On Tuesday March 4, at Palais am Funkturm, on Itb’s 2014, inaugural day, Marketing Greece, presented the high-quality interactive platform, www.discovergreece.com, designed to take into account international best practices in terms of tourist product and destination marketing principles.
Mr Andreas Andreadis, President of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, on his opening speech, noted: “What differentiates discovergreece.com is the fact that it focuses on the product dimension of Greek tourism – by product meaning the specific and unique experience that we present to the potential newcomer or the repeat visitor. The website incorporates the latest technology and most up-to-date practices of electronic and digital communication to a global audience in an interactive environment, by creating a global community of supporters of Greek tourism. It also improves transparency, by presenting alternative booking systems and prices for the specific product.”
Following is Mr. Andreadis’ speech
Greece’s tourism industry has proven, once again, to be the key driver of economic growth in our country. We have sustained our position as one of the leading contributors to GDP and – in a year that the country welcomed a record 17.9 million international visitors who accounted for 12.2 billion euros of direct receipts – it is no coincidence that in 2013 Greece posted a primary budget surplus for the first time in a decade.
The number of visitors was no less than 15% above 2012 figures. And our targets for 2014 have already been set at 18.5 million international arrivals and 13 billion euros of international receipts.
We are confident that we will achieve our goals, since almost all traditional and new markets are showing positive signs.
Looking at the new markets, we expect a stabilization – of business from Russia and Turkey following last year’s phenomenal growth in excess of 50%. Of course, we are carefully monitoring recent events in the Ukraine that could further affect the Russian economy in the short term and its currency that has already depreciated by 25% over the last 12 months
And in our traditional markets, we are at this moment witnessing an increase of over 10% in bookings from the UK, France, Scandinavia, Benelux and the US. Another positive sign is that airlines have more than 1 million additional seats scheduled to Greek destinations for this year.
But of all the positive signs, it is those in the German market that are perhaps most encouraging. Bookings to Greece are growing across the board at double digit rates. If this trend continues, arrivals from Germany could easily surpass the 2.5 million visitor mark this year, compared to a figure of 2.2 million in 2013.
This impressive comeback proves that the Greek tourism product has made great progress in improving its attractiveness, quality and competitiveness. It also shows the deep bonds that exist between the German and Greek people; bonds that were always there and have prevailed, rising above politics and the unfortunate stereotypes that appeared during the crisis.
Ladies and gentlemen, SETE, the Confederation of Greek Tourism, stands here today to inform you about the tools that will be used in order to realize our aspiration to make Greece one of the top world tourism destinations by the beginning of the next decade.
In collaboration with the consultancy McKinsey & Co, we have developed a strategic road map. By 2021, we aim to exceed 24 million international visitors, with a per capita expenditure of approximately 800 euros, which would generate direct annual revenue of 18-19 billion Euros and a total of 48-50 billion Euros, if one were to take the total effect of tourism in the Greek economy into account. These numbers would add an additional nine points to the country’s GDP and create 300,000 new jobs – at a time when tourism already accounts for one in five jobs in Greece.
The road map recognizes 6 major tourism products – Sea & Sun, City Break, Nautical, Medical, Cultural Tourism and MICE – and a series of sub-products and niche services.
In order to implement the road map and steer our sector towards achieving our 2021 targets, we launched, among other initiatives, a non-profit organization in 2013 called Marketing Greece.
Marketing Greece is a financially independent – privately funded – organization founded by SETE, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels and the Greek Association of Advertising and Communication Companies. The company acts as the official representative of the Greek tourism industry and aims to showcase the Greek tourism product by advancing a seamless cooperation between the private and public sectors, the government and local authorities.
When I look at Marketing Greece, I see a company that is able to synchronize private marketing energy, by clustering small and medium-sized company marketing initiatives. It also assists local communities, particularly the ones whose voices are struggling to be heard, in structuring and showcasing their tourism potential in a more professional and technologically-advanced way.
Even though the company is still a start-up, I must say that the team is working with incredible speed and efficiency. In a matter of months, they have planned, built and launched our flagship portal, www.discovergreece.com.
And this is why we have invited you to this press conference today: we wish to share with you our country, one that is full of unique experiences and secrets that very few of you might know about. In doing so, we hope to introduce you to the new chapter, a new era of Greek tourism.
What differentiates discovergreece.com is the fact that it focuses on the product dimension of Greek tourism – by product meaning the specific and unique experience that we present to the potential newcomer or the repeat visitor. The website incorporates the latest technology and most up-to-date practices of electronic and digital communication to a global audience in an interactive environment, by creating a global community of supporters of Greek tourism. It also improves transparency, by presenting alternative booking systems and prices for the specific product.
Ladies and gentlemen, Greece is full of unique travel experiences. www.discovergreece.com is itself a unique user experience. We wish to showcase that Greece is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and are truly confident that this is exactly what you will feel when you visit the portal.
In closing, I would like to say that we are confident Greece will overcome the crisis, implement faster reforms, create new jobs, invest in infrastructure and services, and drive through to success. What our visitors experience is actually a reflection of our own lives, as residents of the country. We can achieve our long-term goals and prosperity by hosting happy visitors that are welcomed by content Greek people, proud to live in a modern European country, part of the Euro zone, that learned from and corrected the mistakes of the past. In this sense, the record numbers of German bookings to Greece we are witnessing as we speak, prove that the German public is firmly behind our goals.