Greece has enjoyed a reputation as one of the prime tourism destinations in the world during the last two decades. Despite the fact that Greece's tourism sector is set for a couple of difficult years ahead with the global economic downturn and the international fear of the H1N1 virus hitting the industry hard, further threatening the country's fragile economy, Greece has no option but to remain optimistic about its tourism evolution.
Greece continues to be a preferred tourism destination because of its safe, low-crime, tourist-friendly environment. In addition, the successful Olympic Summer Games that Greece hosted in 2004 brought increased optimism regarding the future of the Greek tourism sector. Indeed, since the travel and tourism market affects, directly and indirectly, all sectors of the Greek national economy, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that the real impact of the industry accounts for 14.5% of Greece's GDP and represents over 16.5% of total employment.
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This study is divided into four chapters. The first chapter of the project defines tourism and outlines the significance and importance of tourism using material of classic text. Produces different definitions of Tourisms and help us to understand Tourism as an International Phenomenon, as well as the Tourist product itself. We also discuss the political significance, educational significance, cultural significance and economic and social significance of Tourism.
The second chapter tries to analyze and appraise the current situation of the Greek tourist industry and in detail produce a statistical analysis which shows the market structure, the types of holidays, the holiday facilities and the different types of tourists in Greece.
The third chapter focuses on the prospects and new trends of the Greek Tourist industry and on the different strategic objectives and planning initiatives necessary for a competitive tourist industry. It is a fact that tourism is fundamental to the Greek economy and revenue from the industry helps to offset an otherwise adverse balance of payment because of the absence of heavy and competitive industry and the present and unfortunately long-lasting crisis in the shipping industry. Bearing in mind and despite the ever-changing tourist environment (strong euro, weak British sterling and American dollar) the future of the industry is optimistic and the forecasts favorable but pitfalls are always there.
It is also tried to give a picture of the changing face of tourism in Greece, its potential and its future by discussing the alternative forms of Tourism. With the term «alternative tourism» or «tourism of specified interests» we define the summation of the completed tourism services, which are characterized by specialized work according to the specific needs and preferences of their customs, apply to a specialized public and count on ecologically permissible and mild activities, while they show off the natural beauties of the landscape without destroying it. Such sort of tourism is the Rural Agrotourism, the Cultural, Ecological Tourism e.t.c
The forth chapter discusses a marketing analysis and planning, that focuses on the characteristics of the Greek islands and Greek coastal line, using the information, data and analysis of the previous chapters.
Finally the conclusion summarizes the main points of all chapters and outlines the different factors which are very important and which dictate the tourism development in Greece. Tourism development is a very sensitive subject with several uncertainties. In addition, sufficient attention is not always given to the various problems that arise nor to the integration of tourism into the whole economy and society.
DEFINITIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE OF TOURISM
The first chapter of the project defines tourism and outlines the significance and importance of tourism. Produces different definitions of Tourisms and help us to understand Tourism as an International Phenomenon, as well as the Tourist product itself. We also discuss the political significance, educational significance, cultural significance and economic and social significance of Tourism.
In a project dealing with tourism, it is sensible to begin by defining Tourism, before we go on to examine the different forms which tourism can take and the statistics related to it. In fact, the task of defining tourism is not as easy as it may appear and can be rather confusing and complicated.
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While it is relatively easy to agree on technical definition of particular categories of tourism or tourist, the wider concept is ill-defined. Firstly, it is important to recognize that tourism is just one form of recreation, along with sports activities, hobbies and all of these are discretionary uses of our leisure time. Tourism usually incurs expenditure, although not necessarily so. A cyclist or a hiker, out for a camping week-end, carrying his own food, may contribute nothing to the tourism revenue of a region.
Tourism is further defined as the movement of people away from their normal place of residence. But again, we must specify how far people must be expected to travel before they can be counted as tourists.
One of the first attempts to define tourism was that of Professors Hunziker and Krapf of Berue University. They said that tourism should be defined as "the sum of phenomena and relationships arising from the travel and stay of nonresidents, in so far as they do not lead to permanent residence and are not connected to any earning activity". This definition helps to distinguish tourism from migrating, but it makes the assumption that it must necessarily include both travel and stay, thus precluding day tours. The weakness of this definition is that it appears not to include business travel, because it is connected with an income activity, even if that income is not earned in the destination country.
In 1937 the League of Nations recommended a definition of "tourist" as one who travels for a period of 24 hours or more in a country other than that in which he usually resides. This was held to include persons traveling for pleasure, domestic reasons or health, persons traveling to a meeting or on business and persons visiting a country on a cruise level (even if for less than 24 hours). The principle weakness here is that it ignores the movement of domestic tourism. At the United Nations Conference on International Travel and Tourism, held in Rome in 1963 they considered recommendations put forward by the IOUTO (now the World Tourist Organizations) and agreed to the term "visitors" to describe "any person visiting a country other than that in which he has his usual place of residence, for any reason other than following an occupation, remunerated from within the country visited".
This definition was to cover two types of visitors.
- Tourists who are classed as temporary visitors staying at least 24 hours, whose purpose could be classified as leisure (whether for recreation, health, sport, holiday, study or religion) or business, family, mission or meeting;
- Excursionists, who were classed as temporary visitors staying less than 24 hours, including cruise travelers but excluding travelers in transit.
A working party for the proposed Institute of Tourism in Britain (now Tourism Society) attempted to clarify the concept and reported in 1976: "Tourism is the temporary short-term movement of people to destinations outside the places where they normally live and work, and activities during their stay at these destinations; it includes movement for all purposes, as well as day visits or excursions."
This broader definition was reformulated slightly without losing any of its simplicity at the International Conference on Leisure - Recreation - Tourism, held by the Tourism Society in Cardiff in 1981: "Tourism may be defined in terms of particular activities selected by choice and undertaken outside the home environment. Tourism may or may not involve overnight stays away from home."
