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Report: What the Internet was Saying About Greece and Athens in July

The volume of online social conversations for both Greece and Athens in July saw an important boost as visitation to the country and the city increased, according to the Athens/Greece Sentiment Tracker released by INSETE, the research body of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE).

INSETE’s monthly report provides data on the e-reputation of Greece and Athens based on tourism and non-tourism factors and makes comparisons with competing countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal). The collection and processing of data on behalf of INSETE is done by TCI Research.

Overall, according to the report, Athens’ experience-based reputation has remained unchanged for four consecutive months at the rating of 9,0, while the score of Greece was 8,9, down by 0,1 compared to June. Despite the small drop, Greece remained above the European average (8,5) and in the Top 5 best rated destinations in Europe in July.

Online conversations

According to INSETE’s report for July, the Covid incidence rate in conversation showed the same trend as in June, with a flat trend in Greece and a slight increase in Athens.

The most eminent Covid-centric conversations were related to the “tourism boom vs pre-Covid” as well as indirect associations to other growing factors (like the euro/dollar parity encouraging US travellers to visit Europe and Greece after Covid).

Photo source: European Commission / Photographer: Yorgos Karahalis

Greece’s e-reputation drops

Greece’s e-reputation sharply fell to 18 points in July, following the same downward trend as Spain and Portugal, and mirroring an overall strong decline of sentiment recorded globally and across Europe by UNWTO and ETC. The Net Sentiment Score was 27 points behind Italy.

Athens e-reputation also dropped significantly to 8 points (Net Score), meaning a nearly equal share of positive and negative mentions about the capital city during the month.

According to INSETE, the Net Sentiment Score fell significantly in all Greece’s markets, notably in the UK and Germany. An important decline, especially in British and German markets, was also observed about Athens.

Negative social conversations

The negativity in social conversations were fueled by combined tourism and non-tourism reputation factors including climate-related topics (such as heatwave and wildfires) and other negative drivers around the Greek tourism industry facing difficulty: rising coronavirus cases and stories of tourists overcharged in restaurants or a British visitor killed by a helicopter rotor blade.

Mt Penteli was one of the areas in Greece affected by a wildfire in July.

References to the Ukraine conflict have been stable at 3 percent of total Greece/travel social conversations, mostly around EU sanctions against Russia affecting Greek industry, energy crisis, and the economic impact (Euro’s slump, fall in purchasing power).

Positive social conversations

Despite the decline in Net Sentiment Score, many positive reputation drivers about Greece remained active in July, with celebrities and tourists “flooding” in Greece for holiday.

Positive destination reputation enhanced across a range of topics, including culture, food, lodging and events.

A new mobile app called “Culture is Athens” introduced by the Municipality of Athens as well as Athens International Airport named the best airport in Europe according to the Google user ratings were the two highlights around tourism in Greece.

Athens International Airport. Photo source: Shutterstock

July’s food topic centered modern Greek recipes, particularly salads using emblematic products of Greek cuisine, perfect for the hot summer months.

Greek destinations always a topic for discussion

Elafonisi beach, Crete. Photo source: Region of Crete

Throughout July, a great number of destinations in Greece were presented, demonstrating Greece’s ability to cater to tourists’ preferences:

– “unusual pink beach” Elafonisi, listed among the 50 best beaches in the world;
– best Greek islands to visit (Corfu, Crete and Naxos);
– ideal Greek lesser-known destinations in August (Astypalea, Lipsi, Skyros).

There were also several talks about Santorini, highlighting it as a luxury destination, while being one of the most important places for the study of geological phenomena and formations.

Other positive drivers include the Greek tourism minister’s suggestion that German pensioners spend the winter in Greece in view of inflation and the threat of energy shortages.

Sanitary safety perceptions

Sanitary safety perceptions among visitors declined in Greece (- 0,77) in July but recovered in Athens (+ 0,25). According to INSETE, both stay in a positive range compared to threshold vigilance levels.

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About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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