Introduction and Rationale
The tourism industry is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries. The industry is growing fast courtesy of globalization and advanced technology among other factors. The Greek tourism is therefore part of the world’s larger tourism industry that is rapidly growing. The industry contributes a large portion to the Greek economy.
For instance, the inbound tourism industry that involves traveling and staying in places outside their usual environment plays a vital role in the Greek economy. The industry contributes to the Greek economy through various ways such as provision of employment and tourism revenues among other ways.
Various tourist attractions in Greece are distributed in various cities and islands. The Crete Island is one of the major islands of Greece that has numerous tourist attractions and hosts many tourists throughout the year. The island is populous and is well known for its tourist attractions such as the sub tropical climate that is characterized by archeological sites that attract tourists.
Other tourist attractions include attractive beaches that are used for surfing, canal and waterway system, nightlife and the closeness of the island to the hinterland. These tourist attractions are important in attracting tourists from both within Greece and outside Greece to the island. The revenue from tourism is important for the State Economy and the larger Greece GDP (Tourism Forecasting Committee 2006, p. 45).
In spite of the revenue collected from tourist attractions found in the Crete Island, the attractions are not well exploited in order to reap maximum benefits. This report examines the Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) strategies that could be used to maximize the benefits from tourism in the Crete Island of Greece.
The report outlines the IMC strategies and marketing strategies that could sell tourism to a new domestic target market, given that it is the highest tourism revenue earner for the island and the country.
The Greek Tourism Industry
The tourism industry in Greece has been growing over time. According to Instinct and Reason (2006, p. 113), the number of tourists fell by 1% in 2003. However, the number increased in 2004 to 4.77 and in to 5.45 in 2008.
The Greek tourism industry grew in 2009 due to the weaknesses of the Greek Dollar that increased the level of competitiveness of the industry compared to other world tourist destinations such as UK, Australia and New Zealand. Price competitiveness of the industry was affected by the Greek recession Dollar in 2010 and 2011 leading to reduced performance of the industry.
In addition, the global economic recession affected the tourism negatively in the same period because firms operating in the industry reduced their costs. According to Porter (1998), one quarter of the tourists arriving in Greece is businesspersons that travel for business reasons while the rest are leisure travelers.
As the strength of the Greek currency begun to wane towards the end of 2011, tourism activities in the country and specifically the Crete Island began to improve. The forecast tourist rivals for the country in 2011 were 5.7 million tourists while 2014 forecasts are 6.34 million tourists.
The expenditure in tourism fell in 2009 to US$28.87 billion from US$31.46 in 2008. In spite of the decrease, expenditure was to stabilize and keep increasing until 2014.
The tourist visiting Greek tourist sites are comprised of both domestic and international tourists. Majority of international tourists are from the Asia-Pacific region while other is from Europe and North America. Arrivals of tourists from these regions have continuously increased over time. The tourist number estimates by country have increased from 3 million tourists in 2001 to 3.7 million people in 2009.
The numbers are expected to keep growing to 4.5 million tourists by 2014. The major sources of international tourists for Greece include New Zealand, Japan, U.S. and UK. India is also increasingly becoming a vital market for Greek tourism industry given its economic indicators and demographics.
This is evident, as the Greek tourism ministry has launched tourism campaign in India using Qantas and Singapore Airlines. In spite of the progress, arrivals from India have reduced following latest attacks on Indian tourists in Greece. On the contrary, New Zealand has been the largest outbound Greek tourism with number of Greek visiting the country increasing immensely over years beginning from 2001 (Cannon 2007, p. 65).
The Crete Island has a large size that just enough for accommodating more tourists. The Crete Island boasts of its diversity in tourism products, attractions, accommodation, and tourist experiences. In addition, it has a lifestyle that is amazing for tourists to experience. The island has a high level of awareness and profile in international and domestic tourist destination in Greece.
The proximity of the Crete Island to Brisbane is an added advantage because tourists could easily access Brisbane or the Crete Island from Brisbane. A clean environment that includes the urban, coastal and forest landscapes characterizes Crete Island. These landscapes are positively related to tourism in the island.
