A relatively low proportion of enterprises in Greece are using e-commerce to connect to potential customers
The tourism industry in Greece would benefit from a long-run increase in demand of up to 20 percent if action were taken to increase online activity to match that of leading EU countries. Taking wider benefits into account, including the supply-chain, this would increase Greece GDP by three percent and generate over 100,000 new jobs.
This was concluded from an Oxford Economics study entitled “The Impact of Online Content on European Tourism,” supported by Google and endorsed by the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), that was presented recently in Athens. The study explores the value of online content to the tourism economies of Greece, Italy, and Spain.
According to the study, online content currently supports 10 percent, 26 percent, and 43 percent of all tourist arrivals in Greece, Italy, and Spain, respectively. Meanwhile, the EU average is 49 percent, including research and booking. “This leaves significant upside potential for the tourism industry in these countries to more fully embrace an online presence,” the study notes.
The analysis shows that in Greece, Italy and Spain the number of trips researched online is likely to be significantly above the number of trips purchased online.
Travel to Greece is estimated to involve the lowest interaction with online content of the three destinations. Just five percent of trips to Greece are booked online while only 10 percent of visitors researched their trip online. “These lower shares relate to the relatively low proportion of businesses selling online,” according to the study.
Within the European tourism sector, the exploration of culture is a key motivator for travelers, accounting for 22 percent of tourism trips made by EU27 citizens in 2011. Culture-related searches in top travel-generating markets account for 45 percent of all tourism-related searches on Greece.
Increased cultural online content alone could have a long-run benefit to whole economy GDP of around 1.5 percent in Greece, generating 50,000 new jobs.
Among conclusions for Greece, the study underlines that given the low proportion of establishments online in the country, there remains a large opportunity to expand this market by increasing online content.
In order to achieve this opportunity, the tourism industry in Greece, Italy, and Spain would need to take at least some of the following steps:
- Businesses must further develop their online presence (in multiple languages) as a primary marketing and booking channel. This should span various platforms (website, travel apps, search, sales portals, travel reviews, travel guides) and include ever-deepening content. Development of content spanning both established and smaller, niche enterprises will generate further impacts.
- Develop online content for cultural tourism. Given the significant role that culture plays in tourism in Europe, the internet presents a large opportunity to motivate travel by exposing cultural assets to consumers.
- Government agencies can work with the private sector to provide complementary destination and cultural online content.
- Engage with social media and encourage feedback from customers. This will allow businesses to build relationships with their customers as well as improve service offerings over time.