Open Tourism, in cooperation with the University of Piraeus, has carried out the first research regarding the impact of COVID-19 on Tourism in Greece. The research, led by Open Tourism co-founder Dr. Georgia Zouni, engaged both tourists and companies, as well as professionals of the field from 7 to 12 April with a sample of 1059 participants.
In all, 725 participants were tourists, while companies accounted for 334 of all questionnaires gathered. The aim is to repeat this research in a consistent time period in order to find out any differentiation in the perceptions based on time (longitudinal study).
From the results of the current research, it’s clear that the opinions of the companies and of the travelers converge to a great extent. Both groups believe that this year for Greece as a tourism destination will be worse because of COVID-19, while for the next year they expect a better outcome for Greece. This viewpoint is congruent with the response of the vast majority of companies.
It is expected that accommodation companies and travel agencies will face the biggest damage, accompanied by catering and transportation.
Furthermore, regarding the consequences to the companies from the impact of COVID-19, economic uncertainty, the decrease of revenue and the sustainability of companies both in the short-term and in the long-term are found in the first three places.
Based on our research, among the actions that need to be taken by the companies as regards the outbreak of COVID-19, as it was found by the participants’ responses, are the encouragement to take measures in order to safeguard the health of customers, flexible cancellation policies and then for the travelers the decrease of prices follows, while for the companies the research for changes in travelers’ behavior.
Greek travelers seem to have a low perception of risk (risk takers), by being positive on going to events with a lot of people and on traveling with means of transport in which many people can be found. This fact possibly is due to the large percentage of younger ages in the sample. Based on previous studies that have been carried out for equal, although smaller epidemics, like SARS, younger people are to a greater extent willing to take more risks when traveling.
However, it is common knowledge the fact that the security, the health system of the destination and the compliance to the hygiene rules in the accommodation services will be to a great extent important criteria to choose the destination, from the side of the travelers.
Another positive element constitutes the important percentage of travelers who search for information and pictures from destinations that they want to visit, of which companies can take advantage of following the appropriate actions. The right use of social media and the assurance to the customers that all the necessary actions are taken to make the company or the destination safe are remarkable elements.
Finally, the optimistic message of gaining a stronger brand for Greece is expressed by both of the two groups of participants, who believe that the brand of Greece will get stronger both in the short-term and in the long-term. This thought is probably associated with the quick and strict implementation of the measures for COVID-19, which has, as a result, the decrease of the spread of the disease and the good course of Greece contrary to other competitor countries, such as Italy and Spain.
It should also be noted, that in order to capitalize on this positive attitude, research and strategic redefinition are needed more than ever today both at the level of each destination and of every tourism company.
You can see here the results (Greek) in detail and here the summary of the research. Please use Google translate.