Crete Island boasts of emerging sectors such as the education, health, and medicine, marine, film and multimedia sectors that encourage tourism in the island. The reputation of the Crete Island as a major tourist destination and the attractiveness of its hallmark events such as adventure parc, hot air balloon and birch Carroll and Cinemas among other events attract tourists.
The surrounding community found in the island supports tourism activities and development through various means. The iconic surf beaches and the sub-tropical climate that is sunny is a major tourist attraction to the island. The location of firms in the Crete Island in itself is strength for the Crete Island because it researches and promotes best tourist activities for the Crete Island.
The entrepreneurial culture of the island has led to the development of many excellent tourist resorts in the island providing accommodation and other important tourism activities for tourists. Therefore, the large size of tourism in the island is positively correlated to the number of tourists visiting the island.
Crete Island is faced with several issues that form its weaknesses. To begin with, despite the island having wealthy and middles class society, majority are poor that are not able to meet their daily needs and therefore perceive the island as an island that is just surfers’ paradise that is too touristy.
This perception has affected domestic tourism especially from the region. In addition, it has led to an under-supply of cultural tourism products and experiences that are valued by international tourists touring the island.
The Crete Island has transportation issues because of road network from the NSW in the south and the congestion in the island Therefore, limited direct airlines services in spite of the proximity to Brisbane could affect the number of tourists in the Crete Island. The Crete Island faces disjointed approach to planning and management issues for tourism.
This weakness coupled with concentration on development of accommodation infrastructure has led to increased tourist accommodation and reduced other tourism-supporting infrastructure.
That the hinterland surrounding Crete Island is not aware of the potential of the Crete Island in terms of tourism experiences. Lastly, the reliance on fine weather experiences could affect the growth of other sectors of Crete Island’s economy.
Crete Island has many opportunities that could be exploited for the growth of tourism within the Crete Island. To begin with, the Crete Island has the opportunity of embracing new innovative tourism products and icons. For instance, the tourism sector could develop new culturally supporting tourism activities in order to encourage domestic tourism. The Crete Island has relied mainly on traditional form of tourism.
However, there is an opportunity to adopt ecotourism (nature-based tourism) especially to the coastal regions and the hinterland near the Crete Island. Nature based tourism is good for the Crete Island in terms of sustaining the environment.
The tourist resorts developed in the Crete Island have the opportunity of using integrated transport systems for tourist activities such as self-drives, public transport and provision of private operations for transport.
According to Johnstone-Donnet (2007, p. 16), the hinterland of Crete Island has not been exploited. Tourism in the Crete Island could exploit the hinterland by establishing scenic rimy linkages in the hinterland. The Crete Island has the opportunity of increasing the length of its airport runways in order to develop leisure-focused airlines and direct international air services in the Crete Island.
This could be achieved through a proactive events strategy that includes development of niche tourist market development. There exists an opportunity of developing tourism in the Crete Island using tourism retail experiences that are innovative.
Given that the tourism planning and issues management in the Crete Island has been up to date, tourism management could embrace destination management approach that helps in developing tourist destinations within the Crete Island. In addition, there is an opportunity to heighten the involvement of community support to tourism through awareness on the importance of tourism in the Crete Island.
Hingerty (2007, p. 10) posits that increased awareness on dining and food experiences within the Crete Island would boost domestic tourism. In addition, locals could be attracted to Crete Island tourism through increased link between culture and the lifestyle of people in Crete Island. These could be augmented by establishing culture and lifestyle oriented tourism in the Crete Island.
According to Noonan (2006), Crete Island has the opportunity of establishing a holiday seaport that accommodates cruise ships, boutique ships and leisure crafts among other vessels that could promote tourism in the Crete Island.
Upgrading the bypasses such as the Tugun, bypass and establishing pedestrian walkways could promote both domestic and international tourism in the Crete Island. Lastly, the development of more convention centers could encourage more business tourists to the Crete Island.
Threats are negative issues that could negatively affect tourism in Crete Island. According to Maurer et al. (2006, p. 71), the first threat to the tourism industry in Crete Island is the uncoordinated planning and development of tourism within the Crete Island.
Much of the development of tourism activities within the Crete Island are not well planned and coordinate and could affect future performance of the tourism industry in the Crete Island. Tourism activities in the Crete Island do not have disaster and crisis management plan. This is elaborated by the fact that the Crete Island relies much on good weather and climate conditions.
