GREECE Market & Trade Profile Updated August 2009
CONTENTS 1 – THE MARKET 1. Market Snapshot
8. Who is the Greek Visitor to Britain?
2. General Market Conditions
• Demographics • Travelling Companions and key Travelling Group types • 1st Timers and Repeat Visitors
• • • • •
Population / Languages Economics / Politics Interest in UK University Education Holidays / Annual Leave General Emerging Consumer Trends
9. Caring for the Greek Consumer
3. Access Overview
• • • •
• Political, Passport and Visa Issues • Gateways / Access to Britain
10. Reaching Greek Consumers
4. Market Size, Share, and Forecasts • Current Volume / Value Statistics and Historic Trends for UK • World Regions Visited and Forecasts for Growth • The UK’s Market Share and Forecasts for Growth
5. Market Shape / Dynamics • • • • • •
Purpose of Visit Length of Stay Regional Spread / Regional Awareness Seasonal Spread Type of Accommodation – Where Do They Stay? Visiting the UK as part of a multi-cuntry trip
6.Britain’s Brand Image in Greece • Britain as a Tourist Destination Brand – DEPTH, HEART, VITALITY
7. Product / Market Fit
• Deciding, Planning and Booking Patterns for Travel • Online Environment / Internet Access • Media Habits
CONTENTS 2 – THE TRADE / B2B 11. The Trade • Overview of Trade Structure • Reaching the Trade
12. Business Visits and Events • Statistics and Trends
13. VisitBritain in Greece • • • •
Working in Partnership with VisitBritain Overseas Contacts London Contacts / Further Information Information Sources Used to Compile this Report
• What did overseas visitors actually do during their visit to UK? • Products / Experiences identified as attractive
Language / Information Provision Accommodation Food and Drink Value for Money
1) Market Snapshot Greece s ross this Who visit5-54 (evenly spreealyd aacged 35-44.
lik d2 69% age . Business are 07. ) e g n ne in 20 a r age e UK alo travelling as th to d y velle generall 47% tra itors are ut children. is v y a d Holi witho to visit % couples m e h t spousal s e 2 t tiva r with 5 What mogalleries were popfuthlaese visited s/ %o Museum visitors, and 41 tles). Shopping y as a c d . li e (e.g ies. of Ho t heritag ommon activit il u b e c o som ls a s were and pub
Total Visit s
Total Spe n
Average S p Average L e
end per V
ngth of S
Market P opulation 2008 Outboun d Market Size 2008 UKâ€™s Mark et Share 2 008
own 5% ,
9 nights 10.7 milli
al co Top 5 actu a
p 22%, ra
Purpose of Visit 38% Holiday, 30% VFR, 18% Bu
Length of stay 4-7 nights has traditional ly been the most likely len gth of stay over the last few years, but 1-3 nights just as prevalent in 2008 Quarter of visit 61% of all visits took place in Oct-Dec and Jan-Mar in 2008. April-June is the lea st popular time to visit (18 %) 87% visited the UK only and 13% stayed in anothe r country as well on their trip (2007)
Internet access 4.9 million users in March 2009 46% population penetratio n
2. Turkey 3. Italy ny
s on istic o: t a t ts go t s ates he l the UK .org/ip t r Fo its to tain vis visitbri . w ww
Did you know that in the Greek national anthem the re are 158 verses?
Population / Languages
Interest in UK University Education
The US Census Bureau puts the population of Greece at 10.7 million in 2008, half of whom live in the Greater Athens region.The country’s population is based around two main centres, Athens and Thessaloniki, and then spilt around numerous islands in the Aegean and Ionian Seas.
There were 2,387 Greek UCAS applicants in 2008 to study at a British university. 69% (1,652) of these were accepted.
The population is forecast to be stable by 2018, remaining around the 10.7 million mark, but will decline slightly to 10.1 million by 2048.
Furthermore, they come to the UK for a period of a few years in higher education and tend to integrate themselves within the Greek community already at college or university.
Long-term, the under 60s are forecast to decline, and over 60s grow even more so for the oldest age groups.
Holidays / Annual Leave
2) General Market Conditions
Annual leave entitlement is 21-29 days. Language: Greek.
Economics / Politics Despite being on the periphery of Europe (London is a four-hour flight from Athens) Greece has been a member of the EU for a quarter of a century and plays a full role in the organisation. It was among the first wave of countries to adopt the Euro as its currency in 2001. While 2009 has not brought a repeat of the widespread rioting seen at the end of 2008 there are still sporadic outbreaks of disorder as the economy falters and tensions remain high. Greece is highly dependent on tourism which looks set to have a very tough year in 2009 due to both the global economic downturn and strength of the Euro in relation to competitor destinations such as Turkey. Average per capita income (in purchasing power parity terms) is forecast to be static at around $30,000 for the next couple of years
General Emerging Consumer Trends Ageing Population Britain is currently seen as a destination with strong appeal to young people, particularly young couples travelling without children and groups of adult friends. However, Greece is in a similar situation to the rest of Europe with an ageing population, which means Britain will need to encourage the Greeks currently visiting to return for repeat visits and also to bring their families in the future.
