Interview with Eva Karamanou, General Director of Amadeus Hellas
“It’s clear that Greek economy needs tourism—one of the most important industries in Greece—to grow,” Eva Karamanou, general director of Amadeus Hellas, told GTP. The Greek tourism industry is currently under tremendous pressure in regards to the economic crisis and competition from other countries and, according to Amadeus Hellas, what is necessary right now are “efforts from all parties involved.”
By Nikos Krinis, GTP news editor
GTP: Has Amadeus Hellas experienced any cutbacks due to Greece’s economic crisis?
Eva Karamanou: Greece’s economic crisis has impacted business in general in all different industries and has made a difference in everyone’s attitude. Despite this, we have recorded growth in 2009 due to positive evolution in market share and have maintained our leading position in the market as a result of our carefully designed growth strategy.
Will the recently announced VAT hikes to tourism businesses and services have a negative effect on your business?
Amadeus Hellas is not so much focused on incoming as it is on outgoing and therefore the impact on our business is not seen in the light of reduced visits potentially derived from higher prices as a consequence of VAT increases.
In 2008 Amadeus produced a 60 percent market share in Southern Europe due to the excessive competitive market in Greece. Just how competitive is the market in Greece?
The market in Greece is very competitive with all four Global Distribution Systems present in the market. Amadeus Hellas has been steadily growing for many years, clearly differentiating from competitors through its business offerings. Amadeus continues to invest in new technologies, services and solutions year after year maintaining its leading position in the Greek market.
According to figures, Amadeus’ Southern Europe market share in 2009 increased two percent from 2008 due to the strong market share gain in Greece. How is the market share in Greece in 2010?
The market share for Greece has evolved positively and Amadeus Hellas has closed the year with a slight increase in its market share. That trend is sustained in the first quarter of 2010.
Has the online presence of Greek businesses changed or does it still lack in comparison with other European countries?
Even though the statistics regarding Internet usage are still relatively low in comparison to other European countries, the Greek market is starting to progress year by year. Travelers tend to use the Internet to find travel information even more and I think that travel agencies will soon be fully compliant with the global tendencies and be able to offer unparalleled services to customers.
What does Amadeus’ future plans include for the Greek market?
Amadeus continues to invest in research and innovation and in this direction we have launched Content Inn by Amadeus, a most advanced platform for hotel content offering automation, information, competitive prices and a user-friendly booking tool. We also try to enrich travel content in order to offer travel agencies more choices and new opportunities to increase revenue from greater commissions.
In your opinion what does the travel industry rank worst for?
Certainly I cannot find anything bad about the travel industry! There are areas that need to be improved and we are confident to be able to play a pivotal role on that aspect. In my opinion, the Greek travel industry has evolved dramatically in the last few years and we are very happy to have contributed to that evolution.
How does Amadeus see Greek tourism in general and its immediate future?
Greek tourism will go through harsh times, turbulences and pressure. Being though Greece’s number one product, we must all ensure that efforts are made to help tourism become once again competitive and profitable with the right strategies and plans for long-term growth. We need professionalism, dedication, experience, optimism and hard work to bring about change.