As the Crete Island grows, its population has increased and criminal activities have increased threatening tourism in the Crete Island. The global tourism industry is growing with many other tourist destinations posing increased competitiveness, therefore threatening the tourism industry in Crete Island.
For instance, New Zealand has increased its tourism competitiveness compared to Greece therefore increasing number of Greek tourists touring the country. Inadequate fresh water supply is a threat to the growth of the tourism industry in the Crete Island.
These significant factors affect the operation of the tourism industry in Greece. The factors are many as they include the trading policies, lobby groups in the domestic market, international pressure and policies of the government. Concerning policies of international trade, Greece maintains good trading policies with its neighbors with trades including tourism being in favorable condition.
Lobby and pressure group are vibrant in Greece and their pressure on corporate social and environmental responsibility is felt in the tourism industry as the industry struggles to meet environmental sustainability needs. Lobby groups are found within both Greece and international boundaries.
Political factors also include the good leadership provided by the Greek government that promotes tourism, peace and stability. Therefore, the political environment (factors) is vital for the success of the tourism industry in Greece.
The performance of the Greek economy is important in determining the performance of the tourism industry. The recession experienced in the economy especially in 2009 and 2010 affected tourism in Greece as the number of unemployment increased, firms performed poorly and tourists reduced.
The disposable income of many Greeks in some tourist destinations such as the Crete Island is low and therefore the low turn up of domestic tourists in such destinations. Economic cycles in the global economy too affect the unemployment rates in the international market thereby affecting tourists in Greece.
These factors too pose some threats while providing some opportunities to the tourism industry in Greece. Greeks are highly influenced by the media. Therefore, the media provides a great opportunity for the growth of the tourism industry in Greece especially if proper measures are undertaken to market the industry to the domestic market.
The demographics of the Greek population indicate that the country’s population is about 22.79 million people based on the country’s bureau of statistics. This large population provides a good opportunity for the growth of the domestic tourism in Greece.
Technology has advanced and Greece has not been left behind in technology. The internet is largely used as a form of electronic marketing as mot firms including those operating in the tourism industry utilizing the media in marketing their products.
Tourists can now be booked in hotels and restaurants in tourist destinations using an electronic system. Moreover, they are able to choose best destinations online. However, the country has not exploited the technology opportunity to market and maximize other destinations with tourism potential such as Crete Island.
The tourism industry is largely affected by environmental factors since most of the features exist in their natural environments. Therefore, environment conservation and sustainability is vital for the growth of the tourism sector.
Internationally, global warming threatens natural species and environmental sustainability policies have been established to be enacted by all countries. In spite of these policies, they have moderate impacts on the tourism industry.
The Greek tourism industry has many stakeholders that keep it growing strong. Stakeholders in the industry range from the Greek government, suppliers of various products and services in the industry, the public and tourists both domestic and international tourists. To begin with, the Greek government as a major stakeholder is an important player in the industry as it aims at developing the industry in order to increase its revenue base.
The government has various measures in place to protect wildlife and natural features that attract tourists. Moreover, its tourism ministry promotes tourism in the country through increased marketing abroad and online with various marketing and advertising modes being used such as the broadcast, print, electronic and audio media.
Other stakeholders are consumers of tourism services and products in Greece. Consumers of tourism services in the Greek market are rational in their choices. The choices made by the tourists are affected by many factors including the attractiveness of the tourist destinations in Greece, their levels of income, political stability and tastes and preferences among many other factors.
As indicated earlier, the number of tourists in Greece’s Crete Island is comprised of both local and international tourists. According to Collins et al. (2007, p. 66), the decisions of domestic consumers, which happen to be the target market in this paper has changed. The report comments that domestic tourists are concerned about the value they receive for their money.
Recent reports indicate that domestic tourists in Greece are resentful of the poor value of their money in the Greek tourism industry. The resentment is likely to increase especially if the tourism industry tries to promote Greek tourism industry without improving the tourism attractions (Travel Research Centre 2006, p. 171).
Tourists are usually concerned about the level of accommodation for tourists provided in the country. Domestic tourists view the level of accommodation as of low quality and inadequate. Locals feel that tourist activities are much focused on foreign tourism market than the local market.
