of Russian tourists in Greece have remained unchanged (0% growth) in the first eight months of 2014, with their expenditure demonstrating for a first time in recent years signs of decline (-9%). CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES According to a statement of the Athens-Attica & Argo-saronic Hotel Association at the end of last Septem-ber, from January to August of 2014 the occupancy rates in the wider area of Athens grew by 22.3% com-pared to the same period in 2013 to reach the level of 72.1%, while the average rate for a double room climbed almost 5 Euros to 85.70 Euros and the aver-age revenue per available room increased 28.3% to reach 61.80 Euros. 16
  19. 19. CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES The restructured network of flights of Aegean Airlines and the growing penetration of major players such as Ryanair, easyJet, Air Berlin, SAS, and British Airways into the Greek market are expected to shape growth potential throughout 2014 and 2015. There are strong links to suggest that the presence of low-cost carriers in Greece has stimulated the growth potential of domestic tourism in the midst of economic crisis as well as affecting the pricing of hospitality and other services. On the one hand, industry groups seem to foresee the gradual re-covery of domestic tourism insofar as unpredict-able events will not question political stability. On the other hand, both hotel associations and me-ta- search engines such as Trivago have lately re-ported the provision of cheap hotel rates as a key advantage of Greek destinations against their Med-iterranean competitors. TripAdvisor included Athens among its Top 25 tourism destinations in Europe as well as Naxos, Milos, Santorini, Kefalonia and Paros among its Top 10 Islands in Europe for 2014. Athens also captured the 36th position in the Trivago Top 100 Destination Ranking, which is based on customer reviews of hotel services, climbing 14 positions compared to 2013. Athens along with Naxos, Milos, Santorini, Kefalonia and Paros among Tripadvisor’s top destinations in 2014 Sources: Bank of Greece, Hellenic Statistical Authority, European Cruise Council, Hellenic Ports Association, Association of Greek Tour-ism Enterprises, Athens International Airport, Attica-Athens & Argosaronic Hotels Association, Thessaloniki Hotels Association 17
  20. 20. A pillar of the Greek economy Widespread consensus on the positive effects on the Greek economy and local development is the reason why the tourism sector has always attracted positive comments by state officials despite occasional misfortunes. Whilst the country was fighting with the consequences of austerity measures and high levels of unemployment, travel and tourism in Greece totally contributed an annual average of 16.3% of Gross Domestic Product and 18.2% of employment from 2011 to 20136. In most cases, the particular contribution has been proportionately higher than the contribution of travel and tourism in competitive countries such as Spain, Turkey and Italy, and only lower than respective contribution in the rather small economies of Malta and Cyprus. In this context, the Prime Minister, Mr. Antonis Sa-maras, recently forecasted that tourism is going to add 16,5 billion Euros and 225 thousand job positions (30% and 29% of future GDP and employment growth) between 2015 to 2021 as part of the government’s development plan. To understand the importance of this assumption, it is sufficient to consider that it is critical that the ongoing performance of Greek tour-ism continues in order to reassure both the govern-ment and the country’s lenders including Eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund that 2014 will be the first year to show overall growth for the Greek economy since the beginning of crisis. Nevertheless, a strategic analysis carried out in sum-mer7 argued that the expected recovery in Greek economy along with a significant impact on either the balance of payments or employment in the short to medium-term is unlikely to come about solely through the contribution of tourism. Concerning the creation of new jobs, it appears that signs of restruc-turing in the Greek tourism sector are believed to im-ply higher productivity and thus a smaller potential for absorbing unemployment. CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES The contribution of tourism to the country’s GDP is proportionately higher that in competitive countries. Sources: kapos.eu 18
  21. 21. CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES Greece in the competitive arena GRECE iTALY TURKEY In performing a current analysis of Greek tourism it is impossible to ignore the fact that the positive results of the recent past have not occurred in a vacuum. In a period of consistent growth for global tourism from 2010 on-wards, arrivals in European countries on the Mediterranean including Turkey have gained in momentum. Despite the rather ugly acronym ‘PIGS’ being used to group some of these together, negative media exposure did not prevent them from maintaining or expanding their market shares and taking advantage of the unrest first caused by the events of the Arab Spring and afterwards by the lack of political stability in the whole of the Middle East. Along with Greece, the majority of destinations in Northern Mediterranean saw growth in 2013 19
  22. 22. The Post Office in the United Kingdom9 has recent-lay corroborated such concerns in the case of Greek destinations. Evidence suggests that the cost for Brit-ish tourists to purchase a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, and a 3-course evening meal for 2 with a bottle of wine at a local tourist-class restaurant during their 2014 holidays in Corfu and Crete will be higher than in most competitive resorts in Portugal, Spain and Tur-key, though lower than in Mallorca and the majority of Italian destinations. CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES Public authorities and the private sector in Greece need to monitor and evaluate carefully the fact that with the exceptions of Cyprus and Albania every Northern Mediterranean destination experienced growth in international tourist arrivals and industry earnings in 20138. Of course another big issue for the future is whether countries and destinations in the Northern Mediterranean will continue to maintain their position when, at some future time, the transition to more democratic regimes helps Egypt and others to bounce back, regain their attractive images and adopt a more competitive pricing policy. 20
  23. 23. How can it be the beginning of a new era for Greek tourism? CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES The presentation of facts and figures has illustrated the current potential for tourism to strengthen its position as a reliable driver of economic growth in Greece due to the exposure of Greek destinations to emerging markets and the growing awareness inside the country of the sector’s importance for economic growth. That is well and good if it is what it takes for Greek economy to recover in the short-term. However, there is also much evidence to argue that a systematic approach to tourism development is required to ensure the involvement of stakeholder groups will deliver sustained benefits in subsequent years. This debate transcends the scope of how the tourism sector has undergone a prolonged period of financial pressures because of structural problems such as Greece’s crippling debt, the lack of credit, and macro-economic imbalances. Taking on this systematic approach involves tack-ling issues which are related both to the year-on-year downward trend that Greece has experienced in the «Country Brand Index» of Future Brand and to the loss of three positions in the «Travel and Tour-ism Competitiveness Index» of the World Economic Forum. In the latter case, the resilience Greece has shown in terms of remaining within the top 25 desti-nations in the world in airport infrastructure and cul-tural heritage covers areas in which the continual de-livery of service excellence must be a priority. The penetration of tourism into various sectors of the Greek economy is indicative of its capacity to boost the country’s business environment. In June 2014, Greece ranked 26th among the 28 EU mem-ber states10 but the ongoing growth of inbound tour-ism coincided in the beginning of September with the country’s achievement to climb ten places in the Global Competitiveness Index11. Airport infrastructure and cultural heritage should be priorities for the achievement of service excellence 21
  24. 24. CHAPTER 1 | FACTS AND FIGURES It is equally important to bear in mind that tourism development cannot be a panacea for economic develop-ment in Greece, and that other sectors must also pull their weight. The long-running debate on the creation of bachelor degree programmes in Greek universities as well as the uncertainty that has followed the abolition of the Organisation of Tourism Education and Training is an example of this. E-commerce is another proper exam-ple, with e-tourism still being in its infancy in Greece despite the tourism sector’s significance for the national economy. There is evidence that the low percentage of households with internet access is well below the EU average affecting the national demand for to e-commerce services. Nevertheless, there may be a bright future for the market of e-tourism in Greece and its potential contribution to GDP and employment growth, provided that consumer concerns over the safety of online transactions are addressed and accommodated properly12. On these grounds, the next chapter focuses more on why Greek destinations are lacking a competi-tive edge and what initiatives are necessary to en-able the tourism sector improve its appeal to both traditional and emerging markets, embrace institu-tional modernisation, attract investment funds and put forward innovative practices with the prospect of enhancing the quality of hospitality and other ser-vices. Tourism development cannot be a panacea for economic development 22
  25. 25. The Latent Qualities of Greek Tourism
