Strengths To The Tourism Industry In Greece Tourism Essay

1967 words (8 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 Tourism Reference this

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Secondly, Greece has a family-friendly environment, making it ideal for tourists of all nationalities and creeds. One of the factors that contribute to this is its hot, dry Mediterranean climate, with an average of 290 days of sunshine a year. The capital city, Athens, has an average of only seven days of rain during summer and daytime temperatures in the low thirties [4] . These ideal climate conditions make it more accessible for tourists to experience the plethora of outdoor activities that are available, from swimming at Greece’s picturesque beaches and yachting, to more rigorous activities such as mountain climbing and long-distance trekking to see some of the country’s most ancient landmarks and artefacts in the most inconspicuous locations.

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Finally, Greece has a sense of individuality and uniqueness to it. In comparison with other European countries that may claim to have a long history, Greece has one of the oldest civilisations and cultures outside of the Middle East. Infact, many historians perceive Greece as the cradle of Western civilisation, as well as the origin of democracy, the Olympic games, Western literature, political science, Western philosophy, and major scientific and mathematical principles [5] . This is validated by the fact that 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites [6] can be found around the country.

Therefore, many foreigners see the country’s rich culture and history as a major attraction that intrigues them and inspires them to visit Greece.

However, amidst the current strengths in tourism industry are some weaknesses and barriers to the tourism industry development. One of the strengths mentioned earlier has also proven to be a weakness: climate, or more precisely, seasonality problems. Mediterranean climates are characterised by hot and dry summers, and also have mild and wet winters. The peak season for travel to Greece is May-September, which is further supported by the fact that an overwhelming 75% of all tourists who travel to Greece travel during this period [7] . That means only a paltry 25% of the tourists travel between October-April. Although the cooler months in Greece don’t have sub-zero temperatures like its other Eastern European neighbours, the large amount of rain the country receives during this period serves as a deterrent for people who enjoy outdoor activities and sightseeing. Therefore, the revenue levels of a lot of local businesses that rely heavily on tourism decrease substantially during this period of time.

Another major weakness is the lack of public transport infrastructure and accessibility. While countries such as Singapore, Japan, United Kingdom and Germany have reputable public transport systems; it is a hassle to travel to some of the most majestic and beautiful parts of Greece. This is because the country as very spread out and the population density, when compared to its European counterparts, are very low, ranked 115th in the world with 85.7 people per square kilometre [8] . A lot of people may see the public transport infrastructure as a negative, because they want to travel between locations with minimal complications.

Other major weaknesses and barriers include marketing and management. Although countries like France and Germany have managed to ‘modernise’ themselves despite their long histories and have made themselves more cosmopolitan and attractive to younger people, Greece has, to a large extent, chosen to remain ‘stuck in the past’ and relied heavily on its 3500+ year history to promote its tourism industry. This is an obstacle when it comes to targeting potential tourists who may not have the same level of appreciation for things related to historical matters. In other words, Greece tourism promotion and marketing hasn’t evolved with the times, leaving potential tourists with a fixed stereotype of the country and hence little opportunity for surprise.

The weaknesses and barriers to the tourism industry development lead to an issue that may benefit the Greek tourism industry as a whole: what are the opportunities to enhance the tourism’s economic contribution? Well, as one of the weaknesses mentioned earlier, there is an opportunity to improve the public transportation. An improvement in this area could lead to a vast increase in tourism for the Greek Islands off the mainland of Greece, and overall, an increase in tourism for Greece. Places such as Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes and Kassos could all experience a large inflation in tourist numbers, hence leading to increased revenues and profits for the local businesses in those respective areas. Continued improvement in infrastructure and technology will also go a long way towards enhancing the tourism’s economic contribution. Giving the country a ‘modern appeal’ will help to counteract the weakness mentioned earlier about Greece’s outdated marketing techniques in the area of tourism promotion. Finally, a decrease in accommodation prices may lead to an influx of tourists. As we know, not everyone can afford to stay in four or five-star accommodation. In 2009, Athens was named the city with the 10th most expensive hotel prices in the world, with the average hotel in Athens costing AUD $321 a night [9] . This price is deemed to be very expensive for people in the middle and lower-class income brackets and may deter them from visiting Greece in the first place. Affordable accommodation may be able to break the mindset that Greece is an expensive place to travel.

There are various threats that need to be overcome, in order to enhance Greece’s reputation as a safe and hospitable tourist destination. The first issue is riots. Major riots occurring in December 2008 [10] and more recently, May 2010 [11] , have tarnished Greece’s reputation as a safe destination. This has had adverse effect on the tourism industry, with pre-bookings being down 8% for the peak-season in comparison to last year. With tourism being absolutely pivotal to Greece’s economy, equating to 17% of its Gross Domestic Product, any sharp decline in this amount could be detrimental to the Greek economy on a whole. Also related to the issue of safety are two terrorist attacks that occurred last year [12] 13.