Significance of Tourism
Tourism brings together people of different countries and backgrounds, has a political significance, educational significance, cultural significance and economic and social significance. The degree of significance achieved depends on the opportunities offered to tourists to meet freely with nationals of the host countries and the ability to converse in the relevant languages. In the ideal situation, tourism enhances awareness, knowledge and ultimately understanding between people of different nationalities. The importance of tourism was underlined by the United Nations resolution that "Tourism is a basic and most desirable human activity deserving the praise and encouragement of all people and all governments."
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In creating a better appreciation of other people's ways of life and institutions tourism may create goodwill for a country. Each year many tourists travel to participate in particular events ranging from congress to athletic events. Their visits also provide opportunities to improve co-operation as well as to project an image of a country to the outside world.
When traveling away from home, tourists come into contact with the places they visit and with the people living there and social exchange takes place. Their presence and their social background affect the social structure and way of life at the destination. Tourists are in turn affected by the experience and often carry back home with them new habits and a new outlook on life.
Tourism has an educational significance. In the widest sense it has altogether beneficial effects which bring contact between people of different races and nationalities. In a narrower sense, much tourist activity takes the form of study trips and attendance at courses and conferences with specified educational aims in view.
Tourism is often accompanied by cultural exchanges and by cultural enrichment of those who travel as well as those at the receiving end. Cultural factors attract tourists to destinations - architecture, historical monuments and birthplaces of famous people- are some places visited by tourists; festivals and exhibitions rely heavily on visitor traffic for their audience and attendance.
In bringing together people of different backgrounds from different countries it therefore has a political and social significance. But the manifold significance of tourism does not arise only when people visit other countries. Internal, domestic tourism promotes similar interaction, between people and places to that knowledge and awareness which may enhance understanding.
The main economic significance of tourism - thus money earned in places of normal residence is spent in places visited - is common to all tourism, whether international or domestic. Each year vast sums of money are transferred from the economies in which they are earned, to economies in receiving areas where they provide a source of income, a means of livelihood and amenities for the resident population. The outstanding economic effect of tourism lies in the purchasing power generated in receiving areas through the expenditure of visitors who tend to spend at a much higher rate than when they are at home. The flow of money generated by tourist expenditure finds its way into the overall economy of the tourist destination as the money is turned over and re-spent.
But international tourist expenditure introduces an additional aspect of economic significance as countries which are separate political and economic entities have to balance their transactions with the rest of the world. International tourism, therefore, enters into the balance of payments accounts of individual countries and is of major significance in international trade for countries which generate tourist traffic, it represents an import in much the same way as do the importing of merchandise. For countries receiving tourist traffic, it represents an export in much the same way as do the exports of merchandise. Globally, tourism constitutes a major item in the world which has shown a much faster rate of growth in recent years than world trade in goods. Tourism as a source of employment is particularly important for areas with limited alternative sources of employment .as is often the case in non-industrial areas like Greece, deficiencies in natural resources other than diverse and scenic attractions.
In addition to being a source of income and employment, tourism is frequently a source of amenity for the resident population of the tourist destination. The provision of income, jobs, and amenities for the resident population may be regarded as the main three beneficial effects of tourism which applies to a greater or lesser extent to any tourist destination.
They are of particular significance to developing countries like Greece and to rural regions of the country. In comparison with other forms of economic development an improvement in living standards may be generated through tourism and its expenditure relatively quickly. No sophisticated technology is required to establish the basic facilities. As much of the industry is labour-intensive, tourism can absorb unemployed labour resources, which is particularly valuable in areas with surplus unskilled labour. Many operational skills are relatively simple and can be rapidly developed by inhabitants. To say this, is not to minimize the amount and quality of planning required to establish a tourist industry in a new area but to indicate some of the advantages and attractions it may have as compared with other types of developments.
The challenge is clear for a region to decide:
- Whether it wishes to become a tourist destination.
- How to maximize the economic and other advantages of tourism.
- How to manage the problems and changes from the growth and development of tourism.
GREEK TOURISM ANALYSIS
The second chapter tries to analyze and appraise the current situation of the Greek tourist industry and in detail produce a statistical analysis which shows the market structure, the types of holidays, the holiday facilities and the different types of tourists in Greece. The statistical data that will be collected from the different sources is going to be analyzed in order to specify the characteristics of Greek tourism, and the preferences and particulars of the tourists. Further on in the project this data will be used in order to conduct a development plan for the Greek s tourism and a marketing analysis. Special attention will be given to the islands and coastal areas of Greece.
TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN GREECE
In Greece the Tourism development started after the end of the Second World War. The tourism arrivals from 210.000 in 1956 were increased to 8.351.000 in 1988 and to 18,754,593 in 2007. The 85% of the tourism movement takes place on May-October while the full months, when the 50% of the tourists visits our country, are July, August and September which demonstrates intensively the seasonal characteristic of tourism in Greece. The specific data concern mainly coast areas and islands, which either are specialized in foreign tourism and possess big hotel units, or are specialized in local tourism, mainly under the form of summer residence. The visitors in Greece come mainly from Europe and especially, from countries of the European Union (Germans and British) and, in a smaller percentage, from N.America. Thus, we notice the dependence on the international tourism in our country. The main tourism destinations are: Rhodes, Corfu, Crete, Calchidiki, Mikonos and Santorini as well as Attica (Athens) - however lately there is a series of other smaller destinations.
The large number of islands, the archaeological and historical sites in combination with the excellent weather conditions, constitutes some of the most important elements of Greek tourism, which have played a significant role in the country's effort to attract more international tourists and establish Greece as a country unique in welcoming and providing hospitality services to them. However, all the elements of tourism mentioned above combined with establishments, infrastructure and an 'ideal' picture of tourism in the country have certain vulnerable points, which should be attributed to the uncontrolled, unscheduled and sometimes anarchic tourism development of the country dating back to the '70s and early '80s.