In response to the severe downturn in the global economy, the government has introduced a number of mitigating measures, such as the creation of new jobs through work experience and training programmes. There has also been much attention on measures to stabilise the financial system, infuse liquidity into it and reducing the cost of credit. The rapid fall in inflation will not be matched by declining wage increases, so real wages should rise, but not to an extent that would create significant inflationary pressure. Although not due until 2011 the Economist Intelligence Unit anticipate that an early election will be called during 2010. Unemployment now stands at around 9% and is forecast to increase to 10.5% of the labour force in 2010 according to the International Monetary Fund, with economic stagnation during 2009 and 2010 followed by below trend growth through to 2012 – as recently as May the Greek government was still expecting economic growth in 2009. During 2009 Greece was not one of the UK’s top fifty trading partners in terms of imports, but was the UK’s 28th most valuable export market.
Since 2001, the rate of Sterling against the Euro has fallen. In January 2001, £1 = !1.58, but it has gradually fallen to £1 = !1.16 as of July 2009. The cost of the Sterling has decreased 27% since 2001.
3) Access Overview Political Situation
Main Gateways Servicing Greece
No political issues currently exist to restrict travel to Britain from Greece.
Passport and Visa Issues Greek visitors do NOT require a visa to visit the UK. PIK – Flights from Athens on Mondays and Fridays (additional seasonal flights on Wednesdays). Seasonal flights from Heraklio on Saturdays
STN – Three flights a day from Athens MAN – Two flights per week from Athens
Gateways / Access to Britain In 2008, 98% of visitors from Greece travelled to the UK by air, 1% by sea and 1% by Tunnel. (IPS) Departure gateways - Athens, Thessaloniki Arrival gateways - London Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester and Luton In terms of airline passenger numbers in 2008, London remains the most popular destination for international travel followed by Larnaca and Paris according to the Athens International Airport official data. The passenger numbers towards London show a year on year increase of 9.6% from 2007 to 2008. Many “summer only” flights operate (mostly due to increased demand for inbound travelling) - the following summarises year- round scheduled services: Athens Aegean Airlines fly 3 times per day to Stansted until 24th October 2009. From 25th October 2009, it will fly 2 daily flights to Heathrow British Airways fly 4 times per day to Heathrow easyjet operates 7 times per week to Luton easyjet fly 13 times per week to Gatwick easyjet fly 2 times per week to Manchester Olympic Airlines fly 3 times per day to Heathrow Olympic Airlines fly 2 days per week (1 flight a day) to Manchester
LTN – Daily flights from Athens
LHR – Daily flights from Athens
Thessaloniki British Airways operates once a day to Gatwick easyjet operates 4 times per week to Gatwick
Typical flight times from Greece 3.5 hours. Greece is located GMT +2.
Current Volume and Value Statistics / Trends
Historic Trends (Volume and Value of Travel to the UK)
The best ever-recorded year for visits (224,000) from Greece was 2000. In terms of expenditure, 2005 was the best ever-recorded year with £199m spend. In 2008, the visits were 203,657 and the spend was £153m.
Visits and spend showed growth from 1993-2000, but since then growth has plateaued.
IPS Total Visits Visits Rank (League Table No. Visitors to UK)
Change year on year 22%
up 1 place
down 6 places
down 14 places
Average Length of Stay (ALS) - nights
up 8 places
Total Spend Spend Rank (League Table £ Spend in UK) Average Spend per Visit (AEV) AEV rank
Average Spend per Day (AED)
4) Market Size, Share, and Forecasts for Growth
Travel from Greece to Different World Regions
Forecast Visits to World Regions 2009-2014
Tourism Decision Metrics estimates there were 3.3 million outbound trips from Greece in 2008. There are forecast to be 4.1 million such trips by 2014 (a 25% increase).
The chart below shows forecasts from Tourism Decision Metrics for travel from Greece to each region of the world over the coming years. The number of forecast visits relative to 2008 are shown.
As is the case for the vast majority of countries, outbound travel from Greece is dominated by short-haul destinations, with 59% of outbound travel going to countries in Emerging Europe, with Bulgaria the top destination. Western European destinations currently account for 30% of all outbound trips.
4) Market Size, Share, and Forecasts for Growth (cont.)
Outbound travel from Greece is forecast to fall in 2009, with journeys to other Western European destinations seeing the largest absolute declines in visitor numbers. By 2014, visits to Western Europe are forecast to recover to 2008 levels. Visitor numbers to Emerging European destinations are expected to grow to a much greater extent over the coming years.
Africa is the next most popular region to visit with 4% of trips in 2008.
The UKâ€™s Market Share and Forecasts for Growth Top Ten Destinations Visited in 2008 (key competitors)
Forecast Top Ten Destinations in 2014
Bulgaria is the most frequently visited destination from Greece, accounting for 30% of outbound journeys, followed by Turkey and Italy, which account for 15% and 8.4% respectively. The UK (6.1%) was the 4th most visited destination in 2008.
According to Tourism Decision Metrics, Germany is expected to overake the UK as the 4th most visited destination from Greece by 2014. 1
Visits to the UK are forecast to decline slightly over the coming years, before recovering to 2008 levels by 2014 (representing a decline in market share to 4.9% for the UK).
All data is taken from Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company. The Tourism Decision Metrics (TDM) model forecasts future international tourism flows, based on historic economic/tourism data and future economic forecasts. It assumes that there are no barriers to tourism growth (eg no limit to route/airport capacity, no new visa regulations) and, as a forecast, it is clearly subject to external shocks which may be natural or man-made, so should be taken as a guide only. 6
5) Market Shape / Dynamics Purpose of Visit
In 2008, Holiday visits grew and they now represent the highest single proportion of visits from Greece (38% of all visits), pulling away from VFR (30%) as the key reason to travel. 18% of visitors came for business.
