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Decline in cultural tourism in Greece

27 March 2013 / 22:03:59  GRReporter
14264 reads

Victoria Mindova

Despite the global importance of historical and cultural monuments in Greece, there is a decline in cultural tourism in the country. In addition to the beaches, the Acropolis, Delphi, the ancient theatres and archaeological sites are considered a major attraction for foreign visitors to Greece. However, according to foreign experts, they are presented to tourists in an unattractive way, which negatively affects the tourism business in the country. This explains the decline in the number of visits to places and sites of cultural and historical significance.

"People who come on holiday in Greece want to be entertained rather than educated," said Johan Buchi, a special guest at the annual meeting of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies. He is the chairman of the German Association of Travel Agents (DVR) and he visited Athens as a sign of consolidation of the relations between the two countries.
"In recent years, German tourists have been willing to pay more for travel and tourism services, provided they are of high quality," says Buchi.

Greece is a favourite destination for German tourists, along with Spain and Turkey. The first data for 2013 obtained from the early bookings by March show that the number of German tourists to the Greek islands will increase compared to last year. Germans are fond of the Greek Mediterranean region and the local culture which make them return to the country every year.

"The Greek coastline and its islands are among the favourite tourist destinations for the Germans, mainly during the summer season. They are fond of the cultural heritage and the countryside. We think that it is important to preserve this positive image of the country and to establish and strengthen the Greek authenticity of the trips to Greece," insists the German.

In order to improve the face of Greece as a tourist destination, foreign experts believe that the country should put more effort into preserving the environment and protecting the authentic nature. The Mediterranean spirit and hospitality are the key assets of Greek tourism. The visitors from northern Europe love to experience the Mediterranean atmosphere and forget their cold everyday life. The Mediterranean spirit and hospitality are the key assets of Greek tourism. The visitors from northern Europe love to experience the Mediterranean atmosphere and forget their cold everyday life.

The chairman of the German Association of Travel Agents has made several recommendations to the Greek authorities on how to make the country more attractive to foreign visitors. "The customer feedback suggests that the facilities and hotels were built in the 1970s and 1980s and they need to be improved." Another important task that the local government must address is the improvement of infrastructure networks and airports.

"The airport is the last place that tourists see before they go home." It leaves a strong impression on the guests and can create both positive and negative impressions that the tourists will take away with them and discuss with friends. In this respect, the Greek government's decision to privatize 38 airports in the country and on the islands is considered a step in the right direction by the Germans.

One of every five euro in Greece is the result of tourism activity in the country. The tourism potential is still underdeveloped. According to Minister of Economy and Development Kostis Hatzidakis, the tourism sector could open another 220,000 jobs if it is provided with the right incentives for its development.

The head of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies George Telonis insists that the government should revise the level of VAT on tourism. It is very high (13%) compared to the competitive tourist destinations (5%-8%). Entrepreneurs in the field insist on the full liberalization of the transport market in order to be able to set lower prices of transport services for Greece’s visitors. Telonis also states that the national programme for the development of tourism has not been created by experts from the industry and therefore, there are many discrepancies in it that impede the development of tourism.

"Despite the media focus on strikes and protests, Greece is capable of attracting more tourists by relying on its traditional hospitality and improving its infrastructure," concluded the German guest in Athens. He believes that by implementing strategic changes in certain fields, the country will be able to hold onto its traditional admirers and to attract new tourists in the future.


Tags: EconomyMarketsTourismGermanyCulture
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