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Environmental pollution is another threat to the tourism industry that needs to be confronted. This problem emanates back to the 1970s [14] , when rapid industrialisation began to take place in Greece. This industrialisation culminated in serious air pollution in Athens during the 1980s. Smog (carbon monoxide) and exhaust fumes from cars became prevalent in Athens and even resulted in 87 industries and 73 factories being order to cease production [15] , due to the government’s concerns over the effects the pollution was having on people’s respiratory systems. The widespread ramifications of this problem don’t stop there. Various species of mammals, reptiles, birds and freshwater fish are on the brink of extinction because of failure to minimise the pollution5 [16] .

The issue of political intervention appears as a threat to the tourist industry. The recent riots in May 2010 were the result of protests against the government’s austerity decisions to combat the country’s large sovereign debt levels [17] 18. Countries with political instability and countries that impose austere decisions, which are likely to lead to civil unrest, make the country less attractive to foreigners and hence will find it very difficult to attract potential tourists.

So far, we have discussed the current strengths, weakness and barriers of the Greek tourism industry, as well as potential benefits and threats that could either enhance or decimate the industry. Combining the main points discussed in this research, we can extrapolate implications for specific strategies of industry, government and the community to enhance the economic impacts of tourism in Greece. In our opinion, we believe there are three main implications.

Firstly, there should be a strategy to consolidate on the profitable and competitive Greek tourism industry, both in the short-term and more importantly, long-term future. Possible techniques to achieve this objective include improving the marketing and promotion, aim to increase levels of tourism and try to promote different types of tourism to appeal to a wider variety of people. Improvements in these areas should lead to a considerable increase in revenues and profits for businesses in Greece that rely on tourism and will allow Greece to maintain strong percentages of tourism in its GDP (as mentioned earlier, 17% of GDP in the Greek economy is derived from the tourism industry).

Secondly, there should be an increasing need to cultivate and maintain Greek tourist destinations and attractions, which thereby will lead to economic prosperity in the future. This strategy is concerned with improving the environment, public transportation infrastructure, general infrastructure and decreasing pollution. By improving the standard of public facilities, making transport more accessible for tourists and improving legislation to decrease pollution, not only will it appeal to more potential tourists, but furthermore, Greece will develop a reputation as a nation that cares for the general wellbeing of people and will take the respective measures to make a tourist’s experience as enjoyable and pleasant as possible.

Finally, there should be a strategy for improving the general satisfaction of tourists. This may be achieved through improving general services and also promoting different types of tourism for the people of varying economic backgrounds. For example, the Greek tourism industry should promote certain holiday packages for the higher-income earners who may want to experience a bit more extravagance and luxury, packages for families with small children, packages for those who are on a budget and so on. Certain types of lifestyles (attributed to the amount of money the tourist is willing to spend) should be targeted to achieve this objective.

Secondly, Greece has a family-friendly environment, making it ideal for tourists of all nationalities and creeds. One of the factors that contribute to this is its hot, dry Mediterranean climate, with an average of 290 days of sunshine a year. The capital city, Athens, has an average of only seven days of rain during summer and daytime temperatures in the low thirties [4] . These ideal climate conditions make it more accessible for tourists to experience the plethora of outdoor activities that are available, from swimming at Greece’s picturesque beaches and yachting, to more rigorous activities such as mountain climbing and long-distance trekking to see some of the country’s most ancient landmarks and artefacts in the most inconspicuous locations.

Finally, Greece has a sense of individuality and uniqueness to it. In comparison with other European countries that may claim to have a long history, Greece has one of the oldest civilisations and cultures outside of the Middle East. Infact, many historians perceive Greece as the cradle of Western civilisation, as well as the origin of democracy, the Olympic games, Western literature, political science, Western philosophy, and major scientific and mathematical principles [5] . This is validated by the fact that 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites [6] can be found around the country.

Therefore, many foreigners see the country’s rich culture and history as a major attraction that intrigues them and inspires them to visit Greece.

However, amidst the current strengths in tourism industry are some weaknesses and barriers to the tourism industry development. One of the strengths mentioned earlier has also proven to be a weakness: climate, or more precisely, seasonality problems. Mediterranean climates are characterised by hot and dry summers, and also have mild and wet winters. The peak season for travel to Greece is May-September, which is further supported by the fact that an overwhelming 75% of all tourists who travel to Greece travel during this period [7] . That means only a paltry 25% of the tourists travel between October-April. Although the cooler months in Greece don’t have sub-zero temperatures like its other Eastern European neighbours, the large amount of rain the country receives during this period serves as a deterrent for people who enjoy outdoor activities and sightseeing. Therefore, the revenue levels of a lot of local businesses that rely heavily on tourism decrease substantially during this period of time.

Another major weakness is the lack of public transport infrastructure and accessibility. While countries such as Singapore, Japan, United Kingdom and Germany have reputable public transport systems; it is a hassle to travel to some of the most majestic and beautiful parts of Greece. This is because the country as very spread out and the population density, when compared to its European counterparts, are very low, ranked 115th in the world with 85.7 people per square kilometre [8] . A lot of people may see the public transport infrastructure as a negative, because they want to travel between locations with minimal complications.

