Tourism needs marketing

Greece needs to develop a consistent, long-term marketing strategy and spend more to promote its tourism industry, the Research Institute for Tourism (ITEP) said yesterday. The tourism think tank said its study on marketing expenditure in the tourism sector showed Greece is lagging behind its competitors in publicizing its tourist assets abroad. The very nature of the tourism industry and its substantial role in regional development mean «there is a need for marketing,» Andreas Kouzelis, the author of the report, stressed. He said marketing efforts to date «do not appear to have the anticipated result.» Greece can expect to see a significant rise in tourist foreign exchange if it increases its annual marketing budget to $35 million, Kouzelis said. In comparison, the Greek National Tourist Organization (EOT) spent an average of $26.8 million per year over the last decade, or just 18.7 percent of its total budget. The amount was not far off the $22.8 million spent by Turkey and considerably above the $13.2 million shelled out by Italy. Greece’s marketing efforts came to $4.1 per tourist, much more than the Mediterranean average, but foreign exchange per tourist amounted to $126.9, way behind Italy, Spain and Turkey. Kouzelis said a marketing strategy should be long-term and based on a consistent slogan. It would also be more effective if the funds were evenly distributed between the traditional channels and other mediums such as tour operators, tourism exhibitions and the Internet. Kouzelis also suggested that local authorities contribute to the marketing budget, making available a percentage of the tax on tourist enterprises. Equally important, EOT should look into its offices abroad and train its personnel to sell the country. «These are first-class investors and it is a huge mark of success that we have managed to attract them at a time when the (telecoms) sector is facing a liquidity crisis and when people run a mile when they hear the word ‘telecom’,» he said.