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INDEPENDENT STUDY: Athens as an International Tourism Destination


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“Athens as an international tourism destination: An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery and the role of local DMOs.”

The aim of this project was to identify the role of DMOs in promoting Athens as a tourist destination, as well as to evaluate their effectiveness in terms of marketing and managing the tourist product of Athens, its popularity and imagery.


The aim of this thesis is to identify the role of DMOs in promoting Athens as a tourist destination, as well as to evaluate their effectiveness in terms of marketing and managing the tourist product of Athens, its popularity and imagery. For that purposes, 6 personal interviews were conducted with executives who were working in 6 famous local DMOs operating both generally in Greece and specifically in Athens.

The result of this study indicated that DMOs are playing a crucial role for the promotion of Athens as a tourist destination. DMOs key responsibilities include: development of sophisticated online marketing strategies, creation of high quality published material, participation in international tourism fairs for developing relationships with key stakeholders and development of network synergies with airline companies, and international tourism organizations.
Athens is a destination with great potential for future growth and for that reason DMOs have designed certain plans for the next three years in order to exploit the opportunities which are presented. The future plans of the DMOs give particular emphasis in the opening in new tourist markets and more particularly in the markets of Russia, Turkey China, and USA. Besides, DMOs will focus in five forms of tourism which can be developed successfully in Athens, namely: 1) cultural tourism, 2) health tourism, 3) luxury tourism, 4) city break tourism, and 5) convention tourism

On the other hand, the executives of the DMOs underlined several problems which prevent the tourism development of Athens. The majority of these problems are related with the business environment in Greece which has become less competitive due to the crisis. Besides, the city as a destination faces the problems of seasonality as well as missing infrastructures.
Finally, the research showed that DMOs have established strong and long term relationships with DMOs in foreign countries. These partnerships allow the Greek DMOs to be updated concerning the trends of the global tourism market as well as enhance the movement of tourists between cooperating countries. Nevertheless, the promotion of Athens as a tourism destination requires a more concerted effort between the public and the private stakeholders which are involved in the tourism industry. The benefits will be multiplied for businesses, the state and the society in general.

Destination Marketing Organizations, DMO’s tourist product, popularity & imagery, interviews, online marketing strategies, Athens, Greece, international tourism fairs,

Published in: Travel
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INDEPENDENT STUDY: Athens as an International Tourism Destination