92% of visitors from Greece stayed in England, 62% in London, 6% in Scotland and 3% in Wales in 2008 (IPS). Greek visitors are more likely than the ‘average visitor’ from elsewhere to stay in London, suggesting that there is scope to encourage visitors from Greece to explore more of Britain.
TOTAL ENGLAND *LONDON *REST OF ENGLAND ENGLAND'S NORTH COUNTRY CENTRAL ENGLAND SOUTHERN ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES
Visitors from Greece 92% 62% 31% 9% 10% 13% 6% 3%
Visitors from all countries 91% 49% 47% 13% 16% 22% 8% 4%
Regional Awareness The 2001 UK census finds that there were just over 35,000 UK residents that were born in Greece - an increase of 142% on the 1991 census. These are mostly likely to be found in London and South East England.
In qualitative research carried out in Greece in 2005, when referring to Britain, all respondents irrespective of age or travelling behaviour referred to London. No differentiation was made amongst the different parts of Britain (Wales, Scotland and England).
Length of Stay 4-7 nights has traditionally been the most likely length of stay for a Greek visitor over the last few years, but 1-3 night stays were just as prevalent in 2008. On average, VFR visitors spend more nights in the UK (averaging 13 nights in 2008) than Holiday visitors (6 nights) and Business visitors (3 nights). 16
Online ‘Best Prospects’ research (2005) showed that London is the most popular destination within Britain, although Scotland and other areas in England have significant recognition and appeal amongst several. Best Prospects exhibit least interest in Wales as a tourist destination.
October-December is the peak season for outbound travel from Greece and Christmas is very appealing for a short-break to the UK.
In recent years, the IPS shows that October-December and JanuaryMarch have been the most popular period for Greek residents to visit the UK. 61% of all visits occurred during these periods in 2008, driven by Holiday and VFR visits. April-June was the least popular (only 18% of visitors).
5) Market Shape / Dynamics (continued) Accommodation Just under four in every ten visits (38%) were staying as free guests with family or friends in 2008. This accounted for 52% of all nights spent in UK.
Visiting the UK as part of a multi-country trip In 2007, a question was included on the IPS to understand whether visitors to the UK had stayed a night in another country before or after coming to the UK. The results are shown in the table below, with 87% visiting the UK only on this trip. Greece 77% of the large VFR market from Greece stayed in such accommodation in 2008.
Visited UK only
Visited another country before the UK
Visited another country after the UK
Visited another country before & after the UK
51% of visitors overall stayed in hotels / guesthouses - accounting for a lower proportion of nights (30%) as these are mainly Holiday and Business visitors who have shorter lengths of stay than the VFR market.
% of visitors
Perceptions of Britain Qualitative research carried out in Greece in 2005 showed that, overall, people felt very positive about Britain as a travel destination. When respondents think of Britain they think of the iconic features: the architecture, the monuments, double-decker buses, pubs, theatres - and the weather! Overall, Britain is perceived as traditional and conservative, whilst at the same time being modern and eccentric. Greek respondents generally travel internationally once a year, primarily in winter and especially during Christmas. They are more likely to spend the summer months in Greece. The most popular international destinations visited by respondents were Spain, France, Italy and Britain for their culture.
6) Britain’s Brand Image in Greece Britain as a Destination Brand DEPTH, HEART and VITALITY Online ‘Best Prospects’ research (2005) showed that attitudinally ‘Best Prospects’ place great importance on international travel, and cultural immersion is strongly acknowledged as a key element of visiting abroad (53% agree strongly). This reflects the Greeks’ strong affinity with the DEPTH aspect of the Britain brand; they are keen to explore the history, heritage and culture of the country and also to go beneath the surface and experience the local people and traditions. The HEART aspect of the Britain brand also has strong appeal to the Greeks who rate local people being friendly as a key factor in choosing a destination. They also consider natural scenic beauty an important factor and are extremely interested in exploring Britain’s parks and countryside.
With many young people travelling from Greece to Britain, the VITALITY aspects of the brand in terms of the nightlife and shopping opportunities also have strong appeal.
Products / Experiences identified as attractive Culture / History / Heritage Qualitative research carried out in Greece in 2005 showed that Britain’s USP is the variety and quality of the culture and tradition. Online ‘Best Prospects’ research (2005) showed that 48% of those respondents who had already made plans to come to Britain (or who were very likely to in the near future) said they were extremely interested in visiting castles, churches, monuments and historic houses on a trip to Britain. Britain’s architecture also came up in the qualitative research as a key attraction. 37% would be extremely interested in visiting museums and art galleries. Cultural activities such as going to the theatre, opera, ballet or concerts are also popular with 33% extremely interested in attending one or more of these on a trip to Britain.
Shopping Apart from its cultural elements, Britain offers great shopping opportunities for Greek visitors, whether it is shopping for traditional British products or fashion, home and antiques. Nightlife Britain’s nightlife has strong appeal among the Greek Best Prospects with 36% extremely interested in experiencing it. However qualitative research carried out in Greece in 2005 shows that there is low awareness of what is actually on offer in Britain in terms of nightlife. London London is where most Greeks tend to visit as it is recognised as being a city of fashion, with diverse cultural and historical heritage. Main elements drawing Greek visitors to London are the architecture, the heritage and its multi-ethnic culture.
