CNN And BBC Show Interest In Greek Tourism During Recent WTM 2012
“There were millions of people who visited our country this year and had no bad experience… and the feedback from the market is very positive and this is something I am having as feedback from the World Travel Market (WTM),” Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni said in a recent interview to CNN reporter Richard Quest during her stay in London. The WTM was held 5-8 November.
Mr. Quest wondered how Greece encourages people to visit the country when scenes of violence (in Athens) and a depressed environment of suffering people are transmitted (through the international media). “Who wants to go on a vacation in a place where there is 25 percent of unemployment… What’s your strategy if you are countering that image?” he asked the Greek tourism minister.
Mrs. Kefalogianni answered that the Tourism Ministry has a concrete strategy on tourism and is aiming very high since tourism can assist in the path of growth they want Greece to follow.
Commenting on the images of riots in Athens, she said they were “exaggerated.
“These are demonstrations and we can all understand that a society going through these sacrifices may have such reactions,” the tourism minister said.
During the interview, Mrs. Kefalogianni underlined that tourism in Greece has shown to be a very resilient sector to the crisis and the recession.
“Numbers are up in terms of arrivals and 2012 is not over yet because we are still receiving visitors,” she said.
The tourism minister underlined that it is important for the traveler to know that Greece provides great value for money. “I think this was the case for this year and shows that this will be the case for 2013,” she said.
“Tourism is definitely a success story for Greece and it is important to showcase, not just the grim side of the problems we are having, also the positive side,” she underlined.
See the complete interview here.
BBC: Greece hopes for tourism led recovery
While speaking recently to the BBC during WTM 2012, Mrs. Kefalogianni said she was launching an advertising drive in key markets such as the UK to boost visitor numbers.
According to the BBC, while Greece and its many picturesque islands remain very popular holiday destinations for British and other northern European holidaymakers, the country has quietly fallen out of the top five European holiday destinations over the past five years.
Last year Greece was in 10th place for the number of overseas visitors, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
The decline has come against a backdrop of a high euro making more holidaymakers look to places like Turkey and Bulgaria, and negative publicity surrounding the mass protests in Athens and other Greek cities against the debt-ridden government’s sharp spending cuts, the BBC reported.
The BBC also referred to comments of tourism industry analyst Mike Bugsgang, of London-based Bugsgang & Associates, who agreed that Greece should continue to remain a popular holiday destination. “It is far from doom and gloom for Greece. Outside the big cities there are no problems whatsoever,” he said.
“Yet because of the adverse publicity surrounding the protests, they are some very good holiday deals to be had,” he told the BBC.