  1. 1. An empirical investigation to the city’s imagery & the role of local DMO’s Athens International Tourism Destination INDEPENDENT STUDY
  2. 2. “ Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts and eloquence, native to famous wits” John Milton, Paradise Regained, bk.4, l.240^1
  3. 3. Why I chose this subject ? “ Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. ” Gustave Flaubert
  4. 4. Aim of the project  Identify the role of DMOs in promoting Athens as a tourist destination  Evaluate their effectiveness in terms of marketing and managing
  5. 5. Objectives of the Study
  6. 6. Impact of the study Evaluate the contribution of Athens DMO’s towards the rising popularity of the city, as an international destination within the context of Destination Marketing
  7. 7. Objectives of the study  Identify the activities for promoting Athens Identify the importance of destination marketing Portrait the opinions and activity planning of Greek DMO’s Provide insights and new trends on the Tourism Industry Highlight the latest incentives concerning the city’s future developments Identify the key problems of Athens & points for improvement
  8. 8. DMO Responsibilities
  9. 9. Key responsibilities  Develop online marketing strategies  Create high quality material  Participate in international tourism fairs  Develop network synergies
  10. 10. Tourism in Greece
  11. 11. Greek tourism figures Element Value Contribution to GDP 16,4 % Contribution to employment 18,3 % Employment 688.800 International Tourist Receipts 10 billion Euros International Tourist Arrivals 15,5 millions Average per Capita Tourism Expenditure 646 Euros European Market Share 2.9 % World Market Share 1,5 % Hotel Capacity 9670 Hotels, 771,271 beds Source: Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, 2013
  12. 12. Athens as a Tourist Destination
  13. 13. International arrivals 11,413,792 2,555,355 2,619,455 12,645,214 14,000,000 12,000,000 10,000,000 8,000,000 6,000,000 4,000,000 2,000,000 0 2012 2013 Athens Total Greece Source: Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE, 2013)
  14. 14. Destination Marketing
  15. 15. Destination framework
  16. 16. Destination Marketing Efficiency
  17. 17. Key determinants Author Destination Marketing efficiency Chaitip et al. (2008)  Satisfaction of the travel cost  Integrated tourism product  Tourism product attributes  Tourism product management Buhalis (2001)  Enhance the satisfaction of tourist and delight the visitor  Strengthen long term competitiveness and profitability of the local tourism industry and of the local small and medium-sized tourism enterprises  Develop the sustainability of the destinations and ensure prosperity of host population Stankovic et al. (2012) Organization of cultural and sport events Lopes (2011) Demographic features of the tourists Echtner and Ritchie (2003)  Scenery and natural attractions  Pricing strategies  Hospitality and friendliness Tourist activities  Nightlife and entertainment  Sport facilities / General facilities  National parks and museums  Local infrastracture and transportation Accommodation
  18. 18. Destination Branding
  19. 19. Brand image
  20. 20. Branding framework
  21. 21. Branding elements
  22. 22. Destination Management
  23. 23. Management model
  24. 24. Strategic planning
  25. 25. Sustainability framework
  26. 26. Destination Marketing Organizations
  27. 27. WNTO framework
  28. 28. Destination firms
  29. 29. The goals of DMOs
  30. 30. The Role of DMOs
  31. 31. Role of DMOs
  32. 32. DMO’s in Athens
  33. 33. Local DMOs in Athens
  34. 34. Interview Guide
  35. 35. Qualitative research The aim is a complete, detailed description Researcher may only know roughly in advance what he/she is looking for Recommended during earlier phases of research projects The design emerges as the study unfolds Researcher is the data gathering instrument Data is in the form of words, pictures or objects Subjective – individuals interpretation of events is important, uses participant observation, in-depth interviews, etc Qualitative data is more 'rich', time consuming and less able to be generalized Researcher tends to become subjectively immersed in the subject matter
  36. 36. Areas of discussion  Question 1: What do you think about the popularity of Greece as a tourist destination?  Question 2: What do you think about the popularity of Athens as a tourist destination?  Question 3: What have you done as an organization to promote Athens ?  Question 4: Do you think Athens can become more popular destination in the near future?  Question 5: What are the main problems & challenges of Athens as a tourist destination?  Question 6: What activities does your organization apply for Athens?  Question 7: Which improvements, your organization should make to increase efficiency ?  Question 8: What do you think about the role of DMOs in promoting tourism ?  Question 9: What can we learn of DMOs in other countries?  Question 10: Destination Marketing, can help Athens to develop touristic offers ?  Question 11: How do you manage the tourist product of Athens, except for marketing? Do you pay attention to sustainable tourism issues?
  37. 37. Research limitations  The size of the sample was relatively small  Qualitative research is not allowing the measure of the examined problems  The analysis may be influenced by factors which were not mentioned
  38. 38. Characteristics of Athens
  39. 39. Market positioning  Natural beauty, clean seas, sunlight  Historical monuments & archaeological sites  Offer high level cultural tourism  Congress tourism initiatives
  40. 40. Accommodation in Athens  2014 seems to be a year with many prospects  The average stay per guest is near 2 nights  50 % Occupancy of the Hotels in 2013  The average price of hotel rooms is 70 Euros & the revenue per available room 45 Euros (2013)
  41. 41. Visiting experience  A stopover for the islands  Visit Acropolis, Parthenon & the Acropolis museum  Walk in the city center & shopping  Most of the tourists are not informed regarding city events
  42. 42. Promotion Activities
  43. 43. DMOs main activities  Create publications  Joint advertising activities  Create online portals  Develop membership programs  Create of promotional souvenirs  Conduct market research
  44. 44. DMOs main activities  Participate in international tourism exhibitions  Hold meetings with hosted buyers and trade visitors  Distribute large volumes of information material about city touristic services  Establish international collaborations
  45. 45. DMOs main activities Publish tourist material such as tourist guides, thematic brochures, maps, special editions Publish high-quality photos and translations from texts of famous Greek authors
  46. 46. Future Plans