Landscape / Countryside Britain’s landscape and countryside is also attractive to Greek visitors, with 34% of Best Prospects extremely interested in visiting parks and gardens and 28% extremely interested in visiting the countryside. According to the IPS 2007, 31% of VFR visitors went walking in the countryside when they came to Britain, presumably getting out of the cities more than holiday (13%) and business visitors (15%). In terms of gardens, Greeks will not visit specifically to see a garden, but will enjoy them as part of a stately home experience.
7) Product / Market Fit
7) Product / Market Fit (continued) What did Greek Visitors actually do during their visit to UK? In the IPS 2006, 2007, and 2008, visitors were asked if they had taken part in certain activities during their visit to UK. The chart below shows the percentage of visitors from Greece who said they did each of the listed activities, compared to the average inbound visitor to UK.
Greeksâ€™ most common activity was eating in restaurants (72%), and a significant proportion went to the pub (39%). Shopping was also popular, with 58% shopping for clothes/accessories, and 39% shopping for souvenirs. 24% visited castles, churches, monuments, and historic houses, and 38% went sightseeing famous buildings/monuments. Museums/art galleries were quite popular (27%) too. 18% visited parks/gardens, whilst 17% explored towns, villages, and other locations away from where they were staying. 8% went on a guided tour.
15% went to nightclubs and 17% went to see the performing arts (eg theatre). The following pages show the proportion of Holiday, VFR, and Business visitors undertaking each activity, to give a more complete understanding of what each get up to when they visit the UK.
7) Product / Market Fit (continued) What did Greek Holiday Visitors actually do during their visit to UK? In the IPS 2006, 2007, and 2008, visitors were asked if they had taken part in certain activities during their visit to UK. The chart below shows the percentage of Holiday visitors from Greece who said they did each of the listed activities, compared to the average inbound Holiday visitor to UK.
Holiday visitorsâ€™ most common activity was eating in restaurants (79% did so), and a significant proportion of Greek Holiday visitors went to the pub (43%). Shopping for clothes/accessories was the second most common activity (undertaken by 76%), whilst 51% shopped for souvenirs. Looking at traditional tourism activities, museums/galleries were more often visited (51%) than castles, churches, monuments or historic buildings (41%). 51% went sightseeing famous buildings/monuments.
33% visited parks/gardens but just 13% went walking in the countryside. Only 17% explored towns or villages away from where they were staying, so there is plenty of potential to encourage Greek Holiday visitors to get out of the city more. In the evening 20% ended up in a nightclub and 34% went to the theatre/ballet/opera/concert, further confirmation that city-based activities dominate Greeksâ€™ current repertoire.
7) Product / Market Fit (continued) What did Greece VFR Visitors actually do during their visit to UK? In the IPS 2006, 2007, and 2008, visitors were asked if they had taken part in certain activities during their visit to the UK. The chart below shows the percentage of VFR visitors from Greece who said they did each of the listed activities, compared to the average inbound VFR visitor to the UK.
VFR visitors from Greece can often be found eating in restaurants (78%), in the pub (44%), shopping for clothes/accessories (58%), or souvenirs (41%). Some VFR visitors also undertook traditional tourism activities, with 40% sightseeing famous buildings/monuments, 25% visiting castles, churches, monuments, or historic houses, and 25% went to museums/art galleries. Going to nightclubs (18%) and the performing arts (eg theatre) (19%) were more popular pursuits for VFR visitors from Greece than the average inbound VFR visitor.
16% visited parks/gardens. 27% explored towns, villages, and other locations away from where they were staying.
7) Product / Market Fit (continued) What did Greek Business Visitors actually do during their visit to UK? In the IPS 2006, 2007, and 2008, visitors were asked if they had taken part in certain activities during their visit to UK. The chart below shows the percentage of Business visitors from Greece who said they did each of the listed activities, compared to the average inbound Business visitor to UK.
Almost half of Greek Business visitors enjoyed eating in restaurants (46%) and just over a third went to the pub (34%).
35% went shopping for clothes/accessories and 17% went sightseeing famous monuments/buildings.
8) Who is the Greek Visitor? CAUTION: The results do need to be treated with some caution, as even if a respondent says they are travelling with “Spouse/Partner” and “Child(ren) aged 5-11”, we don’t know from this how many children were in the group, or even that the children were those of the respondent (e.g. they could be grandchildren, nieces / nephews, or even no blood relation at all)...
Key Travelling Group Types To overcome the fact that a mix of different travel companions could be in each group, five mutually exclusive “group types” have been created. In Greece, the proportion of visitors in each type are as follows:
In 2008 69% of visitors from Greece were aged 25-54 with a fairly even distribution of ages within this age range. VFR visitors were slightly older than Holiday visitors. Business visitors are most likely to be aged 35-44. Overall, 57% of visitors are male and 43% female - these have a similar age profile. Business visits are biased towards males (79%), and VFR to female (63%).
Travelling Companions Online ‘Best Prospects’ research (2005) showed that travel to Britain was largely seen as ‘couple’ or adult-centric with the majority of Best Prospects intending to travel with spouse or adult friends. 50% of those with children would not have them accompany them on a trip to Britain a common trend in Greece where children are often left with the grandparents while parents travel. In the IPS 2008, we asked visitors to tell us more about their travelling companions. We asked who accompanied them on their visit, excluding UK residents they may have visited during the trip. The chart below shows the percentage of visits which included each category of travel companion (multiple responses allowed as the categories are NOT mutually exclusive). The profile for Greece is compared to that of the Total World i.e. the average overseas visit to UK.