  26. 26. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM Though much analysis suggests that economic issues tend to dominate the agenda of tourism development at the initial stages, short-sighted-ness can also occasionally be the reason for missing opportunities to generate both revenues and social gains in the long-term. As a mosaic of attractive sites and hospitable people, Greece has written its own history of tourism in the last five decades that has included triumphs and defeats. When asked if the country has already showed off the best of what it really has to offer, however, experts in Toposophy answer in the nega-tive. Hence, this section raises several points of interest and discusses the various ways in which people inside and outside the sector need to engage in institutional and managerial innovation in order to set in motion the latent qualities of Greek tourism and see the benefits for both tourists and themselves. 24
  27. 27. Connecting CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM the numerous dots Connectivity has always been a major issue in the agenda of Greek tourism due to the spatial arrangement of resorts along the country’s coastal and insular areas, and the recent boost of inbound tourism has brought back to the surface a series of concerns from the destination’s perspective. Indeed, the ongoing debates revolve around issues such as: • The improvement of links between Greece and key localities from both traditional and emerging markets. • The prospect of an appropriate balance between sea and air transportation. • The capacity of available infrastructure to manage effectively the growing flows of tourists. • The measures required to facilitate the flows of cruise passengers and provide them with a memorable experience while touring in Greece. 25
  28. 28. First, optimism is reasonable because new and returning airline carriers ask for access to Greece’s airports. To a certain extent, that is a repercussion of the acquisition of Olympic Air by Aegean Airlines in late 2013. While the latter has restructured since the beginning of 2014 the network of flights through 8 bases in Greece and 47 desti-nations mainly in European, Mediterranean and Middle East markets, big names of scheduled flights have either extended their itineraries throughout Greece (e.g. British Airways, Lufthansa and SAS Airlines) or reappeared at the Athens International Airport (e.g. Delta Airlines, Etihad Airways, and Singapore Airlines), contributing also to the re-establishment of connections with long-haul markets. New and returning airline carriers ask for access to Greece’s airports In the meantime, there has also been an impressive penetration of low-cost carriers, which are estimated to con-nect Athens with 35 destinations in summer 2014 as opposed to 25 destinations in summer 2013 (40% growth). Under the leadership of Ryanair, Air Berlin, and easyJet, low-cost carriers are also expected to lower the depend-ency of insular destinations on charter flights in high season. The second area of debate focuses on the current state of the ferry industry. The recent revival of Greek tour-ism has only contributed to stabilising passenger traffic in 2013. That is anything but a satisfactory record given that from to 2010 to 2013 passengers in ferry traffic de-creased by more than 20%, a clear repercussion of pres-sures identified in domestic tourism. Besides the factor of scheduled airlines, market share competition may in-crease in the near future according to rough estimates that 120 water airports will be operating in Greece by the end of 2015, adding seaplanes as another means of travel among domestic destinations of all kinds. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 26
  29. 29. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM Third, it is important to keep in mind that the more tourists decide to visit Greece the more the capacity of avail-able infrastructure is going to be tested. In calculating that the tourism traffic in Greece in 2014 will reach its peak on 2nd August through the arrival of 760 international flights including 149,000 seats, the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises is only touching the tip of the iceberg13. This issue applies both to air and sea transportation. The higher demand for flight slots this year resembles similar challenges to those faced by many ports of differ-ent scales, which have recently attracted the attention of international cruise lines and their vessels. Airport and port infrastructure improvement is a major issue for Greek tourism 27
  30. 30. A guest never forgets the host who had treated him kindly (Homer, Odyssey) CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM Although people in Greece have every reason to be proud of Xenios Zeus (the ancient Greek God of hospitality) and Homer’s references to themes of hospitality, the analysis and implementation of the concept of ‘Philoxenia’ must be consistent with the standards of each era. Experts within Toposophy have little doubt that adaptability is a more inclusive term for destinations with high goals because: • It captures the very essence of ‘Philoxenia’ as a matter of taking care of all the necessities for a pleasant stay. • It incorporates the various ways in which tourism stakeholders need to be both creative and effective in order to approach potential visitors and enhance their experience both before and after the actual trip. Jupiter and Mercurius in the House of Philemon and Baucis (1630–33) by the workshop of Rubens 28
  31. 31. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM In the first case, experience from Greece shows how issues such as the working hours of cultural attrac-tions and the trend of ‘Open Sundays’ transcend the scope of specific interests or political disputes in-side the country. As integral elements of the tourist experience, managing those issues requires signifi-cant effort by different stakeholders in understanding the needs of visitors and meeting their expectations through innovative practices and mutual compromis-es that will lead to mutual benefits. Pricing is another tricky area in this sense. It shows how short-sightedness in tourism derives from the unwillingness of tourism stakeholders to consider the merits of maintaining prices at a competitive level during events of international fame, aiming at improv-ing the image of both individual businesses and the destination through positive media coverage as op-posed to maximising revenues only in the short-term. In the second case, experience from Greece also sug-gests there is plenty of catching up to do with the con-temporary practices of destination marketing. On the one hand, destinations face the challenge of extend-ing and capturing the attention of their B2B contacts. The aim should be to target specific segments of the international tourism market and encourage tourism professionals worldwide to discover business opportu-nities at each locality. For instance, the Travel Trade Ath-ens event, organised by the Athens Development and Destination Management Company in 2013 and 2014, provided a great insight into how a variety of activities can be combined with the organisation of business ap-pointments and promote in a thematic and integrated manner both well-known and less familiar aspects of a destination. On the other hand, destinations need to understand the power of word of mouth boosted through social media. The Region of Peloponnese is one example of authorities at the highest level of non-government administration which extended their digital presence as tourism destinations. Under the slogan “Mythical Peloponnese”, the region imple-mented an internet campaign of its tourism products and destinations but also paid special attention to the mainte-nance and update of social media accounts in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Crucially, the most encouraging sign is that there are plans for the continuation of the project in the programming period 2014-2020. 29
  32. 32. A land of experiences CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM Along with efforts to enhance destination adaptability to contemporary trends and match market targets with adequate B2B and B2C marketing strategies, tourism stakeholders are recommended to embrace the introduc-tion and diffusion of new ideas now that the sovereign debt crisis seems to be de-escalating. To redefine certain aspects of destination identity, it is valuable to see the country’s return to economic stability through the lens of a fresh approach to the integrated management and promotion of Greece’s beauties and attractions. There are two key points which make tourism rebranding in the case of Greece worth in considering: • the decreasing shares of travellers who visited the country in recent years and spent their money for business reasons. • The behavioural norms of new generations of travellers with information and communication technologies being embedded in everyday life. The introduction and diffusion of new ideas is necessary now that the sovereign debt crisis seems to be de-escalating 30
  33. 33. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM Shares of Tourism Receipts per Purpose of Visit (Source: Bank of Greece) The first point corroborates more or less the assumption that whereas it takes time to build something strong, it takes a few moments to see it being dismantled as well as a lot of effort to rebuild it. Data provided by the International Congress and Convention Association14 demonstrates that what had been achieved in the do-mestic market from the Olympic Games of 2004 onwards, started to fall apart when the crisis began. Greece and Athens attracted 55 and 35 fewer international meetings in 2012 than in 2008; a direct repercussion of challenges associated with the escalation of the economic crisis from the end of 2008 to 2010 when consider-ing that international associations start making plans about their conferences a few years before the actual dates of the venue. At the same time, this tough period has many interesting lessons for those who wish to come up with ideas and initiatives that will capitalize on Greece’s positive media coverage in recent months. Particularly for public authorities, much of this knowledge derives from the targeted marketing efforts of the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau under the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency, which managed to maintain a series of influential contacts in the international market of business tourism and eventually contrib-uted to the organisation of major events such as the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy in August 2013. Parthenon temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece 31