  47. 47. DMO plans for Athens  Establish city to the top European destinations  Enhance the brand name  Develop a communication campaign  Cooperate with tour operators, travel agents  Create long-term strategy for the city  Sponsor selected events in Greece and abroad  Open new markets & promote domestic tourism
  48. 48. Opening new markets  Promote Athens in the markets of China, Russia, Turkey and USA  Brazil and India are also two key markets
  49. 49. Problems of Athens
  50. 50. Economic recession  Influenced competitiveness  Very high taxation  Value Added Tax (VAT) in Greece is relatively high (23 %)
  51. 51. Seasonality problems Most visits between June and September Affects the amount of revenues Need to be more clean and organized city  Complete the major infrastructure projects
  52. 52. Infrastructure problems  The city needs more high quality hotel  Improvement in the public transport  The coastal front should be connected more easily
  53. 53. Recommendations
  54. 54. Recommendations  Changes in the income tax  Reductions in VAT  Construct peripheral airports Arrange debts of tourism companies
  55. 55. DMOs Relationships
  56. 56. Partnership network  Update concerning the global trends  Enhance the movement of tourists between cooperating countries  Develop an advanced know-how
  57. 57. Regional development
  58. 58. Findings
  59. 59. Insights & new trends  Popular destination in the global tourism market with many growth prospects  International identity of the country’s destinations
  60. 60. DMOs performed activities  Focused in the markets of Germany, UK, France, Holland, Italy  Focused in seaside leisure tourism and convention tourism.  Not a coordinated effort for other types of tourism
  61. 61. DMOs action plan Strategy will be based in 5 key sectors of the Greek Tourism: 1) cultural tourism 2) health tourism 3) luxury tourism 4) city break tourism 5) convention tourism
  62. 62. Results of the study  DMOs are aware of their strategic role & have established strong and long term relationships with DMOs abroad Partnerships allow the Greek DMOs to be updated concerning the trends of the global tourism market as well as to enhance the movement of tourists between cooperating countries
  63. 63. Stakeholders strategic role Promotion of Athens requires a more concerted effort between the public and the private stakeholders Multiply the benefits for businesses, the state and the society in general
  64. 64. Research Suggestions
  65. 65. Future research  Conduct more interviews  Compare the role of the DMOs in different destinations Use quantitative research approaches
  66. 66. Charts & Data
  67. 67. Greek tourism statistics
  68. 68. Greek tourism statistics
  69. 69. Personal Reflection
  70. 70. Experiential learning Lewis and Williams (1994) “ In its simplest form, experiential learning means learning from experience or learning by doing. Experiential education first immerses learners in an experience and then encourages reflection about the experience to develop new skills, new attitudes, or new ways of thinking. ”
  71. 71. Living the Experience
  72. 72. Learning outcomes I spent many hours doing this project Set goals, you can achieve anything Persistence pays Just push yourself Enjoy what you do, it is much easier to excel Gain new colleagues, partners and friends
  73. 73. Understand self-awareness  I am the type of person who loves to learn and always seeks to obtain more  I am especially passionate about learning things that pertain to my major and my future career
  74. 74. Me…the Researcher!
  75. 75. Reading for the thesis  Many scientific articles  Relevant literature  Previous research on topic
  76. 76. …Like any journey, some of the most memorable experiences come from side trips that take us out of our comfort zones, changing us forever
  77. 77. Keeping the motive  Very intriguing and exciting subject  Learned about the Greek tourism market  Great value of informational content  Task-oriented study  Demand of my academic view and critique
  78. 78. When we find what we look for… The view of our discovery is compensating
  79. 79. Challenges to overcome  Demanding & time-consuming  Transcribing all interviews  Which data I would use, to produce a unique “product” Become more confident in my interpretation of events and behaviors
  80. 80. Acknowledgements
  81. 81. I appreciate your help Prof. George Roumeliotis. His wisdom, knowledge and commitment to the highest standards, inspired & motivated me Prof. Ioanna Tsoka, who carefully analyzed the theoretical and research grounds for the study Dr. George Papadakis, who expressed great trust in my skills and character My friends and colleagues, who inspired my final efforts despite the enormous work pressures
  82. 82. Post-Graduate side of Life!
  83. 83. Read my thesis here
  84. 84. Bibliography & References
  85. 85. Literary sources  Angella, F. (2008), Destination management and stakeholders' collaboration in urban destinations  Angella, F., Go, F., (2010), Tale of two cities’ collaborative tourism marketing: Towards a theory of destination stakeholder assessment, Tourism Management Vol.30, pp.429–440  Bell, J. (2005), Doing your Research Project, Buckingham, Open University Press.  Blumberg, K. (2005), “Tourism Destination Marketing –A Tool for Destination Management? A Case Study from Nelson/Tasman Region, New Zealand”, Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 10(1): 45-57  Bornhorst, T., Ritchie, B., & Sheehan, L. (2010), “Determinants of tourism success for DMOs & destinations: An empirical examination of stakeholders’ perspectives”, Tourism Management, 31, 572–589  Buhalis D. and Deimezi O., 2004, “E-tourism developments in Greece: Information communication technologies adoption for the strategic management of the Greek tourism industry”, Tourism and Hospitality Research, 5 (2): 103-130.  Buhalis, D. (2001), Tourism in Greece: Strategic Analysis and Challenges, Current Issues in Tourism, Vol. 4, No. 5, pp.440-480  Buhalis, D., & Michopoulou, E. (2011), “Information-enabled tourism destination marketing: addressing the accessibility market”, Current Issues in Tourism, 14(2): 145–168  Chaitip, P., Chaboonsri, C., Kovacs, S., Balogh, P. (2008), A STRUCTURAL EQUATION MODEL: GREECE’STOURISM DEMAND FOR TOURIST DESTINATION, Applied Studies in Agribusiness and Commerce, Vol. 1., pp. 75-83
  86. 86. Keywords & Terms
  87. 87. Electronic sources                
  88. 88. Photo Attribution  From Moimois, syedahurra,anttsichlas, frans sellies, fiorenza baratti, chanc, elia locardi, christophe anagnostopoulou, ioannisdg, ihashb33r, totororo-roro,dimakk, ekounoupamelissa, chartouliarissa, darrellg, lucie, showinmyeyes  From Google image with the use of presentation titles, as search keywords
  89. 89. For Q&A’s contact me! Email:
  90. 90. #EnjoyAthens
  91. 91. Enjoy Your trip! 
  92. 92. Always Remember…
  93. 93. ………..……..FINALLY……………….