Greek tourism’s recovery and the main challenges the industry will face this year topped the agenda of an online event held by Eurobank on Thursday.
Speaking during the web event, Eurobank Deputy Chief Executive Officer Andreas Athanasopoulos said tourism was among the few industries worldwide most challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added that the “crisis has created the circumstances for Greece to reposition its tourism product and confront new challenges”.
Athanasopoulos then analyzed five challenges that Greece will have to face in 2022:
Differentiation of the tourism product
The new reality that emerged after the pandemic has led to the differentiation of the tourism product including the form of tourism packages and all-inclusive products; the decrease of professional tourism activity and the promotion of emerging destinations; the new health protocols; and the competition from short-term rentals.
“The effect on profitability could be very positive if Greece manages to change – even slightly – its product mixture,” Athanasopoulos said.
Augmented products and services
The global system of contracts and bookings and the monetary conditions that arise – as opportunities or threats – create relative security for bookings but also a risk for profitability.
According to Athanasopoulos, the solution is to upgrade the tourism experience through augmented products and services whether they are all inclusive or not. The augmented product includes a diverse mix of unique experiences for which customers are willing to spend money.
The transition of businesses to the digital age is a unique opportunity for small-sized businesses.
“Customers are now looking for authentic personalized experiences to enjoy with digital tools and with the least possible physical contact,” Athanasopoulos underlined.
The pressure for sustainable development in all aspects of the tourism ecosystem – environment, economy, society, culture – is a national challenge.
According to Athanasopoulos, pressure comes from countries, regulators and consumers.
It is considered of paramount significance to strengthen certification and vocational training on the whole spectrum of the tourism value chain as well as support small- and medium-sized enterprises on issues related to extroversion, innovation, promotion and customer targeting.
During the event, Eurobank informed that it will support Greece’s tourism ecosystem once again through the “Business Banking Tourism” program. In its 12 consecutive year, the program offers integrated banking and other products and services, providing tourism enterprises with more options, solutions and growth prospects in a highly competitive and constantly changing environment.
Optimism for tourism in 2022
Despite the challenges of Covid-19 and the possible impact of the Ukraine-Russia war crisis on tourism, Eurobank executives appear optimistic about the 2022 tourism season in Greece.
Dimitris Oikonomou, Deputy General Manager and Head of the Small Business Segment General Division at Eurobank, predicts that 2022 will be a very good year for Greek tourism.
“Greek tourism has proven its resilience. We expect for Greece to exceed 20-21 million inbound travelers and 15 million euros in revenues this year,” he said.
On her part, Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) President Angela Gerekou said the signs are positive for the upcoming tourism season.
“We are seeing tourism activity increasing with no cancellations and expecting positive tourism activity for the months ahead,” she said.
It is reminded that in 2021, the number of international arrivals at all Greek airports were up by 97 percent year-on-year but still down by 46.3 percent over 2019, according to Bank of Greece data.
At the same time, business expectations in tourism-related sectors (accommodation, F&B) returned to positive some even reaching pre-Covid levels.
Titled “Business Banking Tourism 2022: The next day in the tourism sector”, Eurobank’s event was also attended by Eurobank General Manager, Retail Banking Iakovos Giannaklis and Rozi Athanasiou from Eurobank’s Strategy and Commercial Development Department Small Business Segment.