  34. 34. A re-assessment of approaches related to the development of alternative forms of tourism is also necessary The second point derives from an assessment of approaches related to the development of alternative forms of tourism such as cultural tourism, rural tourism, urban tour-ism, gastronomical tourism, etc. In the 1990s, Mediterranean destina-tions welcomed alternative forms of tourism as a slogan, which in-corporated both the burgeoning debate of sustainable tourism and growing concerns over the im-pact of mass tourism on the envi-ronment and local communities. Nowadays, however, another big debate is whether this slogan has evolved and become something tangible or if it has actually ques-tioned the domination of mass tourism all over the Mediterranean. Despite certain exceptions to the rule including the rise of urban ar-eas as city-break destinations, the Greek experience has shown how good ideas often tend not to live up to the hype. Often, the problem is the absence of systematic and consistent efforts to design and implement a development frame-work together with proper quality standards, sufficient investments, and adequate marketing strate-gies. Any further reference to the po-tential of upgrading maritime tour-ism in Greece carries the risk of ignoring the lack of progress on the construction of contemporary marinas compared to develop-ments in competitor countries such as Turkey and Croatia. Like-wise, concerns arise in the case of medical tourism, which is often introduced as a fresh element that remains undervalued due to gov-ernment inertia, although the ways in which medical centres offering specialized health services could be combined with other activities and infrastructure in order to cre-ate clusters for the development of medical tourism in specific areas have been largely underexplored. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM 32
  35. 35. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM The world of tourism development is, by definition, one of trade-offs To develop (and how to develop) or not to develop tourism? Paraphrasing the classic Shakespearean dilemma is one way to illustrate that finding a perfect balance between aspirations for economic benefits and concerns about environmental and social issues has rarely been an op-tion for tourism planners. Another way is to explore if the world of tourism development is, by definition, one of trade-offs. That is a world where consensus building is a challenging and possibly controversial process, which requires both valid estimates of future impacts and commitment to monitoring the actual results of tourism development. In the case of Greece such an investigation is more than useful in the current climate, because the government is just as eager to witness more investments inside the country as environmental organisations and local com-munities are sceptical of their long-term effects. 33
  36. 36. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM According to several examples, a first key point for tourism planning is that decision-making requires constant learning from Greece’s recent past along with international experience: • Although the enhancement and enrichment of the traditional model of ‘sun and sea’ tourism through ‘spe-cial forms’ of tourism is among policy objectives in the programming period 2014-2020, the development of conference, medical, cultural, maritime and city tourism under the label ‘alternative forms’ was encouraged in the past as a strategy to counterbalance the blueprint of mass tourism in Greece. The current expres-sion demonstrates a better understanding of the dynamics of the ‘sun and sea’ model, but it is a matter of continuing investigation whether the development of these forms of tourism will be supported by adequate marketing strategies, necessary changes in legislation, and greater attention to designing and selling pack-ages of thematic experiences. • More than three decades of experience in the management of structural funds and the provision of in-vestment incentives are important to guide future policy making. In the programming period 2014-2020, the challenge lies in deciding what is deemed an appropriate balance of resources required for large scale investments and small and medium enterprises in different areas. THE EUROPEAN PART OF THE MEDITERANEAN IS TO BE ONE OF THE MOST AFECTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE • The country cannot underestimate research findings about the effects of climate change on the tourism sector as presented in recent studies by the Bank of Greece15 and the University of Cambridge16. Among regions, estimates indicate that the European part of the Mediterranean is to be one of the most affected by climate change conditions in the years to come. That is a factor to take seriously in tourism planning, at least from now on, because increasing temperatures are likely to trigger additional phenomena such as frequent heat waves and droughts, wildfires, water stress and the loss of biodiversity. 34
  37. 37. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM Other examples clarify why consistency is a second key point for tourism planning in relation to investment growth and sustainable development. In recent years, major reforms were introduced as part of the govern-ment‘ s aspiration to reduce bureaucracy, lift institutional obstacles and restrictions, improve the business envi-ronment for investments, and meet the respective guidelines of international agencies such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development17 . One example in the case of tourism is regulations for the pri-vatisation of properties owned by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund including the hotel complex of Astir Vouliagmenis, the old Airport of Hellinikon, and many other land sites and buildings all over Greece. A second example is the extension of conditions and cases for the establishment of Integrated Tourism Develop-ment Areas along with the simplification of procedures for the operation of hotels (known in Greece as Complex Tourist Accommodations) including infrastructure for specialised forms of tourism. It is important that the contribution of these and other measures should be appreciated because: • They have revived the interest of domestic and international hedge funds, which have already made progress with various projects in areas such as Crete, Chalkidiki, and the Ionian Islands. • They have transformed the institutional framework of tourism development in Greece, which is also witnessing the progress of additional private initiatives on a medium and large scale (e.g. increasing number of owners who obtain licenses from the National Tourism Organisation in order to rent their properties and villas for holiday purposes, the creation of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre at the position of the old hippodrome of Athens, etc.). Major government reforms have attracted the interest of investors 35
  38. 38. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM However, consistency mainly varies according to the horizon for implementation in tourism policy. From a busi-ness perspective, preserving stability in the tax system is a key priority which is still pending in Greece. Another issue is how often there are changes in trade-offs between economic development and environmental protec-tion in considering differences between the first edition of the Special Framework for Land-Use Planning and Sustainable Development of Tourism (Joint Ministerial Decision 24208/2009) and the recently updated version (JMD 67659/2013). It is unsurprising that some investors are left perplexed and calculating the cost of missed opportunities the same way that local communities express their opposition when major changes are suddenly introduced in legislation about protected sites «Natura» and the seashore. Hence, the National Bank of Greece18 is explicit in arguing that rather than facilitating investments by bypassing most of the legal and administrative obstacles it is more important for Greece to resolve issues of land ownership by implementing a coherent national cadastre and a pilot land exchange programme. The above observation is critical in a wider context, because a third key point for tourism planning is innovation. In fact, the following examples demonstrate why decision-making in tourism policy needs to take into account the transformation of both the economy and society: ΦοιFoinikodasos-Vai GRECE HAS TO RESOLVE ISUES OF LAND OWNERSHIP 36
  39. 39. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM Greece and the Younger Generations of Travellers • When focusing on the development of both geo-de-mographic and thematic markets the tourism sector in Greece has to comprehend the changing behavioural trends in international travel. Particularly for those who were born in the ‘80s and ‘90s, information and com-munication technologies are an integral aspect of their travel and tourist experience. The Generation Y or Mil-lennials are passionate about personal autonomy and flexibility. Seeking these qualities, they make the most of social media and mobile devices while shifting in-stantly from business to leisure, keeping in touch with relatives and friends, and searching for authenticity, customised services and value for money in their pur-chases. As a result, the rapid pace of evolution chang-es the rules of the game with both challenges and op-portunities for tourism destinations. Given that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation19 recognised visa facilitation as a means to stim-ulate tourism growth worldwide, Greece is obliged to examine all the obstacles and opportunities of the Schengen Area regulations and se-cure an equally competitive position among European countries which keep an eye on prospering travellers from emerging economies. In recent years, there has been close coop-eration over this subject between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In January 2014, the two ministers jointly announced that the number of visas issued to Rus-sian tourists visiting Greece in 2013 increased by 51.4%; the same figure in the cases of tourists from Ukraine and Turkey increased by 56.6% and 40.8% respectively. In the light of the Ukrainian crisis, however, Greece has possibly to learn from the approach of Spain, whose General Consulate in Russia has set in operation visa appli-cation centres in more than 15 cities. Assessment of Visa Policy 37