Despite all problems, however, tourism has managed to put Greece in the list of those host countries, which attract the greatest numbers of international tourists and receive the largest revenue from tourism while its contribution to the gross national product is approximately between and 10%, and to the domestic product approximately 14%.
ECONOMIC AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT OF THE GREEK ISLANDS AND COASTAL AREAS
Geographically, the numerous Greek islands have their own particular characteristics. It would be no exaggeration to support the view that insular Greece has a 'Polynesian character', since 20% of its ground consists of big, medium and small, developed or underdeveloped, inhabited or uninhabited islands. Greece has 227 inhabited islands in all, 164 of which are in the Aegean Sea. According to the official census of the National Statistical Organization of Greece, in 1991 only 78 of these islands were inhabited by more than 100 people and 1600 Km coastal line.
Despite the fact that there has recently been a growing concern about the economic development and modernization of the country's regions, it cannot be supported that considerable accomplishments have been made toward that direction. Especially as concerns the islands, it should be pointed out that the effort for their economic development and growth has always focused on tourism, mainly due to an inability to expand present economic activities or develop new ones.
The Greek islands of the Aegean Sea and the Ionian Sea and the coastal line areas have undoubtedly set quite significant tourism goals and are greatly attractive to tourists. The tourism development on those areas is of two kinds, there are those , such as Crete, Rhodes, Chalkidiki and Corfu, which seek to attract tourists, package tour buyers, and others which seek to attract individual tourists, non package tour buyers, travelling usually from one island to the next, from one place to an other.
There are Greek islands, which have achieved both economic and tourism development faster than others. Most of them are part of an insular complex and, naturally, income per capita and therefore the standard of living of the inhabitants is higher compared to other islands. Generally speaking, tourism in most Greek islands is a developing economic activity, and those involved directly or indirectly in the production and promotion of tourism goods and services, i.e. tourism demand, take advantage of it.
However, apart from tourism, certain islands have developed other economic activities equally well. That means tourism on those islands has not been developed unilaterally against other economic activities, but in a balanced and harmonious way.
Undoubtedly most of the Greek islands should develop new economic activities wherever possible, as well as alternative forms of tourism, which can contribute to strengthening their economies and generally to a further economic development and evolution. Those islands, however, which have a limited economic activity and no possibility of development or expansion, should focus on a tourism development within their limits. To achieve this, however, certain prerequisites will have to be set. In other words, what they need is the necessary tourism infrastructure and superstructure, and then they will have to choose the right alternative form of tourism development.
GREEK TOURISM STATISTICAL DATA ANALYSIS
General Tourism Characteristics analysis
- Entry Points analysis
- Foreign tourists by nationality and country of permanent residence analysis
- Purpose of visits (Principal reason) analysis
- Type of accommodation analysis
- Average duration of stay analysis
- Average expenditure per person in € analysis
The statistical data by G.N.T.O (Greek National Tourist Organization) was carried out at the Greek airports (Athens, zakynthos, Iraklio, Thessalonica, Kavala, Kerkyra, Kefallinia, Kos, Mykonos, Rodos, Samos, Thira, Skiathos, Chania, Other Places), the Greek seaport (Elefsina, Igoumenitsa, Iraklio, Thessaloniki, Kerkyra, Patra, Rodos, Pireas, Other Places), the road crossing points (Doirani - Kilkis, Evzoni- Kilkis, Kakavia -Ioannina, Kastaneae -Evros, Kipi- Evros, Krystallopogi - Florina, Niki- Florina, Ormenio - Evros, Promachon- Serres, Sagiada - Thesprotia) and the train stations(Dikea - Evros, Idomeni- Kilkis, Promachon- Serres, Pythio- Evros) . In this way, the survey covered all those tourist who came to the country by air, by sea, by train and by road.
Of the total tourist in 20007 68,51% (in 2006 71.76%) came by plane, 24,86% (in 2006 21,45) by road, 6,09 (in 2006 6,30) by boat and the remaining 0,54% (in 2006 0,49) by train.
The airports of Athens and Iraklion showed the greatest amount of traffic (22,10% and 11,91% respectively). Next in order of magnitude were Rhodes (7,91%) and Corfu (4,79%).
Arrivals from Europe, which holds the biggest share of the tourist market (92.7%), showed an increase by 9.9% in comparison with 2006. Arrivals from the European Union increased by 20%. This growth arises from the fact that the total of the European Union includes for 2007, the two member states, Bulgaria and Romania. The majority of foreigners, who are EU citizens, like 2006, came from the UK (15%), Germany (12.9%) and Italy (6.6%). In comparison with the previous year and taking into account the share they hold in the total arrivals, the highest increase is presented in the two members, Bulgaria (62.4%) and Romania (83.1%). Concerning the other European Union countries, there are some minor changes in Germany and UK, a remarkable increase by 5.9% in Netherlands and a reduction by 2.6% in Italy. In the other continents there is a significant increase in the countries of America (12.9%) and remarkable reductions in Asia (-6.1%), Africa (-9.3%) and Oceania (-6.1%).
Holidays, business or visiting friends and/or relatives are the main factors which decisively influence the decision of travel. The survey data suggests that 83% of tourists came to Greece just for holidays. With regard to the nationality of those who declared "holiday" the data attributed the highest percentage to the Norwegians (92%) followed by the Austrians (91%), the Swiss and the British (89%), the Dutch (83%) and so on.
Business as an exclusive reason for visiting Greece accounted for only 7%-of all respondents. Visiting relatives or a combination of holidays and visiting relatives were reasons cited mostly by Americans, (8%) and Australians (7%) and more specifically persons of Greek origin who come to spend their holiday and at the same time visiting their relatives.
The survey showed that 63% of all tourists stayed in hotel-type accommodation (this included apartments). 29% in villas, rented rooms and campsites, 4% with friends and relatives and the remaining 3% in other places (ship, under the stars, etc. etc,) and 1% were transit passengers.
Foreigners' preferences with regard to class of hotel showed 33% opting for luxury (five star and ?' class hotels), approximately 30% for intermediate class hotels and the remainder for lower class hotels.
