Tourism firms want better gov’t support

When a standing promotion campaign’s logo changes as many as eight times in 14 years, it is no wonder customers cannot remember it: That is the case with Greek tourism’s logo, which cannot but elude the memory of the country’s potential visitors. This was one of the conclusions of a conference organized recently by the Hellenic Tourism Enterprises Association (SETE) on «Post-Olympic Strategies for Greek Tourism.» A poll conducted during the conference revealed that only 22 percent of participants were aware of the logo. «If only a quarter of the tourism professionals are aware of the Greek tourism logo, then how can we expect increased recognition by tourists-consumers for our country?» asks SETE. The association favors a logo lasting at least five years and expressing the values of Greece, its culture and tourism. Notably, Spain and France have kept the same logo for 20 and 15 years respectively. A study presented during the conference argued that Greece will have to invest about 300 million euros in organizational and business structures as well as marketing activity. The study proposes a 40 percent participation by the Ministry of Tourism Development and the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), with another 25 percent from the regional authorities, 15 percent from the local authorities and 20 percent from the private sector. A vital condition for the success of this investment would be the introduction of a central marketing unit for Greek tourism, in parallel with some local units that would cover Greek tourism destinations in their entirety. This unit would be based on the logic of specialized marketing-product clubs, supported at research and communication levels. It could be ready to function within 18 months. Tourism professionals agreed on the need for a single marketing authority to promote Greek tourism, under private management. In the answers participants in the conference gave to questionnaires, 94.8 percent are not satisfied with the way Greek tourism is promoted today, while about 90 percent would rather have priority given to particular products and services directed toward specific interest markets, considering the limited budget. Asked how they view the current tourism advertising budget, 40.8 percent replied it is lower than what it should be, 33 percent said it is extremely low, and just 21 percent answered the funds allocated are sufficient. The Tourism Development Ministry plans to spend 31.9 million euros for promotion in 2005 from 9 million euros this year. Six out of 11 people questioned (54.5 percent) said they would contribute financially to a new marketing authority provided it was privately run, and another 33.3 percent promised to contribute regardless of who would manage it. GNTO sues advertiser GNTO said yesterday it will take legal action against advertising firm ADEL for adverts run this month in foreign magazines and newspapers without approval by GNTO’s responsible department, giving Greece bad publicity. The ads in question urged readers to visit Athens for the Olympics – more than six weeks after the Closing Ceremonies. An investigation revealed that the advertising company had not submitted the ads for final approval by GNTO.