  40. 40. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM Minding the marketing gap between the public and the private sector In the last decade, the institutional framework of tourism marketing in Greece has undergone numerous trans-formations, often as a consequence of changes taking place at various levels of public administration. An obvi-ous example is the involvement of the Ministry of Tourism itself, which was established in 2004, then merged with the Ministry of Culture in 2009, and was finally re-established as an autonomous agency in 2012. That is a sensitive case, because every change at the top also has effects on the role and work of the National Tourism Organisation, which is now operating again under the Ministry of Tourism. In a less controversial example, the devolution reform of Callicrates has broadened the scope of action in the field of tourism at the lower levels of public administration. A few agencies have actually seized opportunities to duplicate a series of popular prac-tices among destination management and marketing organisations at the international level. But what seems to be a more im-portant development as a whole is a change of mindset in both the public and the private sector. Evidence suggests that tourism stakeholders have started to ex-amine more actively the prospect of working together in common marketing projects. At the national level, the private sector and par-ticularly the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises played in 2007 a pivotal role in pushing the government to involve interna-tional experts in both the prepa-ration and implementation of the strategic marketing plan for Greek tourism. The products that were identified during that pro-cess have survived as concepts, but the project also influenced debates of coordination between public administration levels and partnership building. Pressures and frustration caused by the economic crisis and the under-performance of Greek tourism from 2009 to 2012 particularly reinforced the debate of public-private partnerships. The institutional framework of tourism marketing in Greece has undergone numerous transformations 38
  41. 41. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM In 2013, Greece saw the establishment of Marketing Greece as a non-profit, fully private organisation (formed by the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, and the Hellenic Association of Advertising-Communication Agencies) aimed at supporting the marketing of Greek tourism and governed by a council whose members are key players of the Greek tourism sector. Rather than intervening in the country’s tourism branding, which is a responsibility of the National Tourism Organisation and involves the web platform Visit Greece, Marketing Greece launched the web platform Discover Greece with a focus on the promotion of the country’s tourism products and experiences. In the last two years, the emergence of this new agency coincided with the enactment of Laws 4179/2013 and 4254/2014, which expanded the Ministry’s duties in the development and control framework of tourism enter-prises and initiated the restructuring of branches of the National Tourism Organisation located overseas. Along with legislation passed in July 2014 the government seems to favour the engagement of tourism stakeholders in Greece’s tourism promotion. The current government favours the engagement of the private sector in Greece’s tourism promotion 39
  42. 42. CHAPTER 2 | THE LATENT QUALITIES OF GREK TOURISM For the first time in the country’s history, the Law 4276/2014 introduced a framework for the approval of private sponsorships on behalf of a council under the Minister of Tourism, while it also broadened the scope of joint ini-tiatives between the National Tourism Organisation, other public authorities and tourism associations. In the meantime, the restructuring of regional and local authorities has enabled since 2011 certain organisations to maximise benefits from the use of internal resources and funds derived from the National Strategic Refer-ence Framework. The Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau under the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency is a representative case at the local level of a municipal organisation that adopts the inter-national practices of destination management organisations including marketing campaigns, product develop-ment, visitor information & services, travel trade events, community engagement projects and research activities. For instance, the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau in partnership with the National Tourism Organisation were responsible for the staging of TBEX Europe in October 2014. This event has brought social media hype and international fame to the capital city of Greece for a few days through the arrival of more than 800 travel bloggers and writers, who had the opportunity to find out everything about the attractions and services of local tourism industry, arguably bringing the city’s tourism offering to entirely new audiences as a result. TBEX EUROPE 2014 HAS BROUGHT THE TOURISM OFERING OF ATHENS TO ENTIRELY NEW AUDIENCES 40
  43. 43. Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board
  44. 44. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board Although the issues discussed in Chapter 2 tell a lot about the prospect of strengthening the competitiveness of the Greek tourism sector, both public authorities and the private sector are recommended to take into account the consequences of a series of international trends. These trends affect elements of supply and demand in a manner which shows their capacity to set new standards for service delivery in tourism industry. In this chapter, Toposophy experts identify these trends and pay atten-tion to the ways they currently shape consumer behaviour, the priorities of policy-making on behalf of destination authorities, and perceptions of the products and services that compose the landscape of tourist experi-ences. 42
  45. 45. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board Market Groups and Consumption Trends • The plenitude of challenges and opportunities associated with the volatility of emerging markets. • The non-traditional interpretation of indulgency of younger generations of travellers. • The central role the internet plays in the daily routine of travel habits. The first group of ongoing trends focuses on the be-haviour of tourists and identifies patterns of transfor-mation under the influence of political events, grow-ing spending patterns, changing demographics, and the diffusion of information and communication tech-nologies, whose analysis promotes the following les-sons for the Greek tourism sector: Greek tourism stakeholders need to continuously assess different drivers of consumer behaviour A key point is that Greek tourism stakeholders need to continuously assess different drivers of consumer behav-iour from a micro to a macro level of analysis and identify clever ways that will help them upgrade and tailor their products and services to meet the demands of both individuals and large groups of travellers. 43
  46. 46. The easy case CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board of attracting tourists from emerging economies: a midsummer night’s dream Although the global financial crisis of 2008 along with the Eurozone crisis put the majority of developed countries in a difficult position, European and long-haul markets of outbound tourism have contributed to the momentum international tourism has regained since 2010. In the case of travellers from emerging economies, the big ques-tion is not if the sources of temporary or persistent instability can have a permanent effect on the long-term growth of international tourism, as estimated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, because the desire and capacity to travel overseas is linked to the fast rise of the middle class in these countries. Rather, the question centres on the challenge of dealing with the ups and downs of markets from emerging economies in the short to medium-term. In emerging economies, the desire and capacity to travel overseas goes along with the fast rise of the middle class For Russian outbound tourism, which is projected to experience steady growth in the wider area of South-ern Europe in forthcoming years20, uncertainty is a key issue to deal with in the short-run. In recent months, the ongoing tensions in Ukraine along with the depre-ciation of the Ruble against the Euro and the string of bankruptcies among Russian travel agencies did not merely show the value of being proactive rather than reactive in crisis management. Protecting the coun-try’s image in the case of a market which recorded in-side Greece an average growth rate of 50% per year throughout a difficult period from 2009 to 2013, state authorities together with the private sector managed to facilitate the safe return of Russian tourists back home. 44
  47. 47. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board What is more interesting about recent instability in Russian outbound tourism is that due to political and institu-tional conditions the markets of emerging economies have a long road to cover before they represent a stable, trouble-free source of visitors in comparison to Greece’s other inbound markets. As a result, destinations in Southern Europe and elsewhere need to set priorities, because it is pointless to consider visitors from economic blocs such as the BRICs as a unified market with common characteristics and expectations. Thorough market research and monitoring of economic environment in emerging economies is another priority, as Tourism Economics21 believes that the distant, yet potential threat of a China crisis would hit both the global economy and international tourism in particular. Visitors from economic blocs such as the BRICs should not be considered as a unified market 45
  48. 48. Hey CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board big Chinese spender! Chinese outbound tourism epitomises the value of building and sustaining a solid relationship with markets from emerging economies. Spending a massive US$ 129 billion in 2013 Chinese tourists have preserved an unques-tionable lead in global tourism expenditure and drawn the attention of destinations around the globe, as they comprise a vibrant mix of big shopping spenders, cultural explorers, and tech-savvy consumers. Chinese tourists comprise a vibrant mix of big shopping spenders, cultural explorers, and tech-savvy consumers. 46
