After a disastrous year for tourism where losses exceeded 77 percent compared to 2019, due to the pandemic, now the need for a new tourism model seems more urgent than ever.
Trends that until recently were adopted by a few, are now being chosen by more involving alternative destinations, travel experiences through culture and locals, road trips, well-being services, searches for "hidden" destinations and independent private homes that are among the top picks for tourists visiting Greece.
"The model of tourism is changing and is changing not only in our country, but in almost all southern European countries. It is changing and creating new opportunities in each country that will realize the new model in time, will move quickly and will respond immediately to the new challenges, "notes the president of the E-Real Estates network, Themistoklis Bakas.
Spain, which has a tourism market representing 12 percent of its GDP and accounting for 13 percent of employment with 83.7 million tourists per year and revenue of 72 billion euros in the pre-covid-19 era, is now aiming to shift its focus from mass tourism, to a new model delivering higher revenues per tourist.
Italy, which has 4.2 million tourism workers, 65 million tourists and revenues of 44.3 billion euros (before 2020), is now turning to a different, "intelligent" tourism according to local media, and this was the direction. given by Prime Minister Mario Draghi on the day he took office.
Eight trends shaping tourism
New profile of tourists
According to Erik Cohen (George S. Wise Emeritus Professor of Sociology, winner of the UNWTO Ulysses Prize) there is an "existential tourist" category, whose main concern is in-depth knowledge and absorption of culture and the habits and the way of locals live.
New generation of tourists
In the coming years there will be a new generation that will place more emphasis on health and safety. Since last summer, domestic and foreign tourists choose mainly independent apartments / houses registered on short-term rental platforms and / or villas, bungalows in hotels with the aim of protecting their health.
Activities around nature
The lockdown restored and created new habits around nature. Many Europeans and Americans went through a personal assessment, looking for the best ways to secure mental and physical health.
Teleworking and digital nomads
Teleworking for many professionals and private employees, as well as digital nomads, are creating new conditions that should be taken into account when designing the new tourism model.
"Sun and Sea", but also infrastructure
Expensive tourism and luxury accommodation are recovering much faster than mass tourism after the crisis. "The brand" Sun and Sea " is not enough when you target quality tourism, those tourists who are interested in higher value products.
Promotion of thematic tourism
Thematic tourism should be an immediate goal for the country's tourism industry. There are special forms of tourism that approach visitors with high budgets. Rural tourism (agritourism, wine tourism, etc.), sports tourism, maritime tourism (yachting and diving), cultural tourism, gastronomic tourism, among others.
Emergence of new destinations
"Let us not forget that 85 percent of Greek territory is a tourist destination. With more than 16,000 kilometers of coastline, with around 6,000 larger and smaller islands and islets, and with a well-established position in the global tourism market, many destinations can be sought after as an independent brand," notes Bakas.
Increase in demand for short-term rentals
“The short-term rental industry proved to be more resilient than we expected because it was essentially the "solution" for both domestic and foreign tourists. Both last year and the summer of 2021, there is a lot of mobility and pre-bookings through the flexible cancellation policy in independent villas with a private pool at popular spots,” adds Bakas.