Other major weaknesses and barriers include marketing and management. Although countries like France and Germany have managed to ‘modernise’ themselves despite their long histories and have made themselves more cosmopolitan and attractive to younger people, Greece has, to a large extent, chosen to remain ‘stuck in the past’ and relied heavily on its 3500+ year history to promote its tourism industry. This is an obstacle when it comes to targeting potential tourists who may not have the same level of appreciation for things related to historical matters. In other words, Greece tourism promotion and marketing hasn’t evolved with the times, leaving potential tourists with a fixed stereotype of the country and hence little opportunity for surprise.

The weaknesses and barriers to the tourism industry development lead to an issue that may benefit the Greek tourism industry as a whole: what are the opportunities to enhance the tourism’s economic contribution? Well, as one of the weaknesses mentioned earlier, there is an opportunity to improve the public transportation. An improvement in this area could lead to a vast increase in tourism for the Greek Islands off the mainland of Greece, and overall, an increase in tourism for Greece. Places such as Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes and Kassos could all experience a large inflation in tourist numbers, hence leading to increased revenues and profits for the local businesses in those respective areas. Continued improvement in infrastructure and technology will also go a long way towards enhancing the tourism’s economic contribution. Giving the country a ‘modern appeal’ will help to counteract the weakness mentioned earlier about Greece’s outdated marketing techniques in the area of tourism promotion. Finally, a decrease in accommodation prices may lead to an influx of tourists. As we know, not everyone can afford to stay in four or five-star accommodation. In 2009, Athens was named the city with the 10th most expensive hotel prices in the world, with the average hotel in Athens costing AUD $321 a night [9] . This price is deemed to be very expensive for people in the middle and lower-class income brackets and may deter them from visiting Greece in the first place. Affordable accommodation may be able to break the mindset that Greece is an expensive place to travel.

There are various threats that need to be overcome, in order to enhance Greece’s reputation as a safe and hospitable tourist destination. The first issue is riots. Major riots occurring in December 2008 [10] and more recently, May 2010 [11] , have tarnished Greece’s reputation as a safe destination. This has had adverse effect on the tourism industry, with pre-bookings being down 8% for the peak-season in comparison to last year. With tourism being absolutely pivotal to Greece’s economy, equating to 17% of its Gross Domestic Product, any sharp decline in this amount could be detrimental to the Greek economy on a whole. Also related to the issue of safety are two terrorist attacks that occurred last year [12] 13.

Environmental pollution is another threat to the tourism industry that needs to be confronted. This problem emanates back to the 1970s [14] , when rapid industrialisation began to take place in Greece. This industrialisation culminated in serious air pollution in Athens during the 1980s. Smog (carbon monoxide) and exhaust fumes from cars became prevalent in Athens and even resulted in 87 industries and 73 factories being order to cease production [15] , due to the government’s concerns over the effects the pollution was having on people’s respiratory systems. The widespread ramifications of this problem don’t stop there. Various species of mammals, reptiles, birds and freshwater fish are on the brink of extinction because of failure to minimise the pollution5 [16] .

The issue of political intervention appears as a threat to the tourist industry. The recent riots in May 2010 were the result of protests against the government’s austerity decisions to combat the country’s large sovereign debt levels [17] 18. Countries with political instability and countries that impose austere decisions, which are likely to lead to civil unrest, make the country less attractive to foreigners and hence will find it very difficult to attract potential tourists.

So far, we have discussed the current strengths, weakness and barriers of the Greek tourism industry, as well as potential benefits and threats that could either enhance or decimate the industry. Combining the main points discussed in this research, we can extrapolate implications for specific strategies of industry, government and the community to enhance the economic impacts of tourism in Greece. In our opinion, we believe there are three main implications.

Firstly, there should be a strategy to consolidate on the profitable and competitive Greek tourism industry, both in the short-term and more importantly, long-term future. Possible techniques to achieve this objective include improving the marketing and promotion, aim to increase levels of tourism and try to promote different types of tourism to appeal to a wider variety of people. Improvements in these areas should lead to a considerable increase in revenues and profits for businesses in Greece that rely on tourism and will allow Greece to maintain strong percentages of tourism in its GDP (as mentioned earlier, 17% of GDP in the Greek economy is derived from the tourism industry).

Secondly, there should be an increasing need to cultivate and maintain Greek tourist destinations and attractions, which thereby will lead to economic prosperity in the future. This strategy is concerned with improving the environment, public transportation infrastructure, general infrastructure and decreasing pollution. By improving the standard of public facilities, making transport more accessible for tourists and improving legislation to decrease pollution, not only will it appeal to more potential tourists, but furthermore, Greece will develop a reputation as a nation that cares for the general wellbeing of people and will take the respective measures to make a tourist’s experience as enjoyable and pleasant as possible.

Finally, there should be a strategy for improving the general satisfaction of tourists. This may be achieved through improving general services and also promoting different types of tourism for the people of varying economic backgrounds. For example, the Greek tourism industry should promote certain holiday packages for the higher-income earners who may want to experience a bit more extravagance and luxury, packages for families with small children, packages for those who are on a budget and so on. Certain types of lifestyles (attributed to the amount of money the tourist is willing to spend) should be targeted to achieve this objective.

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