Traditional Family Of Spouse / Partner & Children
Spouse / Partner But No Children In Travel Group
Children In Group But No Spouse / Partner
Not Alone, But No Children Or Partner In Group
Visitors from Greece are most likely to be found travelling alone - just under half did so in 2008. Holiday visitors are generally travelling as couples with a spouse / partner or other adults - but not with children.
VisitBritain Key Market Segments DINKS / SINKS (25-34 years) This market is interested in city short breaks where London offers special appeal with its attractions, museums, galleries, theatre and shopping. This group are young professionals and have disposable income to spend and lots of time to do it. Virtually all travel to Britain from Greece is undertaken independently. A large proportion of travel to Britain from Greece is undertaken independently most often via a travel agent (as opposed to part of a package tour). Online ‘Best Prospects’ research carried out in 2005, identified Best Prospects from an online panel of Greek respondents as those who had either made plans already to come to Britain, or who were very likely to visit in the near future. When compared to Non-Best Prospects (those who were unlikely to visit Britain in the future), Best Prospects tended to be younger, 63% under the age of 34 and also educated to degree level. They were significantly less likely to have children. Attitudinally, Best Prospects demonstrate interest in immersing themselves in local culture and are willing to dedicate a greater proportion of disposable income to travelling abroad.
Students & VFR As of January 2009, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office estimated that there were 30,000 Greek students in higher education in Britain.
VFR visitors are dependent on Greek students at UK universities. They tend to be young friends and relatives aged 16-34 and parents who are older and are aged 45 years +. As the family unit is extremely important to the Greek way of life and as Greeks are not particularly intrepid travellers, relatives take the opportunity to visit their family at their place of study. They like to visit places of interest, attractions and cultural icons. They also tend to stay with their relatives on their visits to the UK.
Visitors from Greece are more likely than the average to be travelling alone, or with adult family members. 15
In December 2008, VisitBritain conducted research into the youth market (18-30 year olds) in 9 European countries which included Greece. The aim of the research was to gain a greater depth of understanding of the youth market in terms of general travel behaviour habits, attitudes towards Britain and preferred information sources.
General Travel Behaviour habits City breaks (87%) are by far the most popular type of holidays for the Greek youths, while touring and adventure holidays (67%), visiting friends (53%) and the beach (41%) are the next most popular. Although the city break will still be popular in future, Greek youths are expecting to take less of these in favour of the beach holiday. Curiously, there are aspirations to take more cruises. In terms of the holiday party, the partner is the most often they have travelled with followed by friends and parents. It is anticipated that travelling with their partner will increase over time which makes sense as they move onto their next lifestage. Hotels are by far the most popular type of accommodation for the Greek youth, 78% having used them in the last three years. Although it will still be the most popular type, it is anticipated that there will be a notable move away from hotel accommodation in the future towards a mixture of other types of accommodation such as guesthouses / bed and breakfasts and house/chalet/bungalows/cottage/villa. Most Greeks have taken holidays lasting 4-7 nights (85%). However, the Greeks tend to favour shorter holidays more than the other countries that were researched when travelling abroad.
Motivations for travelling
Compared to countries like France, Italy and Spain, Britain is not considered as good value for money, especially on the cost of holidaying here. Just over a quarter of Greek youths felt this discouraged them from visiting Britain. There is also a more negative perception of Britainâ€™s countryside and scenic beauty amongst the Greek youth. Part of this reason is that London tends to feature highly in the Greek youthsâ€™ top of mind of places to visit in Britain. When asked to think of which British destinations they are likely to visit, 46% of youths mentioned London, whereas only a quarter mentioned places such as Devon and Cornwall. Greek youths do not perceive the British to be as welcoming or friendly as other nations. The Italians and Spanish were seen to stand out on these softer aspects. However, previous Greek visitors to Britain do rate the welcoming and friendly aspect a lot higher than non-visitors.
Information Sources Greek youths overwhelmingly considered the internet as the most important source used, particularly at the choosing the country and planning and booking accommodation and transport stages of the holiday planning process. Friends and family are the next most important source and the role of the travel trade is considered relatively important at the booking accommodation and transport stage.
Having fun, doing something different and having an exciting time are the main motivations for holidaying abroad for the Greek youths. This was followed by relaxing with friends and learning about another culture.
In terms of their overall usefulness, National Tourist Boards websites are mid-ranked against other websites, generally below tour operators, transport providers, attractions and search engines, but interestingly ahead of review sites/independent advice.
There were several factors that were considered important that influenced the choice of country; these being the sense of feeling safe, beautiful scenery and value for money. For each of these factors, over a third rated this as essential.
1 in 7 Greek youths have not heard of VisitBritain or visited VisitBritainâ€™s website. Whilst awareness is currently relatively low, 71% claim they would be likely to use the VisitBritain website if considering a trip to Britain in the future.
Important factors for choice of country
Value for Money
Ease of entry
Good quality accommodation
Easy to use transport system
1st Timers and Repeat Visitors In 2004, 86% of visitors from Greece had visited the UK previously within the last ten years (IPS).