  49. 49. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board International experience shows that shopping is an attraction in itself for Chinese tourists, who not only cherish products purchased in another coun-try as symbols of their travel experience but also often enjoy lower prices and greater assurances on product quality compared to back home22. Quartz23 underlined in February 2014 the positive effect of Chinese tourist spending to the French economy because of their pursuit of expensive purchases and luxury designer brands. Likewise, Hotels.com24 reported in July 2014 that the mean average spend per day of Chinese tourists when travelling abroad is nearly $US 1.090 excluding accommodation ex-penses. Following the relaxation of travel restrictions, coun-tries that carry the approved destination status of the Chinese government need to be pragmatic in their objectives and creative in their initiatives. In Europe, developing thematic routes and promot-ing cultural resources is necessary to embrace the passion of Chinese tourists for sightseeing25. This aim is consistent with the ongoing efforts of the EU26 to receive proposals for transnational partner-ship- building with the aim of increasing competi-tiveness of the European tourism sector. Schengen countries along the Mediterranean coast are thus recommended to work together in order to design multi-destination packages of thematic experienc-es, undertake joint marketing initiatives, and capi-talise on the wealth of historic heritage. Another issue for destination management authori-ties and the private sector is to assess the impor-tance of the Internet for Chinese tourists. In August, the results of the Hotels.com survey «Disconnect to Reconnect» demonstrated that along with other Asian holidaymakers, the Chinese are among the top five nationalities most reluctant to ditch their mobile devices while on vacation. Chinese tourists are reluctant to ditch their mobile devices while on vacation The aftermath is that tourism stakeholders are obliged to ensure that both Wi-Fi access points and informative applications are largely available at destination scale while also building communication with the Chinese mar-ket through popular social networks such as WeChat27. 47
  50. 50. The consumer is King CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board As we move towards the end of 2014, it is evident that Millennials are just warming up in their travel quest saga. Making the most of information and communication technologies, Millennials question the past and are fast changing the world as we know it. For the tourism and hospitality industry, their self-assurance has brought with it a storm of new consumer expectations in which successful destinations and businesses will be those which explore and respond positively to the broad spectrum of economic, societal and environmental changes. In forthcoming months, affluent Millennials are also the market group that is most likely to engage in augmented reality and test the devices of wearable technology. Millennials bring a storm of new consumer expectations 48
  51. 51. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board For the time being, the great shift of travel products and services online has also given the consumer freedom to search and choose, and in making that choice, it is now the opinions of friends, relatives and other consumers that matter the most. The mass appeal of social media allows for the exchange of opinions on travel experiences from trusted sources. Additionally, traveller review sites have quickly become the first stop for consumers looking for an honest first-hand opinion about their proposed destination, hotel, restaurant and more. With 280 million unique visitors per month in 2013, TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel review site and owner of an array of travel media brands offering specialist reviews on cruises, family holidays and airline services among others. Traveller review sites have quickly become the first stop for consumers For the Millennial generation in particular, social media has become the key resource for news, gos-sip, inspiration and advice for matters as diverse as holidays, consumer goods, music, fashion, politics or relationships. The internet and social media have encouraged this generation to share their opinions freely, fuelling the popularity of review sites such as TripAdvisor, among others. For the Millennial generation in particular, social media has become the key resource for news, gos-sip, inspiration and advice for matters as diverse as holidays, consumer goods, music, fashion, politics or relationships. The internet and social media have encouraged this generation to share their opinions freely, fuelling the popularity of review sites such as TripAdvisor, among others. The result of this for destinations such as Greece is that the traditional one-way flow of information from the supplier to the customer is rapidly going out of date. Instead, the rapid spread of social networks has given rise to the direct customer-supplier ‘conversa-tion’, bypassing the traditional media sources such as TV, magazines, newspaper adverts or even a compa-ny’s own web pages. Social media and travel review sites have given consumers the role of both brand ambassadors and consumer activists, allowing users to recommend their best experiences and denounce their worst in real-time. 49
  52. 52. The CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board silent traveller Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are rapidly becoming the principal device through which peo-ple manage their lives online. For young, independent travellers, the smartphone or tablet is the first port of call to resolve the types of challenges that customer service staff used to deal with. Skift has labelled this kind of traveller the ‘silent traveller’28 in light of his or her self-reliance and low levels of interaction with staff. Silent Travellers have self-reliance and low levels of interaction with staff Globally, it has been observed that travellers have been slow to move from information gathering (done on smartphone or tablet) to booking with the same device, particularly for big-ticket items such as flights or ac-commodation. According to IPK International29, mobile bookings remain at only 2% of overall bookings globally, however there is evidence to suggest that this is changing rapidly. Nevertheless, smartphones and tablets are 50
  53. 53. consolidating their position at all the other stages of the customer journey; for becoming inspired, for research-ing, for experiencing, sharing and reflecting on journeys made – all through social media. The real-time conver-sation between customers, their online community and brands is having profound consequences for providers throughout the tourism value chain; those who fail to innovate and keep up with these trends may rapidly be-come obsolete. Against this backdrop, it is especially important to consider that younger travellers from the main emerging outbound markets (as identified above), have never accessed internet through a PC, instead using smartphones as the first and only tool with which they are familiar, to manage their professional and personal lives30. Given the integral position of the smartphone as the key tool of interaction for researching, planning, book-ing and recording travel experiences, it is absolutely vital for Greek tourism businesses and destinations to have at the most basic level a presence online and in all the major social networks for their particular tar-get markets. Having a strategy for mobile marketing and customer engagement is also essential, since so many consumers are skipping the desktop and mov-ing straight to using hand-held devices. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board Many consumers are skipping the desktop and moving straight to using hand-held devices 51
  54. 54. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board Issues of Integrated Destination Management The second group of ongoing trends defines a range of topics that often surpass the competence of Destina-tion Management Organisations (DMOs), which are already under pressure in terms of operating with reduced budgets and justifying the institutional space they occupy. To the extent that the future of DMOs will be determined by their capacity to ensure in an effective and efficient manner the smooth integration of different types of tourist activity into the economic and social fabric of cities and resorts, the analysis of these trends incorporates the following lessons for the Greek tourism sector: Tourism is an integral element of urban space • Innovative ideas aimed at enhancing the urban environment through online applications are not neces-sarily intended to be a substitute for the main body of infrastructure and city services • The increasingly blurred boundary between residential, business, leisure and tourist uses at each place • The active participation of tourists to the transformation of urban space 52
  55. 55. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board Wiredestinations or Weirdestinations? The blessing or curse of being smart National Park, Athens One way to assess the impact of the visitor economy is to examine how the tourism sector has triggered and benefited from contemporary technology and design while adding clarity, simplicity, adjustability and flexibility to the seams and structures of the various urban systems. The contribution of tourism to the intelligence of cities emerges through the interplay of requests for sophisti-cated products and services and the introduction of respective solutions. The World Economic Forum31 has re-ported that both familiar and more futuristic approaches are adopted by world cities to reduce traffic congestion and trade barriers as well as to enhance different functions that shape the experience of travellers and tourists. The World Economic Forum particularly refers to advanced systems of electronic visas and smart airports, the development of which is expected to facilitate the majority of arrival and departure processes including luggage scanning and the assessment of risk profiles, despite security concerns currently involved. Equally important is the value added by smart technologies to the dissemination of knowledge about European cultural heritage along with the preservation of monuments and attractions. Electronic visas and smart airports are expected to facilitate the majority of arrival and departure processes 53
