The Greek government’s tourism ministry has media pimping the country’s tourism reboot like nobody’s business. Turn on the TV, open a newspaper, Google the term “travel” or “vacation,” and there she is, “All You Need Is Greece!” Greece, Greece vacation, Greece safety, Greek hotels and resorts, airlines headed to Greece. But wait! Something just stinks about so many parrots parroting.
The National Herald has it “Greece Sees Surprise Summer Bump in Tourism During COVID-19,” and, and, and. ANA tells us Transavia airlines believe Greece is a top destination for French tourists. Euronews pitches in to help Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis sell those vaccinated islands his boss prioritized above older people here on Crete. Here, readers go, so the hundreds who died from not being vaccinated will not have perished in vain.
Greek City Times is cheerleading Theoharis’ bid to drive budget travelers from France. Even Greek Reporter is adding to the streetcorner salesmanship going on, chanting Theorharis, Theoharis, Theoharis cruises, come and get them. You can even sail in and out of Chania now. My friends at Travel Daily News are not immune either. The wholly sustainable, green Earthexcellentl cruise ships to Santorini and elsewhere, they’re all in the new at this venerable media outlet too. Press releases, ah! It’s all anybody has time for these days.
Neoscosmos to the New York Times, it’s inevitable that everybody in the world knows what Greece’s minister of blockbuster tourism looks like. Hell, unless the fourth wave of COVID or a thousand hotels go bust over lack of capital to operate, Theoharis will be able to run for EU chief next. And Greek Travel Pages (GTP) might as well be the propaganda ministry of Greece. I have to give Theoharis credit where credit is due; his media relations skills are world-class based on the hundreds and hundreds of mentions of Greece’s outstanding, monumental, otherworldly successes!
Wait! A window just opened for me with the propaganda ministry looping in Google General Manager Southeast Europe, Peggy Antonakou, to boost Theoharis’ and New Democracy’s brainwashing game. Citing Google data, Antonakou said interest in Greece for April increased by 50 percent and invited tourism professionals to tap into Google’s new tourism support tools. Unfortunately for the average traveler, such metrics can be not only confusing but misleading as well. It all depends on how one looks at the numbers. I should know.
For instance, 2021 travel demand for air and accommodations for Greece is up over 300% this month compared to the same timeframe in 2020. What the GTP report does not tell readers is that demand for travel to Bermuda is up 1,300%, Malta is up 600%, Russia is up 200%, and Saint Martin is up over 700% over 2020 demand.
Another point here is the fact that Greece’s tourism ministry is running the most intensive outreach and advertising campaign in the country’s history to attract visitors from everywhere. The reports also show that Greece, Croatia, Spain, the UK, Israel, Portugal, Netherlands, the US, Italy, and France are all top growth destinations this year at about 75% greater than the previous year.
A funny thing I also noticed in my twenty-minute research on tourism media, Croatia’s Tourism Miniter Nikolina Brnjac is not in the news like Theoharis is, and Google trends show this country in the same growth range as that of Greece? Total Croatia News, Travel Pulse, and a couple of other mentions tell me that Croatia is carrying more weight than Greece. Say what? Wait a minute, what about Malta’s tourism ministry boss Clayton Bartolo? Sure enough, Times of Malta, The Malta Independent, and one Reuters mention tell me Greece is wasting a lot of air and hotel budget sending Theoharis abroad. I think people would be searching “Greece” no matter what. And this means the Theoharis roadshow is more like a New Democracy fam trip to pretending the politicians are hard at work. Sorry Harry, but you guys dredged up trends, media, and metrics.
I never really considered that all these public relations, marketing, and advertising extravaganza by the Greek leadership could be about tweaking job performance. Somehow it never occurred to me Theoharis and Mitsotakis are chest-thumping every hour of every day just to show Greeks how brilliant their choice was! But, there it is. How could I be so dumb? The world would come to Greece if none of these politicians lifted a finger. As a kid, I remember my parents, aunts, uncles, and their friends talking about the dream of vacationing in the Aegean. And I thought the tourism minister’s job was hard. A surfer dude could do it.