ECONOMY

Greek tourism prepares for the day after

greek-tourism-prepares-for-the-day-after

The travel industry has seen a big shift toward experiential travel where consumers opt to purchase experiences over things. Consumers want more immersive, authentic and unique experiences, with opportunities to absorb the culture of a destination, and to be able to book them online at their own convenience. 

According to Skift’s research, 67 percent of affluent travelers US prioritize experiences when traveling, and Phocuswright’s similar research found that active US travelers spend 26 percent of their travel budget on experiences, preferring to explore on their own, or on private or semi-private tours.

This trend is unlikely to change after the crisis: Consumers will be more eager to travel and explore; travel will rebound quickly but in different forms and ways and will go through different stages till we reach normality. 

Technology will be a key enabler for making travel experiences available for a wider audience. However, on top of technology and the efforts to digitize the Greek experiences marketplace, what will truly set Greece apart is the ability to create unique and authentic experiences beyond the ordinary and traditional products we’ve been offering for years as part of the “Sun, Sea & Sand” package.

This is a chance to bring out our creativity, innovative thinking, and cultural spirit. For instance, local tourism startup Moptil offers interactive virtual and augmented reality experiences in 3D reconstructions of archaeological sites. And Narratologies helps travelers explore the city’s urban life at their own pace, offering game-like experiences of cultural discovery, transforming the city into a living museum and sharing powerful stories from the past.

SETE, as a home for all tourism professionals, is instrumental in supporting and promoting Greek tourism. It is perfectly positioned to support this cause and become the platform and voice for talented individuals and startups. 

Initiatives like the Capsule T Accelerator for tourism startups by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels or the OnTour Tourism School by INSETE are highly commendable and should be further developed to build the country’s experiential tourism.

* Michael Mavropoulos is the founder and CEO of Experiences Net and a board member of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE).