Tourism isn’t just a sector, it’s a chain of values where all links are involved. Thus, new strategic priorities emerge such as forging a stronger connection between tourism and the country’s culture and gastronomy sector according to Ioanna Dretta, CEO of Marketing Greece
Greek Business June, July, August - Interview by Lalela Chryssanthopoulou
How does Marketing Greece support Greek tourism?
Marketing Greece is the collaboration of private sector tourism to promote Greece as a modern and exciting tourism destination. We are a not-for-profit initiative of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) and the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels. As such, our shareholder is Greek tourism itself. Our aim is to improve the characteristics of the demand for the Greek tourism product. In other words, to upgrade the qualitative aspects of Greek tourism. Mostly, this translates as achieving a higher average spend for our tourists and a wider geographical spread of visitors, as well as extending the tourism season. We also target new strategic priorities that have a very specific impact, such as forging a stronger connection between tourism and the country’s culture and gastronomy sector. The core of our activity revolves around the implementation of innovative and targeted promotional campaigns that highlight Greek destinations and visitor experiences. We’re constantly on the lookout for new marketing practices that will enhance our message and maximize engagement with prospective visitors, through digital or public relations actions, and by developing partnerships with private and public bodies.
The human aspect of tourism
What is the company’s strategy and its priorities?
This year, we have pledged to focus on the human aspect of tourism and its value in destination marketing. International trends underline that the human element is the main component of authenticity, and this is something in which Greece can very naturally take the lead. Compared to our competition, we score higher at every level in this regard. It’s at the heart of our “Oh My Greece | Unlock the feeling” campaign. Another major priority for us is the redesign and upgrading of our consumer platform, Discovergreece.com, the main vehicle for our campaigns. Our goal is to provide the best service for more than 15,000 visitors a day, and decisively influence potential visitors to Greece at different stages of their travel journey.
You have been at the helm of Marketing Greece for two years. Can you elaborate on what has been achieved so far? Are there measurable results?
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that the company, in its six years of operation, has supported Greek tourism in a meaningful way. This is something for which the credit is shared by everyone involved, and that I confess we’re particularly proud of. We’ve contributed to the evolution of the way in which destinations are promoted and to a better understanding of the value of targeted and shared actions. In terms of results within a month of the Oh My Greece video being launched, it achieved 3 million views and 27,000 shares, completely organically and generated more than 11,000 comments. In total, Discovergreece.com has attracted more than 24 million page views and has built up a community of 1.15 million followers on its social media channels. In all, the platform hosts more than 100 videos and 5,000 photos, and 1.2 million words in seven languages. Elsewhere, in terms of international pub licity, we’ve organised more than 600 media & digital influencer trips, which have generated more than 7.500 articles on Greek destinations and experiences. In addition, we have developed 12 marketing plans for tourism products at a regional & local level, designed more than 25 integrated campaigns aiming at promoting destinations & tourism products and implemented more than 40 programs for promoting destinations.
A chain of values
You have mentioned in other interviews that “collaborations are in the DNA of the company”. Can you tell us more about the collaborations of Marketing Greece and how do they work for the benefit of Greek Tourism?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the tourism product in Greece? In which sectors do you see more growth potential?
The greatest strength we have is the human element. This isn’t just an opinion it’s something that has been shown in studies. The biggest challenge is that the synergies that underpin the future success of tourism are something that Greeks don’t seek out in general. The steps that have been taken to build partnerships have come with great effort.
Tourism and culture are inextricably Linked
What is your vision for Marketing Greece and Greek tourism in a decade from now?
Let’s continue to work with the same passion for the common benefit of Greek tourism. Let’s continue to evolve daily, always seeking to be innovative and take actions that strengthen the Greek tourist product. We need to be more extrovert and share our knowhow. And to become a key interlocutor between Greek tourism with everyone.
Can you tell us a bit more about the Destination Marketing Management Organization initiative that Marketing Greece runs in collaboration with DIAZOMA and the Latsis Foundation?
Tourism and culture are concepts that are inextricably linked, as they place people at the centre of everything. The interconnection of tourism and culture is an objective of Marketing Greece, which is something that we are working on in cooperation with Diazoma. The purpose of this new collaboration is to support and share our know-how in destination marketing with the Cultural Route of the Ancient Theatres of Epirus of Diazoma, enhancing the region’s uniqueness and that way its tourist product is promoted.