In terms of nationality, 58% of the British stayed in hotels and the rest in villas, rented rooms and campsites. Of the British who stayed in hotels, 32% chose luxury and 'A' class hotels and 26% chose intermediate class hotels. A significant percentage 13%) stayed in furnished apartments while 10% plumped for villa and country houses.
In calculating the length of stay in Greece we took into consideration the tourists' dates of arrivals and departures. An analysis of the relevant data showed that the largest percentage of tourists (35%) stayed in Greece for between 11 and 14 days, whereas 18% stayed for 15 to 21 days, 36% for less than 10 days and the remaining 11% for more than 22 days. From this distribution we calculated that the average length of stay in each phase of the survey was I4 days.
The average duration of stay has risen by approximately 1.5 days over the last 6 years. This is because over this time period the number of tourists arriving on charter flights has increased and most of them stay for more than 13 days. The length of stay varied according to nationality, thus 53% of British, 48 of Norwegians, 47% of Swiss and 38% of Germans stayed in Greece for approximately 2 weeks.
During his stay in Greece, according to statistics from the Bank of Greece, each foreigner spends an average of 74,3€ per day and 847,3€ per stay.
It is interesting to look at the average daily expenditure by nationality. Below, I present the percentage of the various nationalities per category of average daily expenditure and expenditure per stay.
TOURISTS' CHARACTERISTICS ANALYSIS
- Sex and age analysis
- Occupational Grouping analysis
- Tourist preferences by occupation and type and class of accommodation analysis
- Cost of stay analysis
- Reasons for choosing Greece as a holiday destination analysis
- Publicity media and other factors influencing tourists' choice of Greece on their first visit analysis
- Places visited and stayed at analysis
- Tourist Mobility within Greece analysis
- Previous visits analysis
- Foreign Tourists' Impressions analysis
The distribution by gender of the surveys respondents showed 9% imbalance in favors of the men. Thus, out of the total number of respondents, 54·5% were male and 45.5% female. The distribution by age statistics shows the 16-25 and the 26-40 age brackets predominating with 32% and 38% respectively.
The distribution by gender and age produced a different picture, 41% of male respondents were in the 26-40 age bracket, whereas 30% were aged 41 to 65. Conversely, 33% of women were between 16 and 25 years of age, while 36% were between 26 and 40 years.
Male tourists from the following- countries outnumbered their distaff compatriots by the following ratios:
Yugoslavs: 77.3 : 32.7
Dutch: 57·3 : 42.7
Austrians: 57.2 : 42.8
Italians: 55-3 : 46.6
British : 55.1 : 44·9
Germany: 55.1 : 44.9
In the analysis of the occupation groupings, use was made of the international double digit coding system to identify particular types of occupations. More specifically, the following occupational groupings were used:
0 Engineers, Chemists, Teachers, Agronomists, Doctors,
Lawyers, Economists, ·Accountants, Journalists, Artist
(Commercial, applied and fine arts).
1 Managers and Senior Cadres (In public authority organizations and businesses).
2 Office employees (In the Civil Service organizations and businesses) .
3 Traders and sales people.
5 Unspecified professions.
6 Those engaged in the communications sectors (Seamen, Airline personnel, road and rail transport workers, Post Office and telephone workers, etc., etc.)
7 Craftsmen (and blue collar workers).
8 Those employed in the service industries (Barbers, photographers, hotel staff, etc.)
9 Other unclassifiable occupations (Armed Forces, etc)
37% of the British tourists fall into Group ? (Engineers and professionals) and 14% into Group 4 (Students). This means that more than half of the total number of tourists visiting Greece belongs to the occupational grouping with an above-average level of culture. Group 2 members (Office employees) also accounted for a significant part (14%) of all tourists. The remaining occupational groupings represented 35% of the total and their distribution was virtually uniform.
The results of the survey showed 37% of the managerial class stayed in four star hotels, whereas 21% stayed in five star hotels. Students, not unexpectedly, showed a marked preference (39%) for pensions, hostels, boarding houses, rented rooms and campsites.
A' Class hotels absorbed 33% of those respondents who did not specify professions (groups) and 28% of trade and sales people.
34% of office staff, craftsmen and laborers stayed in intermediate class accommodation, whereas the respective figure for those in the engineering sector, the professional and the Civil Service was 31%. Of the self-employed, 7% stayed with friends and relatives, while 5% of those engaged in the transport and accommodation industry stayed in other forms of lodging (ships, etc.)
More than half (55%) of all the tourists polled come to Greece on a packaged holiday. 66% of the British asked to comment on the cost of their stay in Greece found it reasonable and within their budget, 25% thought it low (cheap) and only 5% found it high (expensive).
The climate and the classical sights were the principal reasons (75%) given by British queried for choosing Greece for a holiday.
An analysis of the data shows that 32% of the tourists visiting Greece for the first time acquired information on .the country from friends and relatives. This conclusion is particularly significant as it shows that a large proportion of first-time visitors to Greece go home satisfied and recommend Greece as an ideal holiday destination to their friends and relatives.
The second most important source of information was travel agents, who influenced 40% of the British.
Publicity (Newspapers, magazines, radio, Internet etc.) acquainted 49% of all British with Greece, other sources (Posters, books etc.) accounted for 7%·
Finally, 17% had heard about Greece from more than one source (e.g., friends, internet and media).
The statistics say, 33% stayed in the greater Athens area, (Athens, Piraeus, Attica coasts, Saronic Gulf Island). Other main areas of preference were Rhodes (25%), Crete (21%) the Peloponnesian and Ionian Islands (Corfu excepted) 17%. The Cyclades 14% and Corfu 14%. The favorite destinations of the British continues to be Corfu (40%) followed by Rhodes (26%), Crete (19%) and the Athens region (15%).