Travelling to and Perceptions of Britain Of all the Greek youths, 54% had previously visited Britain, with 75%
of these visiting within the last three years. The main motivations to travel to Britain are for its famous buildings and monuments (67%), shopping opportunities (57%), good value of money (53%), museums and art galleries (51%), easy to use transport (51%) and interesting towns and cities (48%). Indeed for previous visitors to Britain, these were also the main activities undertaken: visiting historic buildings (72%), visiting museums and galleries (70%), using public transport (70%) and shopping (67%). There is a great deal of knowledge of Britain, 37% of Greek youths claimed to know a lot about Britain. However, in terms of considered visitation, Britain is relatively low, ranking fifth out of seven other countries. There appears to be certain barriers to visit and the research highlighted these issues. 16
9) Caring for the Greek Visitor? Language / Information Provision There are no language barriers to visiting Britain as English is spoken by the vast majority of the population in Greece.
Accommodation The Greeks prefer to stay in good quality accommodation but need to feel that they are getting value for money. Three-star hotels and over are popular with Greeks, with cleanliness, location, value for money and quality being the most important decision-making factors in choosing accommodation. Bed and breakfasts are an unknown type of accommodation for Greeks as there is no direct equivalent in Greece. Youth travellers prefer to opt for value accommodation (however their knowledge of youth hostels is limited) again because price is an issue. In a hotel, they expect a clean bedroom with private bathroom and toilet. Their own hotel bedrooms tend to be functional/basic, clean and good value. The Greeks will expect good service. Be patient, smile and offer explanations and a helping hand should a problem arise. As in many Latin countries, many Greek people are smokers.
Food and Drink Food is extremely important to the Greeks. Although they are willing to change their habits during their holidays and the UK is not perceived as a food destination, there are some areas where the Greeks will not make concessions. Provide them with bread during lunch or dinner, and donâ€™t take it away until the end of the meal. If they ask for water, provide a carafe (with glasses) without ice and lemon. Their preferred coffee is cold frappe but they are also partial to espresso (short and strong) or filter coffee.
Value for Money Greeks look for good deals but also originality when they are shopping. Advise them on shops or restaurants where they can find special promotions or discounts but also unique products. They will generally consider this a part of the necessary concierge services offered by any category of hotel.
Qualitative research carried out in Greece in 2005 showed there were negative associations with British food, which is perceived to be lacking in variety and quality, so it is important to show the wide variety of food available in Britain.
The family unit remains the focal point of Greek social life and main holidays tend to revolve around school holidays and family needs. Anecdotal evidence points to a lack of interest in summer holidays in Britain as Greeks tend to prefer to travel within Greece for their main summer holiday.
They like to spend time over their meals and their main meal of the day is usually dinner.
10) Reaching Greek Consumers Deciding, Planning and Booking Patterns Qualitative research carried out in Greece in 2005 shows that when selecting a holiday the primary factors for Greek visitors are cost /value for money and the variety and quality of cultural landmarks. Although the more sophiscated travellers are happy to plan and book their holiday online, the majority prefer to research the holiday online and then to book their holiday offline, either directly with the accommodation suppplier or carrier or via a travel agency who sell local tour operator programs (the well known international tour operators do not exist in Greece, with the notable exception of the local presence of TUI in the market, handling both inbound and outbound travelling). Online ‘Best Prospects’ research (2005) showed that 76% of Britain’s Best Prospects (25-34 years of age) will research their holiday online and 58% will consult friends and relatives. When gathering information about destinations, word-of-mouth advice from family and friends who have already visited is key.
EU 27 Average %
Festivals and other events
Most important information source when making a decision about travel/holiday plans
Recommendations from friends and colleagues
Day of/day before departure
Guidebooks and magazines (commercial)
2 days, less than a week
Media (newspaper, radio, TV)
1 week, less than a month
Catalogues, brochures (non-commercial)
1 month, less than 3 months
3 months, less than 6 months
6 months, less than a year
1 year or more
Best Prospects prefer to travel independently, rather than on a package or an escorted tour.
Information Sources In March 2009, the European Commission’s research on the attitudes of Europeans towards tourism showed that the Greeks considered recommendations from friends and colleagues and the Internet as the most important factors when deciding about travel/holiday plans.
Motivations for travelling The survey also showed that Greeks’ main motivation for their main holiday trip in 2008 was for rest/recreation (55%) followed by visiting friends and relatives (16%) and the sun/beach (14%). The Greeks favour rest/recreation much more than the average EU traveller which can be seen in the table below:
In terms of the attractions that have a major influence on the choice of destination, the location’s overall environment and its cultural heritage are the main factors considered by the Greeks.
EU 27 Average %
Decision to Travel Lead Times Late booking characterises the Greek market and therefore most bookings are made within a month of travel. % of Visits
Online Environment ETC New Media Trend Watch www.newmediatrendwatch.com has a wealth of further facts and figures on the Online Market in Greece. Some highlights from that and other sources are included here: According to the Internet World Stats (March 2009),46% of the population in Greece were online (4.9 million users). This has increased 393% since 2000. 47% of internet users are between the ages of 16-24 and 27% are 25-54. Greece has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in Europe. The wireless mobile penetration level is predicted to increase from the projected 141% in 2007 to 155% in 2010. In 2010, it is forecasted that Greece will have the second highest most penetrated market in the world after Italy (www.reuters.com)
Reaching Greek Visitors in the UK
Online Best Prospects research (2005) found that Greek Best Prospects did the following at some point on a DAILY basis:
In 2008 VisitBritain sponsored a question on the IPS to understand what proportion of visitors from each country engaged with different forms of media when actually in the UK.
