To note that tourism is the primary source of income for the Greek economy is obvious. Since ancient times, people from all corners of the globe have visited the small southeastern Mediterranean country to seek knowledge, leisure and a unique passionate culture unlike any other. But with a crippling financial situation in full effect, Greece needs more income from tourism now than ever before. Today’s American media outlets often portray the country as an unstable place in disarray and it is often deprived of positive news coverage.
An influx of revenue into the Greek economy through a bolstered tourism campaign will attract more tourists at little expense to the Greek taxpayer. Among the solutions Greeks can utilize are: proper identification and targeting of demographics, a simple but unique theme to appeal to a larger audience, and the assistance of the Greek diaspora to outreach marketing to the furthest extent.
In business, it is crucial to understand the demographics of the audience from which one wants to earn income. This is unclear by observing the current advertising campaign. Upon first glance of the official tourism website, visitgreece.gr, the slogan reads: “All Time Classic.” While Greece may be a country with historically classical roots, this overall message is ineffective. It is unclear who “All Time Classic” is supposed to target, especially since non-Greeks are the potential target for outreach. Instead, officials could approach their advertising campaign in a smarter, more effective way by shifting the focus, in the United States, to young adults and families. The message will remain clear for each as its theme can be simple and bold, desiring a return to Greece each and every year.
Greece has many appealing factors for almost any individual to enjoy. However, proper execution of the ad creation and campaign is important to attract tourists. The many attractions can appeal to everyone and all diverse members of a family can enjoy their visit. Do you like ancient history and/or eastern spirituality? Come to Greece. Are you passionate about being outdoors, or activities like hiking or recreational sports? Come to Greece. What about relaxing on a quiet beach away from the troubles of work and school? Come to Greece. It is a vacation destination that has something for everyone. Although this is not emphasized enough, the theme of the seemingly endless options is perfect and it can excite every member of the family. Greece provides everyone a chance to explore their favorite vacation getaway options—all in one place.
Of course, not everyone can afford a robust excursion to Greece. While the average young adult traveler is light on cash, a shift in the Greeks outreach to the youth can change the status-quo as it may attract a future tourist for many years to follow. It can be argued that many young travelers have strong desires to “escape” and “discover the world” around them, but sometimes a trip runs over-budget or is poorly scheduled. When advertising and reaching out to this young demographic, Greece should always have complimentary features: an escape to paradise yet incredibly affordable, a gateway to majestic and far away islands yet centralized by a busy European city. Again, options for the young traveler are important but travel will always remain restricted unless their budget permits. In order to attract more young travelers, it is crucial for Greek officials to express that popular destinations such as Mykonos and Santorini may be popular, yet the other 2,000 plus islands are more affordable and “yet to be discovered.” With the post-modern world of new competition through private rentals such as AirBnB and comparison airfare websites, a quick search can show technologically savvy people how affordable a Greek vacation can be. If the Greeks desire more income and pinch pennies at the same time, they must start utilizing the internet to its full potential.
Greeks can further resource their best capabilities through internet outreach and connect with the diaspora in order to maximize their potential. In the United States, many Greek American organizations exist to increase Orthodox fellowship, charity, cultural awareness but all carry a common factor: love and devotion to the Greek homeland. A well-constructed and creative social media campaign has the ability to gain international attention, and the Greek Diaspora is well organized to carry a feature like this out. Perhaps a hashtag such as #MyGreekGetaway is simple enough, yet enticing for a person of a Greek background to capture the attention of a non-Greek who may be potential tourist. Include photos of Aegean sunsets, lavish and fresh food or people enthusiastically dancing is enough to attract the desire to travel. While the country may in a tough financial position, the creation of a post-modern and smart tourism outreach strategy is the key to bring in much needed income until the Greek economy fully recovers.
Jack Dulgarian is a senior at the University of Arizona earning a bachelor’s degree in Political Science: International Relations with minors in Business Administration and Modern Greek/Classical Studies. He participated in the eighth annual AHIF Foreign Policy College Student Trip to Greece and Cyprus sponsored by the American Hellenic Institute.