As regards tourist mobility during the period of the survey, the following was observed: Every tourist polled on average visited and stayed in 1.5 places. More specifically 66% of the tourists visited and stayed in only one area, 19% stayed in two and the remaining 15%' in three and more than three areas.
In terms of nationality, 87% of the British stayed in one area. This virtual immobility on the part of the British is due to the fact that as the majority of British holiday makers come to Greece on organized charter flights, they do not stay far from their resort area.
Following the British in the immobility stakes are the Japanese (85%) the Norwegians and the Swedes (84%), the Yugoslavs (77%) and the Austrians with (72%). Finally, more than one area was visited by the Spaniards (72%), the Canadians (70%), the Americans (64%), the French (62%), the Italians (52%) and so on.
58% of the tourists surveyed were visiting Greece for the first time since a 2007, whereas the remaining 42% had been to Greece more than once before. This fact is particularly significant as these people constitute a living and productive advertisement of Greece abroad with all that entails in terms of positive and beneficial tourist flows.
Of the tourists who had visited Greece before since 2007, 17% were returning for the second time, 11% for the third time, 6% for the fourth time and the remaining 8% for the fifth or more time.
The greatest number of repeat visits to Greece was made by the Yugoslavs, of whom 66% had visited Greece more than once before.
Following them, in terms of % of the total number of a country visitors were the British (53%), the Austrians (50%), the Swedes (45%), the Germans, Swiss and Dutch with 44% and so on.
Judging by the answers given to the relevant questions, as well as the opinions and impressions noted by the respondent, it appears that a large majority (67%) had no complaints about Greece, while 33% noted deficiencies in various tourist services.
The complaints registered were diverse to categorize neatly. However, the most frequent complaint had to do with the hotels breakfast, the state of some public facilities, generally toilets in railway stations and elsewhere, dirty beaches, etc. Dissatisfaction was also noted with the poor condition of the means of public transport, delays, a lack of consistence in tour operator and travel agencies' arrangements and museum opening times.
From the sum of all the comments on the various tourists services rendered the following are worthy of note:
- A rating of 'Very Good' was awarded by 33%; of the respondents to Greek hotels, by 13% to restaurants and taverns, by 10% to tourist shops, by 7% to travel agencies, by 27% to means of transport and by 6% to standards of hygiene and other tourist services.
- A rating of "Good" was given by 27% of the respondents to hotels, by 13% to restaurants and taverns, by 12% to tourist shops, by 8% to travel agencies, by 23% to means of transport, by 8% to standards of hygiene and by 9% to other tourist services.
- A rating of 'Average' was given by 30% to hotels, by 7% to restaurants and tavernas, by 12% to tourist shops, by 7% to travel agencies, by 20% to means of transport, by 17% to standards of hygiene and by 7% to other tourist services.
- Finally, 'Poor' rating was given to hotels by 27%, to restaurants and tavernas by 2%, to travel agencies by 6%, to standards of hygiene by 33%, to tourist shops by 7% and to other tourist services by 4%.
In terms of nationality, the most satisfied were the French (78%), followed by the Swedes (76%), Austrians (75%), Italians (74%), the Belgians and Norwegians (73%) and the Swiss and Japanese (70%).
On the other hand, the least satisfied were the Spaniards (44%), Dutch (42%), Germans (40%), the British (39%) and other nationalities.
Finally, the distribution of complaints made by tourists differed according to the exit points covered by the survey. More specifically, the smallest % of complaints (19.8%) was registered at the road border point. Next were the airports of Rhodes (27.6%), Iraklion (33·8%), the seaport of Patra (34, 6%), Athens airport (36.2%) and lastly the airport of Corfu (30.7%).
PROSPECTS OF THE GREEK TOURIST INDUSTRY AND ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF TOURISM
The third chapter focuses on the prospects and new trends of the Greek Tourist industry and on the different strategic objectives and planning initiatives necessary for a competitive tourist industry.
A picture of the changing face of tourism in Greece, its potential and its future will be proposed, by discussing the alternative forms of Tourism. With the term «alternative tourism» or «tourism of specified interests» we define the summation of the completed tourism services, which are characterized by specialized work according to the specific needs and preferences of their customs, apply to a specialized public and count on ecologically permissible and mild activities, while they show off the natural beauties of the landscape without destroying it. Such sort of tourism is the Rural Agrotourism, the Cultural, Ecological Tourism e.t.c
PROSPECTS OF THE GREEK TOURIST INDUSTRY
The major goals of Greek tourist policy are the creating of a competitive and efficient tourist industry and the balanced development of tourism in relation to other sections of the economy.
Some of the strategic aims that policies should be aiming to include:
- Increased competitiveness.
- Upgraded services.
- Introduction of incentives to encourage the development of new poles of tourist attraction.
- Reshuffling of tourist supply and demand to new outlying areas
- Protection of cultural environment. .
- Ending development in saturated areas.'
- Extending the tourist season.
- Promoting of new forms of tourism.
- Strengthening of domestic and social tourism.
- Review the updating of the legislative framework governing the tourist sector.
- Reorganization and decentralization of the national tourist organization services.
- Education and training of those entering or involved in the tourist industry.
- The intensification of advertising, promoting tourism both within Greece and abroad.
It is obvious that the above strategic aims that policies reflect an attempt to confront problems already existing in Greek tourism which are related to the seasonal and regional distribution of demand, the rendering of services and the way that tourist sector is organized and run.
Mechanisms for making these goals a reality take the form of legislative and economic measures referring to administrative organization, incentives to stimulate private initiatives and tourist development projects.
The European and national guidelines regarding tourist development provide the general framework for reinforcing investment in the tourist sector. The number of investments coming under this framework in the past decade is considered more than satisfactory.
European and national incentives and the Greek banking system offer support to such investments.
As far as these provisions are concerned, the G.N.T.O. (Greek National Tourism Organisation) feels that investments should be directed at:
- Strengthening tourist establishments which contribute to the development of special forms of tourism (Agrotourism, cultural, ski centers, etc)
- Enriching facilities offered (supplementary cultural installations etc.)
