ESEE Research: Commerce & Tourism

The strategic connection of the local store with tourism and the significant scope for its expansion

B. Kikilias: Let’s proceed with a Memorandum of Cooperation Min. of Tourism – ESEE to promote “Shopping in Greece.”

G. Karanikas: A better connection between tourism and commerce is crucial for both sectors.

Today, Wednesday, March 22, 2023, ESEE, in the presence of the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Vassilis Kikilias, presented the primary Research in the context of the Project “Multiplicative effects of tourism activity on commerce,” which is included in the OP “Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship & Innovation 2014 – 2020” and is co-financed by the European Union (European Social Fund) and by national resources.

The ESEE Research confirms the critical position of commerce in the tourism ecosystem and highlights the significant scope for further activation of the multiplier effects of tourism on commercial enterprises.

According to the results of the Survey, the most critical nationalities of tourists visiting the country are the English, Germans, French, Italians, and Americans who choose for their stay mainly an all-inclusive or non-inclusive hotel (62.5%) and short-term rental accommodation (Airbnb type) (19.9%). Most (52.8%) have an income between 15,000 – 50,000 euros and spend more than 200 euros per day/person. Of these amounts, 9% goes to purchasing products from commercial enterprises and 6% to buying food. The highest spending on shopping is recorded in Crete (26 euros), with the Americans noting the most vital impulse of consumption from commercial enterprises (21 euros).

The qualitative research findings are exciting. The most dynamic tourist commercial products are souvenirs (24.3%) and local traditional products (19.2%), with the main reason for the purchases being the tendency of foreign visitors to purchase souvenirs from the place they are visiting (29, 6%). Most foreign tourists choose for their purchases mainly local shops/local markets (62%), while most (47.6%) state that they are very/very likely to buy a Greek product remotely when they return to the country.

The above data show the importance of attracting visitors with a higher income and the criticality of upgrading both the digitalization of tourist commercial enterprises and the distribution channels of Greek products to serve external demand at competitive prices consistently. In addition, mapping the most dynamic tourism products highlights how vital a new sectoral specialization is that will accelerate the interconnection of tourism with commerce, the creative economy (creative economy), and agro-food.

In the context of the Research, the significant effects of tourism on the Greek economy were presented, as Greece records the fourth highest percentage of travel receipts as a percentage of GDP among the member countries of the European Union. It was pointed out that tourism improved its performance within 2022, approaching the results 2019. According to the data presented, the indirect effects of tourism are more potent in activities such as commerce, agriculture, and food and beverages, with 22% of the total indirect effect (in terms of Gross Added Value) to commerce. Also, as emerged from the multipliers data presented, tourism significantly boosts employment in other industries, with retail commerce being second in rank among them.

The possibilities and conditions for strengthening and expanding the synergies of Tourism and commerce were commented on on the occasion of the Research in a fascinating discussion by the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Vassilis Kikilias, and the President of ESEE, Mr. Giorgos Karanikas.

Mr. Kikilias said: “ESEE represents the backbone of the Greek economy, small and medium entrepreneurship. The one that supports the Greek tourist product. The one that the tourist product needs to continue to have its unique identity and to offer its unique experience. Tourism and Commerce are two interrelated concepts. Since ancient times, the Greeks have traded in their DNA as a people of the Sea. Greeks also have hospitality in their blood, so visitors repeatedly visit our country. As Minister of Tourism, I propose a greater connection with ESEE in 2 ways. First, let’s proceed with a Memorandum of Cooperation to promote Shopping in Greece in a targeted manner. And secondly, in the logic of our Greekend campaign, which had gone viral – three-day visitors to our cities, having fun, shopping, visiting our museums – to see EOT how a campaign could be targeted towards this direction”.

Mr. Karanikas emphasized that Tourism without cross-industry connections does not exist. The announcement of the Minister of Tourism for a joint campaign of the EOT with the ESEE to strengthen the promotion of Greek commerce through tourism satisfies a long-standing request of the country’s commercial world. He noted that the goal is to successfully transition to a sustainable model throughout the tourism “ecosystem,” including all the other sectors, such as commerce, agri-food, the creative economy, etc. Especially for work, he emphasized that the bet is to give “tools” to tiny commercial enterprises to sell their products remotely to foreign tourists after they depart from our country. ¨He raised the central issue of financing small and medium entrepreneurship and the issue of the institutionalization of the tourist commercial business so that it is entitled to participate in the financing programs related to tourism.

The scientific panel of the event focused on the multiplying benefits created by the joint actions of the two branches, which was attended by Mr. Nikos Vettas, General Director of IOBE and Professor of OPA, Ms. Valia Aranitou, Scientific Director of INEMY-ESEE, Associate Professor of National and Kapodistrian of the University of Athens and Mr. Ilias Kikilias, Director of INSET.

Mr. Nikos Vettas underlined that our country is a global tourist destination. In this light, the commerce and tourism relationship, which has not been established satisfactorily, should be strengthened. He also pointed out the sharp increase in consumption due to the prolonged confinement of the pandemic, but also the fact that there is a widened scope for strengthening the relations between the 2nd and 3rd generation Greeks with Greece. In addition, he noted that it is essential to carry out relevant measurements more often and with periodicity to map the actual dimensions of tourist expenditure. Finally, he pointed out that culture is a vital resource that can be turned into a strong link between tourism and commerce.

Ms. Valia Aranitou pointed out that the main contribution of the Research is the mapping of tourist expenditure, which shows relatively low percentage participation of spending in shops. For Ms. Aranitou, the connection between tourism and commerce goes through agro-food and the creative economy. According to Ms. Aranitou, the repeatability of these investigations is critical to identifying intervention points and formulating public policies. For this reason, he noted that it is necessary to expand the collaborations of scientific bodies in this direction, proposing this between INEMY-ESEE, INSETE, IOBE, and the Bank of Greece.

Mr. Ilias Kikilias said there are myths and truths about Greek tourism that the ESEE INEMY research tries to clarify. He noted that commerce benefits from tourism in all its dimensions (retail and wholesale). He pointed out that Greece is not competing with Turkey and Egypt but with countries like Croatia, Italy, Spain, and Cyprus. According to Mr. Kikilia, the strong points of the Greek tourist product are friendliness and service, while he highlighted the weaknesses in infrastructure. In this context, tourism resources should become a competitive and sustainable product to increase domestic added value. For Mr. Kikilia, there is significant scope for INSETE and INEMY-ESEE collaborations.

Mr. made the presentation of the Research:

Dr. Charalambos Arachovas, Economist – Coordinator of the Economic Analysis Department INEMY-ESEE, Dr. Manolis Manioudis, INEMY-ESEE financial analyst, and Angelos Tsakanikas, Associate Professor at the National Technical University of Athens, specialist partner of IOBE and member of the Project team.