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Greek Tourism 2020 Study

The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) presented today its study on the development of a new growth model for Greek Tourism over the next decade, under the exclusive sponsorship of Eurobank EFG. The study, entitled ‘Greek Tourism 2020: Proposal for a new growth model’ aims to serve as a ‘blueprint’ for the development and implementation of new policies that will xxx the fundamental role of Tourism in the growth of the Greek economy and the Greek society.

Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mr Pavlos Geroulanos, who attended the event, welcomed the initiative. Speakers Messrs Nicholaos Nanopoulos, CEO of Eurobank EFG, Nicholaos Angelopoulos, President of SETE and Nicholaos Karamouzis, Deputy CEO of Eurobank EFG, addressed the need for a new policy on Tourism, and referred to the strategic choice of Eurobank EFG to support the tourism industry, as well as all extrovert sectors of the economy, in its effort to improve its competitiveness. The General Manager of SETE, Mr Georgios Drakopoulos, presented the study.

The President of SETE, Mr N. Angelopoulos stated that: “the proposed new growth model for Greek tourism is, in essence, a policy proposal on how to manage, or even impose, a change of attitude. The public sector currently has a rather ‘romantic’ approach towards tourism – which should transform into a technocratic approach, characterized by continuity and consistency. The private sector, which is currently, introvert, should become a leading force in tourism. Any attempt to grow the sector has a single prerequisite: the State must acknowledge the fundamental role of tourism in the Greek economy, and its broad synergies with several sectors of economic activity. More than 80% of tourism activity is extrovert - the tourism industry is labour intensive and has contributed more than any other to development in rural Greece. Overtime and up to this day, the State s contribution to the competitiveness of the Greek tourism product and to the creation of the required infrastructure, has been feeble. Hence, a change in the attitude of the political forces towards Tourism is of paramount importance for the sector’s future.”

In his address, Mr Nanopoulos stated: “Overtime, tourism has been a key contributor to economic growth and employment, contributing, in its wider aspect, about 17-18% to Greek GDP. The current challenges tourism faces call for action to be taken not just by the State but also by the private sector, with intuition, a modern view and vision. The sector requires long-term planning, and identification of alternative ways to grow tourism, employing qualitatitive criteria and respecting the environment. Our common goal is to move on to a growth model that is different from the past, to produce a distinct, attractive and competitive tourism product that will by dynamically marketed to meet the ever-changing global demand.”

“As a banking Group we have been consistent supporters of Greek tourism, with loans to the tourism industry of €1.5bn’ mentioned Mr Karamouzis, adding that “This amount represents 20% of total lending to the Tourism sector in Greece, rendering Eurobank EFG the leader in tourism financing. We are flexible, having restructured hotel loans of about € 400m. We reinforce the working capital of the tourism industry, extending over €270m in more flexible forms of financing, such as factoring of Tour Operators receivables, hotel renovations and other types of working capital.”

Mr George Drakopoulos, Gerenal Manager of SETE, presented the study and noted that while it constitutes a substantiated proposal, it is open to improvement. The study describes the framework and strategic directions that a new growth model for tourism should feature, analyzing on a case by case basis the growth elements of Greek tourism over the next decade.

The full study is available at www.greektourism2020.gr (Greek language only)

The full texts of the speeches by Messrs. N. Nanopoulos, Ν. Κaramouzis, Ν. Αngelopoulos, as well as photos of the event are available at www.sete.gr and www.eurobank.gr

Key highlights of the study:

  • The growth model is mainly based on the role of tourism in the country’s economic policy and is subject to the type and degree of synergies developed between tourism and other sectors.
  • Current data on Greek Tourism indicate over-concentration of supply, as 65% of beds are located in four (4) geographic areas, and intense seasonality of demand, as 50% of arrivals takes places in three (3) months.
  • Greek tourism has performed at 80% of its capacity over the past three years, while oversupply is estimated at 400,000 beds.
  • The new growth model requires a minimum of institutional and non-institutional transformations, including: autonomous Ministry of Tourism, the establishment of Tourism Secreatriats in each of the Ministries that bear responsibility on tourism issues, a Secretary of Tourism, with either a permanent or a five-year tenure, co-ordination of all implicated Ministries by the Office of the Prime Minister and consensus among political parties on the issue of tourism management. In terms of supply, the study recommends to maintain the product “sea and sun”, improve its quality, as well as the value for money. At the same time, other specialized types of tourism should be identified through a thorough segmentation of actual demand, not through ad hoc action.
  • To attract demand, the new growth model calls for the creation of the appropriate marketing infrastructure and a marketing culture different from current practice.
  • Ongoing Research & Development is a prerequisite to success. Moreover, it is necessary to establish an institution to market Greek tourism over the Internet, and to form strategic alliances with airlines for new direct flights to Greek tourism destinations.
  • Another strategic priority is the development of communications crisis management systems and techniques.
  • To increase demand, tourism should develop more synergies and economies of scale with other sectors, such as culture, sports, education, medical services, gastronomy.
  • Spending the winter at a holiday home is among the top five reasons why Europeans travel. Hence it should become a growth and investment priority for Greek Tourism.
  • Investments in technology and, mainly, on human resources are of paramount importance. The digital strategy does not focus on technology. It focuses on humans and their desire to be connected with the things they like.
  • Training of the human forces, from basic to ongoing training and the development of expertise, is the most important feature in order to offer quality service and improve competitiveness. Moreover, employment policy in tourism should make flexibility a priority.

From the left to the right:

Nicholaos Karamouzis, Deputy CEO of Eurobank EFG

Nicholaos Nanopoulos, CEO of Eurobank EFG

Mr Pavlos Geroulanos, Minister of Tourism and Culture

Nicholaos Angelopoulos, President of SETE