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Internet can bring 170.000 new jobs in Greek tourism

Grow Greek Tourism Online: A multi-pillar initiative for the dissemination of digital skills in Greece

More than 170,000 new jobs can be created in Greece by enhancing digital skills and implementing best practices in the tourism sector.

This is the result of the new study by Oxford Economics, which examines the impact of online content on Greek tourism and was presented today at a special event of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises and Google.

With the Grow Greek Tourism Online program, Google, in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, the Greek Tourism Organization and SETE, has already supported 70,000 Greek tourism professionals to develop their digital presence.

The study by Oxford Economics examines the value of digital content for the tourist sector of six Southern European countries, including Greece, quantifying the potential for growth and employment growth created by the increased adoption of the Internet by the tourism industry.

According to the study, 12% of the recent rise in employment in the tourist sector is due to the increase in digital content creation, while it is estimated that 170,000 additional new jobs can be created by the development of digital content.

The internet is a driving force for tourism

When someone is planning his holidays, the internet is a critical research tool. The new Oxford Economics study shows how important digital content is for tourist destinations across Southern Europe. Increasingly, consumers are investigating and trusting information they find online, with 60% gathering information from websites and social networks, which characterizes these sources as more reliable than traditional media and personal advice and information. In fact, 56% of tourist revenues in EU countries comes from bookings that have been launched or completed via the internet, a rate that has increased by 13% points compared to 43% in 2012.

Cultural content is a key element in researching potential travelers when they are planning a trip. Searches related to tourism have increased by 45% since 2010. Specifically in Greece, 35% of tourist searches are related to cultural attractions, music, arts, festivals, historical monuments, archaeological sites and museums.

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This search for information does not only help visitors in Greece to find what they are looking for but it is an important opportunity for local tourism businesses and cultural operators to increase their online audience. More and more, clear and easily accessible online information can boost local economies. This translates into jobs and GDP growth.

According to the survey, 12% of the recent rise in employment in the tourism sector is due to the increase in digital content creation. Overall, digital tourism contributes 3.2% of our country’s GDP and 4% of employment. As the Oxford Economics study shows, 170,000 additional jobs can be created by increasing digital content. This opportunity is particularly important for Greece, where tourism is a key part of the economy, contributing 19% of GDP.

The event was channeled by Gregory Zarifopoulos, Google Greece General Manager, Yannis A. Retsos, President of SETE (Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises) and MEP Elizabeth Bozenberg. The presentation for the study and the results for Greece was made by David Goodger, Director of Oxford Economics, while central speakers were Constantine Tsegas, Secretary General of the Greek Tourism Organization and Diego Ciulli, Public Policy Manager of Italy and Greece. The panel was followed by: Ioanna Dreta, Marketing Director of Greece, Maria Founta, Google Greece Marketing Director, Alexis Galinos, Managing Director of the Athens Development and Tourism Promotion Company and Leta Menti, Contact Manager of the Museum Benaki. Coordinator of the discussion was journalist Haris Nigritaktakis.

As Google Marketing Director Maria Founta said, Google’s “Grow Greek Tourism Online” program has helped thousands of tourist destinations in the country to find online and improve their digital presence. We trained special consultants who provide free personal meetings with tourism professionals in more than 80 cities across the country. We have also trained thousands of students and graduates in the basic skills of digital marketing. According to our survey, 67% of trained small and medium-sized enterprises confirmed that they saw specific commercial results, while 81% of all trainees reported that they changed the way the internet is used after our training. In addition, we plan to further expand our efforts in the coming months. ”

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As stated by Ioanna Dreta, Managing Director of Marketing Greece: “The internet has now become a basic channel for information and planning of travel experiences. The room for improvement in our country in this field is still very large and we must take advantage of it in order to be able to stay firm on our goals for the further development of Greek tourism. SETE, through Marketing Greece, aims, on the one hand, to take advantage of all the opportunities offered by the internet to promote Greek tourism and, on the other hand, to support tourism businesses in this direction.”

What is “Grow Greek Tourism Online”?

Grow Greek Tourism Online is a multi-pillar initiative for the dissemination of digital skills in Greece.

During the three years of the Grow Greek Tourism Online program, a Google initiative in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, SETE and the Greek Tourism Organization, more than 70,000 professionals and future tourism executives were trained in digital skills and tools across the country through the national actions of the program.

Google, with the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and the General Secretariat for Lifelong Learning and Youth of the Ministry of Education, Research & Religious Affairs and in collaboration with the Hellenic Tourism Organization (EOT) and the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE), through the initiative Grow Greek Tourism Online, continues the effort of enhancing the digital skills of tourism professionals to exploit the internet and attract even more customers.