- Boosting frontier districts.
- Encouraging the creation of tourist enterprises by local authorities and organizations.
- Discouraging the creation of new sites in saturated areas through the denial of applications or withholding of financing.
- Incentives to convert traditional building into tourist accommodation.
- The awarding of loan should also depend on the viability of the units, the suitability of the enterprises and the usual criteria employed to evaluate tourist investments.
THE CHANGING FACE OF TOURISM - ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF TOURISM
Tourism seems to be changing as far as the demands of world tourism is concerned. The tourist-consumer is no longer satisfied simply with the lure of hot sun and clean seas and is steadily moving towards other ways of spending his/her spare time.
Under these circumstances, the contemporary tourist industry has no choice but to start to exploit new possibilities and to promote options that have been overlooked in the past, such as alternative forms of tourism that focus on interest in ecology, rural life, education, culture, history, mountaineering and so forth.
In Greece, over the past few years, an attempt is being made to change the identity of tourism by shifting the emphasis from foreign exchange to development of the human centered element, while at the same time proceeding along conventional lines. With the development of these alternative forms of tourism, the human dimension and its cultural and civilizing roles are stressed.
In doing so, the policy makers on tourism must aim to:
- Offer foreign tourists higher quality holidays, that recreation will give them the chance to establish a more positive contact with natives as well as a closer and substantial acquaintance with the Greek people, their customs, way of life and traditions.
- Contribute to the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the country,
The development of alternative forms of tourism is the answer to the above question. The different parties involved in Tourism development such as the state, tourist agencies and the tourist business have come to realize that alternative tourism is an industry in the sense of a modern activity, deliberately organized with the aim of producing a marketed product. (bibliography)
The most central element is probably community participation, which is felt to be a prerequisite for the sustainability of all tourism projects. The positive development is furthermore enhanced by the fact that local people are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers posed by environmental degradation.
Tourism should be promoted only in so far as it brings the host population the desired economic benefits, above all in the form of incomes and jobs, where this benefit is of a durable nature and does not have an adverse effect on the other qualities of life. A detailed report about the effects of the project (a cost/benefit analysis, including the economic, social and environmental effects) must be submitted before its implementation.
A successful tourism program must furthermore bring direct assistance, contribute to the well being and improve the quality of the life of the population involved. This is the key to bridge the gap between awareness and action. The solutions recommended must be able to satisfy the essential needs for socio-economic survival, and the need for better protection and management of environmental resources must be made more understandable and more acceptable to populations, tourism policy makers and business.
The special and alternative forms of tourism may be developed in Greece are analysed below with some of the prerequisites - strategic aims, which should be in force in order these alternative forms of tourist materialised and produce results.
- Ecological tourism
Common features of all the special alternative forms of tourism are the possibility for their harmonious integration into the environment and their emphasis on the human factor. To be more specific, the development of ecological tourism provides is the promotion of Greece's rare habitats, thus ensuring their protection. Contrary to popular belief, the development of tourism in sensitive environments can contribute towards the preservation of their ecological balance, while neglect, far from being beneficial, leads to their degradation and eventual destruction.
Furthermore, within, the framework of a programme of Ecological tourism, the creation of a Centre for Ecological Research in places of Ecological interest will assist both research and education, in addition to tourism, by attracting groups from universities and other organizations with special interest in ecology and the environment. Another feature of a programme of Ecological Tourism is the "revival of historic paths" in districts of particular ecological and historical significance.
Obviously, Ecological tourism is also directed at serving many other groups of tourist, such as nature lovers, mountain climbers and others with similar educational motives. It should be noted the specific regions of natural beauty especially the mountainous ones and the islands face serious economic and demographic problems. I believe that the upgrading of these regions for tourism will end their long lasting isolation and will help to bring about a rise in their standard of living, creating the preconditions necessary for the returning of younger people by creating successful business in tourism.
Also enormous are the possibilities of promoting hiking as a form of tourism that respects and enhances the environment. This activity has not been explored in Greece though, it has been developed in other countries having fewer environmental resources.
The G.N.T.O (Greek National Tourism Organisation), the Ministry of Agriculture and interested non-profit making groups (excursion clubs, mountaineering associations) can seek ways of developing and promoting ecological tourism.
- Providing special installations to develop 'active' holidays' with specific activities, like bird-watching, mountain-cycling, trekking, kayaking, canoeing; mountaineering; hang-gliding; skin-diving; snorkelling etc.
- Discovering 'virgin' areas which have not enjoyed high tourist development as yet.
- Educating and training escorts.
- Planning, promoting and projecting special nature-exploring routes.
- Providing promotion activities (e.g. guide-material) of tourist areas of an ecological dimension.
- Implementing projects for promoting and utilising ecological
- Defining and completing routes (paths, road-marking, signposting, observation posts, mountaineering shelters).
- Showing respect for and providing protection of local and environmental infrastructures.
- Forming an institutional framework to encourage environmental training initiatives.
One of the focus points of Greece' s tourist policy in the last few years has been to come to terms with the problem of seasonality, the geographic redistribution of tourist mobility and the promotion of new regions. One way that can be achieved is by focusing on the development of alternative forms of tourism and rural tourism falls under this heading.
Agroturism has a long tradition in Greece. There is a permanent working team consisting of representatives of government agencies and other organizations which had already started programmes for rural tourism or which were studying the feasibility of such programmes. The task of this team is to elaborate the legal framework, general outlines and development incentive for rural tourism as well as to consolidate the relevant programmes of the various parties for the purpose of co-coordinating them and including them in the national programme for rural tourism. Various programmes already being conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Youth and the Council of Sexual Equality, in the Zagoria (Epirus), Fetra (Mitilini), Pirgi (Chios), Western Crete and other parts of Greece.