Therefore, the attractiveness of the tourism sector to the domestic market could be further exploited with the improvement of tourism activities and features so that they meet the demands of the domestic tourists. This could be achieved by incorporating more cultural activities that reflect the local culture of domestic Greeks.
The Greek domestic tourism industry is in strong competition with outside tourist destinations such as New Zealand and UK. This is experienced with a large substitution effect between domestic and international holidays. Greeks have become interested in the rest of the world because of globalization. They therefore prefer international tourism to domestic tourism.
According to Porter (1998), the number of domestic overnight trips declined at an average of 2% annually between 2001 and 2006 whereas the number of international trips increased by an average of 5% annually between the same period.
International tourist destinations provide Greeks with difference, diversity, experience and value for their money (Dunning 2006, p. 81). In addition, it is perceived that international holidays are more prestigious and exotic than a domestic holiday.
Basing on the preferences for a foreign trip compared to the domestic holiday, it is argued that foreign trips offers different food, cultural experiences, history, language and climatic differences. In addition, it offers diverse experiences, scenery and shopping. These factors are what make Greek tourists derive value for their money while increasing competitiveness of foreign tourist destinations compared to domestic tourism.
The tourist attractions found in the Greek tourist attraction in Crete Island are many and vary. Crete Island is made of beautiful beaches that attract tourists especially when it is coupled with the sunny weather. Based on its geographical features, the Crete Island provides an adventure PARC for all tourists (domestic and international).
The outback spectacular show is usually held in April and attracts all tourists regardless of their backgrounds. The balloon hot air coast and the Birch Carroll & Coyle Crete Island cinemas are amazing to all tourists.
Gliding over Byron Bay, Cedar creek glow-worm, cedar creek winery and Couran Point Island Beach resort are but a few attractions that could leave tourists with a lasting experience. These among many other features are what make Crete Island one of the best tourist attractions in Greece.
The target market for this IMC report is the domestic tourism market in Greece. The domestic tourism market is mainly attracted to the attractive tourism features such as overnight leisure market. The domestic tourism market for Greece is made up of the entire Greek population.
The age of the population includes all ages. However, preference is given to people aged 20 years and above with the segmentation involving demographic, geographic location of the tourists and the psychographic factors. Tourism activities are provided to suit all market segments for the domestic tourists (Kerin et al. 2003, p. 94).
Objectives for Greek Tourism
Short Term objectives
The short-term objective of the Greek tourism industry should be to market its neglected tourism cites such the Crete Island tourism in Crete Island. The marketing should focus on the domestic market in Greece.
Medium Term Objectives
The medium term strategies should be to market Greek tourism industry to both the local and international markets. The medium term of five years should see the industry increase its domestic and international tourists’ statistics.
Long-term visitor management should focus on increasing the capacity of the tourism industry. The long-term strategy should depend on the success of the short and medium term strategies as their success could determine the success of the long-term strategy.
The strategy of the industry in the long term is to establish enough accommodation and transport facilities for the tourism industry so that as the number of tourists increase, the transport system and accommodation increases.
These strategies should be used in the short term and medium term periods. The focus of the strategies is to market the tourist attractions in Crete Island. The initial step is to develop awareness of the Crete Island tourist destination to local/domestic market comprised of the entire Greek population.
The objective is to make the domestic tourism market aware of the tourism potential in the Crete Island. This include the availability of beautiful beaches, a wonderful climate, sanctuaries, creek glow-worm, gliding bay and adventure PARC among many other attractive features.
The creation of awareness among the Greek population concerning the potential of Crete Island as a tourist destination would begin by advertising the tourism potential to the public through the print media such as newspapers, tourism magazines and Greek tourism newsletters.
In addition, the Crete Island would be advertised in the tourism website of Greece among other online websites and blogs. Billboards and bulletin boards would also be created and situated in strategic locations throughout Greece. According to Kotler and Armstrong (2004, p. 206), the audio media should also not be left out as an advertising channel because it is more effective than the print media.
The other is the broadcast media that includes television broadcasts. Wedel and Kamakura (2000) point out that all adverts must have a given message to the customers. Consequently, all adverts and promotions of the tourism activities in Crete Island would have a specific message that is appealing to the public in Greece (Collins et al. 2007, p. 71).