  56. 56. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board Millennials are also of ten critical of the lack of adequate public infrastructure such as public transit and pavements However, the question to ask is whether technology and smart design is capable of providing all solutions re-quired. It has been said that key demographic groups such as Millennials are also often critical of the lack of adequate public infrastructure such as public transit and pavements32. In a time of austerity, transportation and pedestrian infrastructure is only one indication that the allocation of scarce resources is not yet to be disjointed from a series of urban community priorities. The future will show the capacity of DMOs to draw a reasonable bal-ance between offline and online intelligence, because the highly mobile and tech-savvy generations of travellers today have both the knowledge and confidence to question the digitally appealing identity of smart cities in the absence of fundamental infrastructure and urban services. 54
  57. 57. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board A big question for DMOs: What to do about the Sharing Economy? The recent growth of the sharing economy in the US and Europe has added another layer of diffi-culty to the impact assessment of visitor economy, which is by definition a time-consuming process in-volving the collection and analysis of both statisti-cal and qualitative data. This situation alludes to a critical dilemma facing DMOs nowadays concern-ing the reception of the sharing economy in tour-ism and hospitality. While they have many reasons to be satisfied with and support the introduction of consumption patterns bringing more visitors to their cities, they are also obliged to address tour-ism industry concerns over unfair competition and cases of tax avoidance as well as to protect the destination brand from the threats of potential mal-practice. DMOs happy with the sharing economy but also obliged to play down tourism industry concerns 55
  58. 58. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board This critical equation lies at the heart of the dispute over the role of regulatory frameworks and legislation, which appear according to place-specific conditions of an economic and cultural nature. In the case of sites such as Airbnb offering short-term rentals, different destinations provide different lessons. San Francisco, Portland and Amsterdam show how the introduction of rules as the outcome of negotiations and consensus building can minimise reactions and possibly help the sharing economy become a tourist attraction in itself. On the other hand, DMOs in cities such as New York and Barcelona have recently started to shake things up and pay attention to allegations and complaints on behalf of tourism entrepreneurs and residents against the sharing economy. However, there is also the ex-ceptional case of Brazil, where the state saw the op-eration of short-term rentals for a limited period as a solution to urgent accommodation needs because of the staging of the World Cup. The common point in all cases is that sooner or later DMOs are realising they have to take a stance on the ongoing expansion of the sharing economy in tourism and hospitality. During the World Cup Brazil saw short-term rentals as a solution to urgent accommodation needs This issue is expected to stay around for a while and draw the attention of public authorities in Greece as well. In the particular case of Greece, the main challenge in developing regulations will be to provide employment opportunities for a supplementary source of income to segments of the population, which have mostly suffered since the beginning of the economic crisis, whilst at the same time, not disrupting the operation of the private sector or creating further risks for its financial performance and the respective ratio of tax revenues for the Greek government. 56
  59. 59. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board Counting Tourists or Counting Challenges? No matter how cities manage to integrate smart technologies and the sharing economy into the core of travel and tourism services, officials in top destinations will not be able to avoid removing the dust from books and studies related to concepts such as carrying capacity and levels of acceptable change. That is a rather safe pre-diction given that both the guests of the sharing economy and the waves of travellers from emerging markets will prioritise the same destinations, which account for the majority of international tourist arrivals, in their future travel lists. Recent evidence suggests this debate is already alive in destinations across the Mediterranean. In June, The Guardian33 reported concerns of residents that Barcelona along with Malaga and Palma de Mallorca have be-come victims of their own success. This situation is not a simply a matter of protecting a sector which creates jobs and operates as a source of wealth. As one of the citizens points out in the article, it is more about the iden-tification of a critical point beyond which tourism destinations are no longer places where to live in but parks of thematic experiences where visitors want to fulfil all their dreams in a limited space of time. Top Mediterranean destinations face the challenge of becoming victims of their own success 57
  60. 60. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board According to the Greek edition of Kathimerini34, a different type of allegations has emerged in the island destina-tions of Santorini and Mikonos due to the recorded growth of cruise tourism particularly since the lifting of cabo-tage restrictions. In these islands, there is consensus among tourism stakeholders over the danger of providing services of an inadequate quality to cruise passengers, but the upgrade of port infrastructure and the regulation of cruise vessels traffic are issues that mostly require the active involvement of central government agencies in Athens. Between the options of hesitating and acting, DMOs are encouraged to start making their plans sooner rather than later. What the cases of top destinations in Spain and Greece show is that the management of negative facets of tourism development will determine faster than in other areas the sector’s economic, environmental, and socio-cultural sustainability. 58
  61. 61. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board DMOs seek to consolidate their role in second-tier cities There is an explicit difference between the priorities of tourism stakeholders in top destinations and in areas with a modest success in international tourism in attracting visitors. In the first case, tourism stakeholders are overwhelmed by a broad agenda of issues and challenges such as those mentioned above, which together will determine perceptions of DMOs effectiveness, although each topic often surpasses the institutional capacity of public authorities at the local level. In the second case, it is more urgent for tourism stakeholders to examine if the availability of limited funds is use-ful to establish or sustain the operation of a DMO or not. The nature of this dilemma presupposes good knowl-edge of the changing role of DMOs. According to the first phase of an ongoing study by the Destination Market-ing Association International35, the three most important areas of activity in DMO future business models will be marketing/branding, meeting & convention sales, and social media & SEO marketing, with product development and leisure sales along with visitor servicing occupying lower levels of importance. DMO future business models will focus on: •Marketing/Branding •Meeting & Convention Sales •Social Media & SEO Marketing The idea that DMOs will prioritise communication in forthcoming years highlights the value of building a sol-id brand for each and every destination. NBC News36 in the US recently reported that DMOs in Portland, Louis-ville, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee are looking to grab their slices of the travel pie without being discouraged by the fact their cities belong to the second tier of US desti-nations. Self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses in competition along with thorough market knowledge are the most important assets for these DMOs. They focus on selling exactly what their destinations have and building a brand which resonates with consumers. Rather than competing with first-tier destinations, these DMOs see themselves and their cities as exceptional cases of unique product offerings, which appeal to both domestic and international tourists, while ambition to-gether with realism underlie their marketing efforts. Realistically speaking, however, it remains to be as-sessed how much money and time it takes before DMOs in second-tier cities around the globe develop such a realistic stance. If Peak + Skift37 are right in their conclusion that emerging destinations are everywhere due to the engaging power of local communities and tourists involved in the consumption of thematic expe-riences, DMOs are recommended to reconsider their marketing strategies and add new elements in their ef-fort to shake up the brand of their areas. 59
  62. 62. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board The Evolving Nature of the Tourist Experience The last group of trends shows how well-established perceptions of the tourism product are questioned now-adays as a result of sweeping changes in destination operations. These changes shape a new understand-ing of the interaction between destinations and tourists while occurring through the reciprocal transformation of service providers and consumers. Keeping in mind that the management of tourist expectations in terms of service quality and communication engagement will determine consumer commitment to both destinations and the individual brands of the tourism industry, there are two key lessons for the Greek tourism sector: • Stability without a strategy to add depth to the overall experience is more of a sign of stagnation rather than faith to inherent destination qualities. • The stimulation of thoughts and emotions as a key process of the consumption of tourism products and services, which increasingly involves opportunities for tourists to enjoy enhanced quality and become part of the sense of a place away from home as much as possible like a local. 60