In June 1984 saw the start of the first Women's Agrotourist Co-operative in Fetra on the island of Lesvos and still the best Women's Agrotourist Co-operative today. It is composed of 30 women who have rearranged their homes in order to rent rooms to visitors. The Co-operative also has a restaurant serving traditional Greek dishes prepared by the women themselves. At the same time, again in Mitilni, the first Rural Co-operative Tourist and Travel Bureau was founded by the Union of Agricultural Co-operatives of Lesvos. It is worth noting that the programme to set up the Bureau was financed as model activity by the EU, which covered the cost of furnishing the office, running expenses for the first year, promoting and advertising.
The three most important women's Agrotourist Co-operatives are in Mitilini, in Chios and in the village of Ambelakia in Thessaly. They contain a total of 419 beds (280 in Petra, 55 in Ambelakia and 64 in four villages in Chios).
- Accomplishing a traditional standardisation of agricultural produce and creating permanent exhibits of biological products.
- Providing boarding accommodations, local cultural activities, outdoor activities, information to tourists.
- Erecting recreation pavilions and restoring traditional buildings.
- Compiling projects of agricultural tourism.
- Reorganising domestic traditional activities, like: stock-breeding; dairy produce; production-standardisation of traditional pastries; traditional handicrafts (woven, needlework items etc.)
- Reviving traditional settlements, old mansions etc.
- Showing understanding and being sensitised in respect of the value of nature, its resources and of how it should be protected.
- Creating 'green packages of tourism' on the part of tour operators.
The development of educational tourism is another primary target with a framework of the special incentives introduced to promote a series of education related activities. It involves the creation of programmes of guided tours of museums and archaeological sites for large groups such as foreign school children, regardless of their field of study, outside the peak period. For this programme to succeed, the co-operation of the Guides Union, Travel Agents with G.N.T.O. (Greek National Tourism Organisation), is essential.
A series organizations and agencies' that can be the target source of educational tourism. These agencies include cultural foundations abroad, cultural associations and schools where Greek history and archaeology are taught. Greece has to make an inventory of foreign cultural foundations possessing departments of Greek archaeology and the proper cultivation of these elements is expected to produce positive results. In the meantime, the policy continues of offering promotional admissions to archaeological sites and museums for groups from classical secondary schools and free guided tours by foreign and Greek university professors of archeology and guides.
- Organising Greek language and literature courses as well as cooking, wine, local handicraft and embroidery courses.
- Creating cultural participation, exchanging experiences, setting up new cultural, activities, participating in theatrical performances.
- Participating in scientific research schemes in archaeological sites as well as in museums.
- Defining and planning historical and cultural routes or paths.
- Compiling cultural projects (i.e., concerning students from foreign universities or/and colleges; excursions of foreign schools) and providing cultural experiences (i.e. projects of training on and acquainting with cultural heritage, developing co-operation networks).
- Protecting, utilising, reforming, restoring and intervening in monuments and sightseeing spots, archaeological sites etc.
- Renovating remarkable public buildings and creating 'museum-styled' premises.
- Transposing visitors' interest from great works of art to representations of the daily, 'popular' interest that are regarded as equally important objects of admiration.
Greece possesses spa towns of some note and the relevant facilities have existed for a number of years. It has been observed that, in recent years, the number of tourists willing to incur expenditure on account of their wellbeing, as well as healthy and natural foodstuffs, has steadily increased.
- Creating special facilities (balneotherapy; thalassotherapy, mud-bath therapy, spas), especially, there where thermal spas exist.
- Renovating and expanding already existing thermal spas.
- Providing upgraded services, specialised medical personnel and staff supporting thermal spas.
Modern forms of marine tourism include:
Cruises, that have already developed over a number of years in Greece and spread to journeys to foreign ports, given that Greek cruise boats make up 1/3rd of the world fleet of such vessels.
Yachting, the development of which strengthens parallel activities in the economy, such as shipyards.
Marinas, an area in which Greece is lagging behind other Mediterranean countries, as well as Turkey, that essentially exploits the same sea areas, in terms of the variety and quality of facilities.
Sea and Under-water Activities The Greek under-water scene, with its wealth of archaeological resources represents a pole of attraction to both Greek and foreign divers, whether they are scientists or sightseers. It should be pointed out that because of the need to protect our submerged antiquities and marine life, the use of aqua lungs is permitted only in certain specified areas. Under-water fishing with spear guns is allowed everywhere, provided that fishermen are not equipped with aqua-lungs.
- Introducing activities promoting sea tourism.
- Reinforcing the organisation of daily sea excursions, cruises, sightseeing by private and chartered vessels and regattas.
- Increasing fishing shelters.
- Organising sea sports.
- Offering facilities and services in marinas and providing quality facilities and services at competitive prices.
- Reinforcing coastal connections.
- Constructing enhancement projects at the already existing harbours.
As part of the campaign to promote and develop special forms of tourism, a law was passed authorizing nudism in organized nudist centers. This law provides for both the founding of new nudist centers and the transformation of existing tourist units into such centers.
Another type of specialized tourism that Greece is seeking to promote is directed at the handicapped and retired people. Its target is to enhance the establishments that are already equipped to serve handicapped tourists and pensioners as well as to create programmes aimed at this special clientele.
Also being examined is the formulation of special guidelines that new hotels will have to follow in order to make their premises accessible to handicapped people, such as the installation of ramps, elevators and other special equipment.
A characteristic element of the Greek region is the harmony between the natural scenery and the region's spiritual and cultural tradition. One of the main factors behind the deterioration and threatened loss of this harmonious environment, natural and spiritual, is the dominant form of mass tourism.
At the same time there are areas in rural districts and on the islands that have yet fully to exploit the tourist traffic by air, thus posing a double risk:
- On the one hand, this under exploitation of tourism is a factor in the lack of economic growth and socioeconomic backwardness of these areas.
- On the other hand, there is the danger of sudden, extremely rapid and essentially uncontrollable exploitation of local tourist resources, which is likely to prove damaging for the natural, cultural and social environment and for continuing development of the region.