After creating awareness, it is necessary to develop interest in the domestic Greek population, which is the target market. Developing interest would involve holding of several concerts of various tourist attractions found in Crete Island.
This would also include being present in shows, state fairs spring and summer break festivities among other events. Events would garner interest with colorful signs and banners including announcements by various artists.
After creation of interest, the market needs to evaluate whether the goals and objectives of the Crete Island tourism has been accomplished. Evaluation would be conducted by the ability of the domestic population to access the Crete Island tourist activities. The marketing mix would incorporate many concerts that would ensure that some locals participate in some events.
At the rate of 30%, the marketer would evaluate the interest of Greeks to tour Crete Island. Evaluation would be facilitated at the various promotion events providing some products to all participants (Mills 2002, p. 105).
After evaluation, the IMC director would encourage the locals to try out the activities being offered by the tourism industry in Crete Island. The IMC director could achieve this objective by providing locals with rebates such as AUS$100 off the price of tourism activities being offered in Crete Island. Price rebates would encourage domestic tourists to believe that they are being given a bargain.
Trade discounts in terms of the number of domestic tourists would also encourage locals to tour the Crete Island. After the establishment of products that link locals to their culture, the IMC director should have the goal of making the locals adopt domestic tourism of Crete Island.
This could include provision of coupons for second or further visits to the Crete Island. The tourism industry should offer various deals and packages for new and existing domestic tourists.
Creative Strategies for Communication in Crete Island
Tourism activities in Crete Island would be promoted too using direct marketing that would be accompanied by action orientation. Direct marketing of tourism activities in Crete Island would include a call to immediate action and an easy step to use response devices in order to sell or make a step towards selling of tourism activities in Greece. The IMC director would make specific offers to the public towards touring Crete Island.
This may include telling locals the available offers for domestic tourists and the requirements to obtain the offers such as the prices. The information provides is to the targeted market. The information provided must be measurable, personal, testable and flexible to allow all locals to make their varying offers.
According to Kitchen and De Pelsmacker (2004, p. 62), IMC strategies encompass general advertising, marketing directly to the locals in Greece, sales promotions and public relations. No strategy is superior to the other because all strategies have an equal goal in an integrated marketing communication initiative.
Promotion of tourism in Crete Island would involve the utilization of various media channels in order to convey the message on attractions to tourists in the Crete Island. The first form of media that is very effective is the print media.
Under this mode, the IMC director would market the beautiful beaches, climatic conditions and creek among other attractions through newspapers, magazines and brochures among other forms of print media. Pictures and videos containing the necessary attractive features would be conveyed. The broadcast media could also be used to convey the same message.
TVs and radio could be used. In addition, public relations strategy could be used with public relations representative informing the locals on the benefits of domestic tourism while doing away with the perception that Crete Island is just for international tourists (Kotler & Armstrong 2004, p. 223).
In the long term, the Greek tourism industry should focus on improving infrastructure and accommodation in the Crete Island tourist destination. Currently, accommodation is enough. However, short and medium term strategies should increase the number of both domestic and international tourists thereby requiring improved facilities and accommodation in order to gain customer loyalty.
Tourism in Greece has been growing over time in spite of a few negative growth brought about by factors such as strengthening of the Greek currency. Crete Island is one of the tourist attraction sites in the country. It is endowed with many tourist attractions such as beautiful beaches, an attractive climate, cedar creek and an adventure PARC among other attractions.
Tourism in the Crete Island is made up of both local Greek nationals and international tourists. In spite of the large number of domestic tourists comprising the total number of tourists in the Crete Island, many other Greeks tour other international tourist destinations that compete with Greece such as the UK and New Zealand.
It is evident from this report that domestic tourism should be promoted in order to increase the number of revenue from tourism. The important IMC objectives are to increase the level of domestic tourism in Crete Island. The objectives could be achieved through various IMC strategies.
Media strategies and creative strategies to be used include the promotion, advertising and sale of tourist attractions in the Crete Island to the locals in Greece. This could involve the use of direct marketers and public relations personnel.
The limitation of this visitor management plan is that it focuses on managing tourists in the Crete Island only and does not focus on the entire Greece. Therefore, future visitor management plans could focus on other tourist destinations either in Greece or in other parts of the world.
List of References
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