  63. 63. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board LC go CLC: Low-cost carriers cut luxury costs Low-cost carriers are a great example of product dif-ferentiation in travel and tourism. Value for money and efficiency caused the emergence of low-cost carriers in the first place. In today’s context, however, the same keywords define the challenge of catering the needs of budget-conscious and well-informed generations of travellers while expanding from do-mestic and intra-regional to extra-regional journeys. For Amadeus and Oxford Economics38, low-cost car-riers face the paradox of outgrowing their business model and being forced to adapt because of their own success. The price to pay is that a series of chal-lenges associated with the operation of traditional airlines begin to become part of the low-cost carriers’ typical development agenda. While further growth beyond the increasingly saturated areas of short-haul markets entails higher fixed costs in relation to fleet and airport infrastructure, fierce competition in short-haul business travel drives innovation in prod-uct design and paves the way to offering enhanced travellers treatment at a reasonable price39. Millennials and the new business class travellers from emerging economies are expected to embrace this strategic orientation of low-cost carriers, proving that product differentiation and corporate flexibility are essential skills in the international market of travel and tourism insofar as globalization and internet ac-cess continue working to the benefit of travellers. 61
  64. 64. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board All-Inclusive hotels go upscale The all-inclusive industry has recently been subject to criticism Widely acknowledged as a dynamic segment of the hospitality sector worldwide, all-inclusive hotels begin to resemble the case of low-cost carries in their efforts to improve product quality and integrate more closely their accommodation establishments with the wider area of each locality. For major destinations in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, that is a crucial debate given that the all-inclusive industry has been subject to criticism by Tourism Concern40 and the Tourism Foundation41 for providing limited benefits to local economies as well as less favourable working conditions than other areas of the hospitality market. 62
  65. 65. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board In response, all-inclusive hotels are not so sceptical nowadays about what Skift42 has called ‘the rise of local in hospitality’. The idea that a sense of local culture can pervade every aspect inside all-inclusive hotels as a stimu-lus for further growth outside is no longer regarded as a contradiction in terms. It is unlikely that all-inclusive hotels will ignore the sophisticated needs of an increasing percentage of tourists who seek to combine organ-ised entertainment and favourable pricing with memorable moments that they can share through social media. An argument provided in a recent article by HotelNewsNow.com43 is that the growing expansion of international chains into the all-inclusive industry will enable the renewal of customer service perceptions and local commu-nity engagement with the potential to add value through the participation of tourists in thematic activities such as cultural tours and special events. All-inclusive hotels will not ignore the sophisticated needs of new generations of travellers The same argument also relates to the develop-ment of brands aimed at targeting specific groups of customers along with the provision of higher quality food and entertainment. For Ernst & Young44, major traditional US and European lodging brands have de-cided to step up into the all-inclusive industry with an eye on the spending habits of Millennials along with the rising middle-class from emerging economies. Some have even launched their own custom brands to cater specifically to this demographic. Currently, this is another case of product repositioning aimed at untapped market niches, with transitional phases at both ends of the travel spectrum promoting the adoption of higher quality standards. 63
  66. 66. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board Creative tourism: the bright side of cultural tourism Although talking about creativity in tourism is far from reinventing the wheel, a growing amount of work sug-gests there is nothing more old-fashioned than the belief that tourism experiences remain anchored to the silent observation of cultural sites and natural landscapes. Currently, any argument that authenticity and uniqueness derives from the exchange of ideas, skills and emotions, which together define the temporary invasion of visitors into the life of host communities, essentially implies that creativity requires more than a few visits to museums or archaeological sites along with the purchase of tasteful souvenirs. The growing passion for self-discovery is suggested to provide fertile ground for both established and emerging destinations to thrive. The growing passion of travellers for self-discovery provides fertile ground for destinations to thrive 64
  67. 67. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board Fostering a closer and more direct interaction between local people and travellers, tourism stakeholders can help the latter feel inspired by the places they visit and the people they meet, while pushing past preconceived notions of different cultures, both near and far, to become more dynamic and informed citizens45. What the re-cent study of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development46 also explains is that rather than questioning the role of cultural heritage as a vehicle for both education and recreation, creative industries add vividness and widen the scope of cultural learning particularly for those who find themselves outside their home community. The prospect of building meaningful experiences lies in the emergence of intangible cultural products and creative content through the integration of tourism with knowledge-based creative activities that link producers, consumers and places by utilising tech-nology, talent or skill. The whole idea is not short of challenges. Before trav-ellers seize the day in the place visited and dissemi-nate afterwards their unique experiences to others, their input as a vital part of the end product is impor-tant to respond to the provision of personalised ser-vices. However, in the same way that certain guests can interact and enhance the end product, they can also lower the perceived quality for others. A traveller attempting to weave a traditional carpet in a Middle East country is a case where creativity adds value to the destination product, but another hundred tour-ists doing the same thing together in an organised manner could twist the scenario and have a negative effect on the quality of tourism experience. The only certainty is that the thin line between personalization and standardisation is not yet beyond tourism indus-try preoccupations. Creative industries add vividness and widen the scope of cultural learning for travellers 65
  68. 68. Does CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board sustainability ‘sell’? A common theme in the discussion of previous trends is that the growing self-awareness and confidence of individual travellers has contributed to capacity-building for a variety of groups of travellers, who appear more empowered than ever to harness the brands of both their favourite destinations and service providers. This does not necessarily have to be a straightforward process for business sustainability. The European Tourism Futures Institute47 has noted that people as citizens are in favour of sustainable practices, but as consumers the vast majority do not want to be confronted with sustainability and the problems that relate to it. Empowered travellers harness the brands of both their favourite destinations and service providers 66
  69. 69. CHAPTER 3 | Greek Tourism & Global Trends to Take on Board As a result, the terms green-washing and grey-washing have come to a point where they both carry equally negative connotations. Green-washing denotes controversial practice whereby consumers begin to perceive products or production processes more positively on the basis of misleading information about their actual degree of sustainability. Grey-washing is a keyword for the failure of tourism industry to undertake substan-tial investments in sustainability and engage in dialogue about the subject with customers, employees, and/or stakeholders. Against this unnecessary dualism, an encouraging sign is that major industry groups such as TUI have decided to speak more openly about sustainability and put forward examples of responsible credentials48. Major industry groups such as TUI speak more openly about sustainability From the perspective of customers, however, the latest report of Blue & Green Tomorrow49 suggests a variety of questions people should ask in relation to their own behaviour (e.g. whether they contribute to water conserva-tion or if they avoid the use of plastic bags and bottles) and the practices of the destinations they visit and the brands they choose during their holidays or business trips. The power to disseminate viewpoints and impres-sions based on facts is a breakthrough for both corporate and individual responsibility in tourism development. Hence, DMOs are recommended to enrich their policy agenda and play a critical role in encouraging local entre-preneurs and residents to associate actively with visitors and help them spread the word about their areas and the achievements they have made to drive sustainability50. 67
  70. 70. Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism
  71. 71. CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism According to the analysis set out in this report, Toposophy experts have identified seven areas that the Greek tourism sector is recommended to focus on and make important steps in order to make the current growth truly sustainable. These areas are not intended to cover the full agenda of ongoing priorities; rather they outline the wider framework of policy issues which should attract the attention of all stakeholders involved in Greek tourism in the near future. 69