To deal with this problem, it is important:
- To develop alternative tourist models, compatible with the social, cultural and environmental character of the Mediterranean area.
- To situate tourist movement within a wider strategy of continuing development of the rural and island areas.
The forth chapter discusses a marketing analysis and planning, that focuses on the characteristics of the Greek islands and Greek coastal line, using the information, data and analysis of the previous chapters.
TOURISM MARKETING CONCEPT, ELEMENTS AND PRINCIPLES
If we examine specialized bibliography we find a series of arguments, views, directions regarding Tourism Marketing, destination marketing, rational strategy Marketing development and setting aims.
Kotler (1998) discussing Tourism Marketing, and in particular about product positioning, states that positioning of a tourism product is the method used to define it in the minds of potential consumers, based on important for them product characteristics and in relation to competitive products. He goes on, saying that consumers are overtaken with information about products and services and in their need to simplify the decision process they «position» the products and services in their minds.
Rational application of marketing principles does not allow products to be left to chance. «A tourism destination can be seen as one of tourist industry's products. It is a uniquely complex product, composed of, among other factors, area climate, infrastructure and superstructure, services, natural and cultural characteristics as well as image». (Telisman - Kosuta, 1989).
Product positioning consists of three steps: a) distinguish / find a number of possible competitive advantages to base positioning on, b) choose the appropriate competitive advantage, c) promote effectively the chosen positioning in carefully selected target - markets.
Mayo (1973), who studied the image of destination areas in conjunction to traveller behaviour, argued that the image of an area - destination is principle factor when we choose a destination. Furthermore, he noted that what matters more is not the truth in the image presented but what hold true in the mind of the customer - tourist.
Products have personal and social significance for the buyer. Thus, under the image each potential tourist has for a country underlies a bundle of motives. It could be said that the relation and the sum of these motives define the central motivation matching the image held by each destination, forming a particular behaviour by the potential tourist and urging the buying decision (Vitouladiti, 1990).
Given the fact that each potential tourist could represent a unique market segment - target, due to various needs, motives and wants (Kotler, 1988) we understand the segmentation of the market based on criteria beyond those used for the traditional approach (such as age, sex, geographical origin etc).
In regards to setting objectives, these are usually a combination of what we want and what choices we seem to have after analyzing the external and internal environment.
Outside the specification of some economic objectives we should not neglect Marketing objectives such as the selection of particular target - markets, product improvement, market expansion, creation of new products, buyer - tourist information etc.
In regards to strategic choices, these should vary in relation to the objectives set by each destination or tourism enterprise.
Despite all this, the basic elements making up the Marketing strategy remain common and are, defining the area of action, defining the source works, target groups, product policy, pricing, distribution and promotion.
In the next section it will be attempted to define objectives and strategy directions for the island and coastal regions of Greece.
SWOT ANALYSIS OF GREEK TOURISM
The knowledge of the tourism product, organized exploitation, market identification, recognition of customer - tourist needs and characteristics, forecastings are the basic elements of a complex procedure of Tourism Marketing.
Marketing is the means used to find the methods needed to attract and approach the consumer - tourist and the tourism market in general. It is also the means allowing a public or private organization to gain control and gather information on the sum of factors of the product being offered as well as its productiveness.
The characterists and the evolution of the tourism sector require methodical approach on Marketing concept, which could be defined as «the systematic and coordinated adaptation of tourism industry policies as well as individual and government tourism policy in local, regional and international levels, providing maximum satisfaction to the needs of specific groups defined as consumers, gaining a profit at the same time» (Krippendorf, 1972).
Among all the definitions of Marketing this one has been chosen intentionally, because it mentions all the necessary combinations of actions of all parties.
Greece, being a, primarily, tourism destination should know all of the above, take advantage in the best possible manner (both on part of economic performance as well in the protection of its environment) of it's tourism possibilities and recognize the necessity in applying these principles.
Tourism activities in Greece concern mainly the exploitation of the island and costal regions and to a lesser extent the mainland. Both of these regions present a series of characteristics, problems and possibilities.
Mentioning Marketing above and having already defined my thinking process I shall continue using its context and structure to establish firstly a framework for any advantages - disadvantages of the regions under examination as well as present any possible opportunities for development or related threats. After this, and always within a marketing oriented perspective I shall define the objectives and the strategic directions using rationale based on positioning, image, target - markets, competitive advantages, benefit segmentation etc.
In this way I shall attempt to prove the possibilities offered by comprehensive Marketing approach, not restricted in strategic planning but also in regards to classification, grouping and thus evaluation of data of the previous chapters.
Basically, the above mentioned discussion framework, of strengths - weaknesses, opportunities - threats is S.W.O.T. analysis, one of the main elements of Marketing Strategic Planning.
Each country involved in tourism owes to examine matters concerning S.W.O.T. analysis in order to have continued appreciation of its internal and external environment and use it as base for its tourism development activities.
Greece, a tourism destination confronting intense competition along with the emerge of new technologies needs to apply the Marketing concept thoroughly, integrating at first approaches such a S.W.O.T. analysis.
As already mentioned, this country depends mainly on the development and exploitation of insular regions, while at the same time it records less than optimistic statistics, as far as revenues and analysis of visitor profiles are concerned.
Greece is aware of the fact that tourism market has began to look for alternative forms of tourism while at the same time it finds that it's mountain and special regions are lacking in development.
Accordingly, we realize how urgent is the need, now more than ever, for a special tool to help find directions, not partially, but methodically and comprehensively.
At first I am going to perform a SWOT analysis for the islands and coastal areas of Greece.
Strengths - Advantages
There are more than 2000 islands in the Aegean Sea and 14000 Km of coastal areas, attracting a substantial number of tourist arrivals and overnight stays, representing the principal tourist revenue resource for the country. They have a series of advantages and positive characteristics, such as natural beauty, landscape, natural environment, climate, cultural heritage, traditions, history - from antiquity to this day - monuments, important archaeological sites, friendly inhabitants