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‘Sea and sun’ is not enough

By Ilias Bellos

The most popular tourism product by far in the world is “sea and sun,” one that Greece particularly specializes in and is the third most popular country for, according to a study commissioned by the Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation (INSETE).

Titled “Hellenic Tourism 2030: Action Plans,” the study showed that 22% of trips, including overnight stays, in 2019 were for sea and sun, followed by city breaks (16%) and cultural tourism (10%).

The study, conducted by the Deloitte-Remaco consortium, found that Greece accounted for a 7.4% share of the sea and sun category, while Greece had a very low share in other categories, such as conferences and yachting.

In terms of the main tourism products, Greece enjoys great popularity among the world’s major tourism markets – Germany, Britain, France, Italy, the US, the Netherlands and Russia.

On the other hand, there is significant scope for growth in the markets of China, Canada and South Korea. Therefore the study argues that, “for the post-Covid era, the proposed targeting includes further growth in consolidated and mature markets (e.g. sea and sun for the Russian market, cultural tourism for the German one, and conference tourism for France) as well as in significant emerging markets for global tourism.”

Sea and sun accounted for 226 million trips globally in 2019, rising at an annual average rate of 9.4% in 2015-19, while travelers are constantly seeking more unique experiences combining various tourism products with an emphasis on sustainability.

Maritime tourism appeared to show the lowest annual growth rate (6.2%) with 34 million trips in 2019, with rival destinations (Spain, Turkey, Croatia, France and Portugal) focusing on the development and upgrading of their infrastructure.

City breaks showed the fastest yearly growth rate (11.6%) in 2015-19, reaching 165 million trips in 2019, but Greece has great scope for improving its share in conference tourism and cultural tourism, the study argued.

There are more specialized forms Greece should target, according to the study. These are gastronomy, sports, agritourism, wellness and spa holidays, among others.


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