National TV channels represent the most frequently used media, with 75% accessing daily, followed by international (64%) and national (60%) websites. All of this indicates a very outward focussed consumption pattern. The Internet provides a major opportunity to reach Best Prospects with three quarters of Best Prospects accessing international websites at least two to three times per week. There is medium consumption of satellite channels and low consumption of cable channels.
Watch national TV channels
Access international websites
Access national websites
Listen to national radio
Listen to local radio
Watch local TV channels
Read national newspaper
Watch cable or satellite TV
Read local paper
Most requent Access
Watch national TV channels
Access international websites
Access national websites
Listen to local radio
Read national newspaper
Watch local TV channels
Watch cable or satellite TV
47% of visitors from Greece watched British TV and 37% read British newspapers. 35% used the internet and 25% listened to the radio. When just looking at Holiday visitors, 44% watched British TV, 37% read British newspapers, 30% used the internet, and 26% listened to the radio. VFR visitors were more likely to engage, with 64% watching British TV, 51% using the internet, 37% reading British newspapers, and 33% listening to the radio. 36% of Business visitors read British newspapers, and 34% watched British TV. 28% used the internet and 11% listened to the radio.
Major National Media Daily newspapers (circulation): Eleutherotypia (240,000), Ethnos (175,000), To Vima (220,000), Express (30,000). Travel magazines: Voyager, Passport, National Geographic, Travellerâ€™s Icons Travel trade publications : Exhibit & Event, Synedrio, Touristiki Agora TV channels (national, some public and some private): ET1, NET, ET3, MEGA, ANT1, STAR, ALPHA, ALTER, MAD TV, MTV Greece, MAKEDONIA Guide Books The most popular guidebooks in Greece are the Lonely Planet Guides, The Rough Guide and the Green Guides often translated into Greek.
Overview of Trade Structure The Greek travel trade is made up of a plethora of large to small size travel agencies. There are no tour operators in Greece adhering to the strict profile of a tour operator. Rather, they are large travel agents/wholesalers, who sell their product throguh their own or independent travel agencies. In addition, associations such as senior citizen groups will also organise holidays for their members. Travel agents and tour operators are used to selling London and less so the rest of Britain due to the higher cost of the airfare. Wholesalers exist in Greece mostly as consolidators of room nights. They do not place product directly to the consumer, however, they are instrumental in placing accommodation product to the travel agencies. They sometimes also consolidate air tickets. Tour operators normally sell their products through their own or independent travel agencies.They still do not sell directly to the consumer through the Internet. Travel agencies usually sell products produced by a larger travel agency/tour operators or specialise in one market and produce their own programme. In the case of London, however, most travel agents produce their own packages. Coach operators are usually owned by a large travel agent and their products (coach tours) are sold at the same time as the rest of their excursion programme through their own or independent travel agencies.
Travel Agents There are about 4,000 travel agents in Greece, out of which 1,500 are members of HATTA (Hellenic Association of Travel Agents). There are 27 PCOs in Greece that belong to HAPCO (Hellenic Association of Professional Congress Organisers). There are three types of Greek travel agents: 1. General - top national travel agents who produce one or more large brochures (e.g. Ginis Vacances). Britain as a destination is included in these. However, they usually feature separate packages for London which are affordable and separate England/Scotland/Pan UK excursions which are quite pricey. Their packages are often sold through some independent and networked travel agencies but not actively advertised. Clientele: mostly individuals although the larger operators will have a groups department. 2. Specialised - smaller travel agents who are very well known to specialise in specific destinations or in specific activities (e.g. Monogram Travel). They will also usually feature London in their brochures but are better known for exotic travel. They sell directly. Clientele: mostly individuals.
3. Agency networks: sell their own products as well as others e.g. Eurostar-Travel Plan, Carlson Wagonlit Travel. Clientele: mostly individuals, leisure and business.
11) The Trade Tour operators prepare their spring/summer brochures before Easter and their autumn/winter brochures in August/September.
Reaching the Trade Sales Calls Timing July and August are quiet months for travel agents. However, the contacts you wish to see may well be on holiday! Tour operators prepare their spring/summer brochures before the Orthodox Easter usually April/May and their autumn/winter brochures in September/October.
