Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tourism of Greece: Looming Future or Growth based on Re-positioning

The word "crisis" is a Greek origin word which means the “circumstantial upheaval” and nowadays describes the whole environment (economical, political etc.) that one can feel in Greece, in his daily base activities. Admittedly, Greece now experiences the worst economic recession of its modern history; this economic contraction has negative repercussions in the social fabric and consists the reason that many extreme situations have been occurring since 2010. In addition with the inner issues that Greece copes with, these difficulties have created a negative atmosphere and an adverse impact in the image of Greece. The picture that one has of Greece, as a result of the negative media exposure and bad reputation, is not ideal for any change and further development that could solve the current problems. In order for Greece to regain its erstwhile significant identity and to further enhance the endeavors for growth, it apparently needs a strategy that takes into account all the potential opportunities in a holistic approach. Greece’s tourism industry has quietly fallen out from the top holiday destinations amid the recession, thus just last year Greece was in 10th place for the number of overseas visitors, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The decline mainly has come against a backdrop of the negative publicity surrounding the mass protests in Athens and other Greek cities against the debt-ridden government's sharp spending cuts. The reason why Greece needs to differentiate its profile from the current is because Greece is a heavy tourist industry economy and has been an attraction for international visitors for its rich history and antiquities, the numerous islands and the picturesque beaches. Tourism as a sector could be a major boost for the Greek economy once again, and consequently play an inevitable major role in the economic recovery of Greece. As a result Greece attracts more than 18 million people each year and yet this seems that is going to drop even lower if no action is taken. This tourist industry contributes 18% to the nation's Gross Domestic Product and 20% of the country's employment, so it is a very important sector in terms of job creation and social cohesion.

But what kind of strategy is most appropriate in Greece, nowadays?

In this intense economic slowdown and amidst these harsh conditions an aggressive policy is required. The historical data thus far have proved that the current strategy Greece has followed was not right. It is a firm conviction that a more client-wise strategy is more likely to succeed. There is a need for a better and more effective crisis management that using the technique of “repositioning” will result in better attractiveness of Greece’s total visitors. A thorough analysis and evaluation of the status quo is a prerequisite for safe decision making. Greece has some strong competitive advantages. Focused on the long-term picture we may design an authentic and deliberate strategic vision, in which Greece could become again the first choice destination of the ultimate vacations. At this point, filling in the roadmap with goals, an action plan and methodically executing these in a consistent way over time, we may accomplish our goal. With fine-tuning and adjusting for external and internal circumstances a focused decision making team will get Greece’s tourism industry where it needs to go, through a strong step-by-step process, which will allow Greece to move forward much more quickly and in a more linear fashion.

This process has to consist of mainly management and marketing (communication) practices and models, that will ensure client acquisition and preserve the “brand” value of the Greek tourism, as a result of the new Greece’s services approach, which will be absolutely apt in targeted and diversified tourism population’s needs. Greece also needs a strategy which is oriented to change all the negative externalities of the past into a positive response; this is a straightforward effect from the perception that the media have about the country and unfortunately results to negative connotations that are resulted in a cronyism accumulated picture associated with bad events (Modern Greece symbolizes the "hot potato", who lives at the expense of others). Thus, by repositioning we can better communicate the message to the targeted group because the brand has no harmful innuendo. Greece should not further promote the 4 S‘s of Greek Touristic marketing mix, namely Sun, Sea, Sex and Souvlaki; instead it could promote theatres, museums, art exhibitions and historic monuments.

At the end, whichever strategy will be decided would not be the panacea for success if the general mentality remains the same. Greece needs to reposition itself with radical changes in the way it operates nowadays. Also it needs a totally new platform which includes a long-term logo and a long-term campaign that would convey clear and targeted messages; messages, which would highlight Greece’s strengths. To do that Greece has to have better brand awareness and to move in a promotion that it would be based on a broader cost-effective social media-oriented communication strategy. Also by asking which population segments have the most potential, Greece can develop growth strategies, such as:

1. Identify emerging populations (eg. India, China etc.) and simplify the process of entry the country, by relaxing the visa requirements.

2. Reduce the fare fees for arriving and departing the country.

3. Reduce the services cost, such as accommodations.

1 http://greece.greekreporter.com/2012/05/06/do-not-rebrand-greece-now/
2. http://www.palgrave-journals.com/crr/journal/v10/n3/full/1550049a.html
3 http://tungstenbranding.com/branding-articles/most-popular/changing-your-company-name-five-steps-to-getting-it-right/

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