  72. 72. Consolidate CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism a strategic approach to tourism development The direct incorporation of strategic objectives in tourism planning in Greece is an urgent priority at both the national and regional-local level. The development of a long-term national strategy is just as important as the inclusion of its objectives inside sustainable tourism master plans that will be introduced by the empowered regional administrations and major municipalities such as the Cities of Athens and Thessaloniki. However, beforehand a great deal of research is required to shed light on various issues such as: • The indirect contribution of tourism to growth in specific economic sectors . • The travel trends of emerging markets in Greece. • The levels of satisfaction of current visitors. • The underlying causes and implications of the recent growth in the sharing economy. • The demand characteristics of all-inclusive hotels, which represent 14% of the total supply of hotel beds and approximately 11% of hotel overnights in Greece according to recent data from the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, as a means to identify drivers and explain perceptions of ‘price for value’ rather than merely condemn the phenomenon as a whole. • The return on investment of funds in advertising campaigns and B2B marketing practices including travel trade events, networking with travel bloggers, and fam trips. 70
  73. 73. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Tourism, the result would be the provision of explicit recommen-dations to individual destinations and authorities for various issues, as is the case with the efforts of re-gional airports to re-structure or expand flight con-nections to cities in Europe and elsewhere. This demonstrates that the positive coincidence of 2013 and 2014 should not be blown out of proportion. Rather, it should be monitored and assessed in the wider context of corporate strategies such as: If the above analysis is not performed, the Greek governmental authorities and other stakeholders will face significant challenges in deciding what the most appropriate course of action is to help Greece: • The continuing expansion of Ryanair’s network from the west to the east of the Mediterranean. • The ambition of airlines based in the Middle East and Southeast Asia to cope with regional competition. This is particularly important in light of the growing presence of Turkish Airlines, which is responsible for the rise of Istanbul as an Eastern Mediterranean hub. • Secure an advantageous allocation of flights between scheduled and charter airlines as well as between top and second-tier destinations in-side Greece. • Develop more flight connections with emerg-ing markets such as Russia and China. • Enhance the competitive position of the Ath-ens International Airport. CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism 71
  74. 74. CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism Make progress with massive legal reforms Tidying up and coding tourism legislation is equally important when re-considering the scope of certain regula-tions or introducing new ones, which is why the government should evaluate at this juncture certain priorities among possible actions in terms of: • Assessing obstacles and opportunities associated with the Schengen Area regulations and the potential to facilitate visa procedures in order to boost tourist arrivals from emerging markets. • Eliminating unnecessary charges on ferry tickets aimed at improving the competitive edge of the ferry industry along with customer perceptions of price and value. • Developing a better understanding of the situation with Commission Regulation No 651/2014 concerning the status of incentives for large scale investments in some areas with the highest levels of tourism development in Greece (e.g. Crete, South Aegean, the Ionian Islands, and Attica). • Building a proactive stance rather than running behind new trends in business models and consumption through the regulation of sharing economy practices in the field of tourism. • Reviewing current laws, with the aim of creating a consistent and stable taxation system. • Evaluating existing measures and penalties aimed at strengthening the state’s response to para-tourism and those service providers (e.g. owners of illegal lodges, unofficial tourist guides) which opt to ignore the statutory requirements or not to pay applicable taxes. 72
  75. 75. CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism Upgrade Infrastructure and Promote Environmental Protection Both the public and the private sector would agree that in navigating the road map of tourism develop-ment both need to be proactive in protecting natu-ral and built assets in top destinations while working νΕς New Opera Athens for a better future in undeveloped areas. As such, planning for both public and private investments in various forms of infrastructure is related to a broad agenda that also includes the following topics: • The simplification of requirements on behalf of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund for the privatisation of more than ten regional airports all over the country. • The provision of high quality on-site services and tours to cruise passengers. • The management and fast transfer of large amounts of data through the smart usage of information and communication technologies. • The establishment of good practices on green growth policies that will increase resistance to the forth coming effects of climate change. 73
  76. 76. Bridge the digital divide CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism It is essential for Greek businesses and destinations to close the gap in the usage of technology compared with the majority of countries in the European Union. Besides the development of functional and visually appealing web-sites, the scope of action in B2C marketing is wide given the wealth of opportunities provided by the applications of social media and mobile devices. The first step, however, is to gain a proper understanding of how technology has: • A profound impact upon culture and lifestyle as well as upon the interactive nature of tourist experience, whose time horizon extends nowadays long before the arrival of visitors and long after their departure. • A dramatic effect on the rise of online reputation management, with businesses following clients’ re views, reacting swiftly and sensitively to poor reviews, and building client relationships through maintaining a continuous conversation with them in the place where they are to be found: that is, online, 24/7. • A significant influence to the growth of search engine marketing including both paid search and organic search results. 74
  77. 77. Shape tourism CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism product differentiation As a response to the vague debate of alternative forms of tourism, the Greek tourism sector is recommended to learn from international experience and concentrate on product differentiation through the provision of experi-ential moments to visitors. Providing the experiential element is a matter of: • Defining the visitors’ needs and expectations based on the analysis of geo-demographic profiles and behavioural norms. • Re-packaging and selling different experiential products by identifying each destination’s unique identity and selling propositions. • Adding creativity and innovation in the production of tailor made offers with significant implications for the management of human resources. • Exploiting the communication opportunities provided by social media and mobile devices to enhance the interactive nature of tourist experience and service quality, as a matter of increasing customer awareness of the attractiveness and authenticity of the selling proposition, and responding effectively and in time to customer requests. 75
  78. 78. CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism Be smart and embrace change at the local level The range of digital tools and appli-cations should also drive a creative and active response on behalf of public authorities and tourism busi-nesses to wider social movements, which are directed at an interna-tional audience, yet they evolve in different ways at each locality. The question is not if national govern-ment and tourism stakeholders in different areas are able to address the concerns of citizens and visitors on unemployment, environmental pressures, the conservation and up-grade of cultural heritage, the use of public spaces and community engagement. Instead, a more important matter is what institutional measures, in terms of decentralising the tourism admin-istration system and strengthening the availability of financial and human resources, are necessary to enable: • The use of smart infrastructure and the integration of digital applications with the physical aspects and regular functions of urban spaces. • Crowdsourcing and the more active involvement of volunteers in activities that bring together residents and tourists. • The monitoring and evaluation of sharing economy practices which provide much-needed income to local communities in tough economic times. 76
  79. 79. Invest in Human Capital CHAPTER 4 | Seven Steps to Boosting Greek Tourism The investment of money and time implied from the previous recommendations is not going to be effec-tive and efficient in the medium- and long-term, unless there is a concerted effort to enhance the knowledge background of people involved in the Greek tourism sector. This matter goes beyond the purpose of re-search as a tool to support strategy preparation and im-plementation in tourism policy. It is more suggestive of challenges involved for destinations and businesses to stay competitive, provide high-quality services, and be aware of the dynamic environment of the international tourism market. Understanding the variety of skills as-sociated with different positions and professions, Greek tourism should welcome sooner rather than later: • The acceleration of procedures for the creation of university programmes on tourism education. • The empowerment of schools and programmes focused on professional training. • The delivery of workshops throughout the public and the private sector as a means to promote life-long learning and explaining contemporary trends (e.g. social media marketing, green growth policies, climate change effects, sharing economy practices, etc.). 77

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