Public Holidays New Year’s Day Epiphany Orthodox Shrove Monday Independence Day Orthodox Good Friday Orthodox Easter Monday Labour Day Orthodox Whit Monday Assumption Day Ochi Day Christmas Day Boxing Day
2009 1 Jan 6 Jan 10 Mar 25 Mar 17 Apr 20 Apr 1 May 8 Jun 15 Aug 28 Oct 25 Dec 26 Dec
2010 1 Jan 6 Jan 15 Mar 25 Mar 2 Apr 5 Apr 1 May 24 May 15 Aug 28 Oct 25 Dec 25 Dec
Transport Allow plenty of time between appointments, especially in Athens. Remember to ask for the nearest Metro station - this will help you to locate the address more easily and avoid traffic jams. Transport in Athens: the underground system is very good and easy to use. You can get a daily pass. Taxis are easily found everywhere (average cost for a ride in the centre of Athens is 5 euros, much higher if you go out to the suburbs). From International Airport El. Venizelos airport, you can use the Metro which connects with central locations in Athens town, or the Proastiakos - city rail which will drop you off at Neratziotissa station or continue on towards the city of Corinthe. However, since 14 February 2009, the Metro has not be in operation to and from the airport due to the construction of 3 new stations in between. This is expected to last for a period of 6 months. Etiquette Make an appointment in advance and reconfirm a few days before. Never turn up without an appointment. Be punctual in case your contact has a tight schedule but be prepared to wait at least 15/30 minutes. Personal relationships are very important to the Greeks and take time to build. Be patient. Give your contact the impression he/she is getting special attention. Make sure you follow up on your visits. Your future business depends on that as much as on the visit itself. If you are asked for a quote, send it straight away. Do not be offended by direct talk (e.g. ‘the food is disgusting’, ‘hotels are outrageously expensive’...). Just be prepared for it! Likewise, do not be taken aback if (when!) you are constantly interrupted while talking - it means you generate interest! Language/ currency Key contacts will speak English even if they are not fluent in it and they will be happy to speak English with you. It is highly recommended that you have a fact sheet presenting your product in Greek if possible. Remember to quote your prices either directly in euros or in £ with current euro equivalent.
12) Business Visits & Events Business Visits Statistics
Business Visits Trends
There is very little scope for business meetings from Greece to be held in Britain. However, there is interest in the incentive travel sector. It is impossible to estimate from IPS the proportion of Business visits that are incentive based.
18% of travel from Greece to the UK was for business purposes, and this accounted for 12% of spend in 2008. Greek business visits were made up of 36% Conferences, Large Meetings, Trade Fairs or Exhibitions and 64% individual business travel. *CAUTION - low sample sizes for types of business visitor mean that AEV / AED / ALS figures should be seen as indicative only. Business Visitors Greece
The three sectors in Greece that organise larger business events are pharmaceutical, banking and insurance. While smaller companies tend to organise their incentive travel in Europe, the larger pharmaceutical companies have been organising incentive events in exotic destinations such as China.
Visits 2008 (000)
Business Visits (%)
Spend 2008 (ÂŁm)
Business Spend (%)
Trade Fair / Exhibition*
Conference / Large Meeting*
All Business Visits
Trade Fair / Exhibition*
Conference / Large Meeting*
All Business Visits
Business Visitors Greece
Working in Partnership with VisitBritain
There are many ways of working in partnership with VisitBritain. In agreement with our strategic partners – VisitScotland, Visit Wales, VisitEngland and Visit London, we operate the Overseas Network as a platform for the five brands and will continue to deliver the following activity in all these markets on behalf of these brands and the travel industry: Travel Trade: • Account management of key carriers and major tour operators • Management of a travel trade e-crm programme (quarterly) • Staging of B2B missions and events • Familiarisation visits to major trade shows in Britain Media Relations: • Account management of key contacts in print, broadcast and online media • Database of publications and journalists • Media briefs and press releases • Management of a press e-crm programme (bimonthly) • Assisted press visits programme Provision of Insights and Market Intelligence: • Market profiles • Market insight reports Public Diplomacy Management: • British Council • FCO Britain marketing will be delivered as specified: VisitBritain leads on marketing Britain and signposts strategic partner brands. There is a strong focus on building the long term value of the Britain brand and educating consumers about the constituent brands. For more details on these and other diverse opportunities in markets of interest to you, please visit our UK Industry Website and read our worldwide marketing prospectus, or contact your VisitBritain representative in London or overseas. www.visitbritain.com/ukindustry
Overseas Contacts Sofia Astrid Pennacchi Manager (based in Milan) T: +39 02 88 08 15 38 F: +39 02 72 01 00 86 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
13) VisitBritain in Greece London Contacts / Further Information For any further information relating to the Greek market, please contact: Nikki Buckley International Partnerships Consultant - Europe E: email@example.com T: 020 8563 3048 Alternatively, visit VisitBritain’s dedicated website for the UK tourism industry and a searchable database of all VisitBritain’s Marketing Opportunities: www.visitbritain.com/marketingplanner Why not sign up to our Industry E-Newsletter, or register with VisitBritain to be kept up to date with all that’s new in Greece and other markets worldwide? www.visitbritain.com/ukindustry
Information Sources Used to Compile this Report International Passenger Survey figures (IPS) (Office for National Statistics) NB: Data from International Passenger Survey has been made available by the Office for National Statistics and has been used by permission. The ONS do not bear any responsibility for the analysis or interpretation of the data reported here. • Greek Best Prospects Research 2005 • Greek Online “Best Prospects” Research 2005 • VisitBritain European Youth Research December 2008 • VisitBritain Foresight October 2006 & March 2005 • Foriegn & Commonwealth Office • European Commission - Survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards tourism March 2009 • IMF / Economist / US Census Bureau • CIA World Fact Book https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/theworld-factbook/index.html • BBC websites • Tourism Decision Metrics, Tourism Economics • UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation) • FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) • UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) http://www.ucas.com/ • ETC (European Travel Commission) New Media Trend Watch http://www.newmediatrendwatch.com • Internet World Stats 2008 http://www.internetworldstats.com/ • VisitBritain Greece Business Plans, Insights and Intelligence Reports • 2001 UK Census
Athina Douzi Market Representative Greece 29 Michalakopoulou St 11528 Athens T: +30 210 72 40 349 F: +30 210 72 40 319 E: firstname.lastname@example.org