Greece. Despite the financial hardships and the politics surrounding the country, Greece is known for its beautiful islands, historic sites, and rich culture (no pun intended). But in spite of the most recent financial issues in 2015, tourism has been relatively unaffected if not growing. How has the country been able to keep their tourism sector strong and what are some things that they can do to make it even stronger?
Greece is one of the most visited countries within Europe and is one of the most popular tourist sites in the world. It houses some of the world’s most ancient ruins such as the Parthenon and Delphi, as well as a vast number of beautiful beaches and islands such as Santorini and Mykonos. Tourism accounts for 17.3% of country’s GDP and represent about 19.4% of the country’s total employment.
Although the country has experienced tourism decline in the years of their economic crashes (first in 2008, then 2012), in their most recent bailout, they saw a growth in tourism with a total of over 23 million people visiting the country. Their most touristed areas ranked from high to low include Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Delphi, Rhodes, and Corfu. These areas all dominate the coast and island areas of the country.
Currently in order to promote tourism and keep the sector one of the most important to the Greek economy, the country has taken several crucial steps. Greece uses dominant social media platforms, such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, Contiki, Kayak etc., to offer deals on vacations and hotels to countries everywhere where there is a relatively high percentage of disposable income such as the US, Europe, the UK etc. Furthermore the Greece National Tourism Organization (GNTO) started a social media campaign of 7.5 million euros to use social media to target different countries and promote travel to Greece. For example they expanded their visitgreece.gr page to offer new targeted languages such as Russian, Chinese, German etc. Additionally, they created joint advertising programs with major airlines and tour operators within France, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries to facilitate more tourism growth. For example the first thing that shows up when you google ” Greece” is the KLM or Royal Dutch Airline website, promoting its travel. Additionally we are seeing a growing presence of Greece’s popularity on platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest. GNTO continues to try and propel this tourism growth by attending tourism fairs and staying relevant by maintaining chic and modern accommodations.
However, in an article written by Kyriakou, Mpregkou, Blanas, Belias, and Koustelios, they look at how tourism in the country has been affected by social media and highlight the necessary steps in order to keep their tourist growth. They state that, “research shows that tourism related enterprises and corresponding governmental units do not take full advantage of its capabilities”. Therefore in order to take advantage of those capabilities some of the tips that Greece can use to further promote tourist growth using social media is:
- Use experiential marketing. Sell the various experiences that Greece has to offer and use social medial to personalize the experience to different customers. Highlight the aspects in which travel to Greece helps people become transformed personally, emotionally, and increase their information capital all while exploring a new place.
- Use influencer marketing from YouTube. As I stated in my previous blog Youtube and the Beauty Industry , YouTube is a growing platform, with over a billion users, that has disrupted a whole industry. By incorporating travel to Greece in famous Youtber’s vlogs, conventions, and marketing trips(Such as Tarte in Bora Bora) the GNTO may be able to peak interest for tourism in a much broader target audience then what they currently have.
- Gain a stronger presence on Instagram. The visitgreecegr and discover.greece Instagram’s are both unverified and only have 199k and 72.6k respective followers whereas discover.la has over 429k followers and that magic blue check-mark. By verifying their account as well as offering deals and giveaways for hotels and airfare can help their accounts gain virality (like the Sunny Co.’s red swimsuit) and more tourists.
Therefore in order to promote tourist growth in Greece, the GNTO should continue their social media tactics as well as use the three tips I highlighted to make it a top destination in the world. AND if you haven’t already, try and take a vacation to Greece!
Below are some pictures I took on my trip in 2015