UNWTO & EBRD collaborate to help recovery of tourism in Greece post pandemic

 Friday, April 7, 2023 


In order to assist the country’s tourism sector in recovering from the effects of the Covid pandemic, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have effectively collaborated with the Greek government.

The Bank chose various areas of UNWTO’s “COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Package” to execute in Greece as part of a larger effort to increase resilience and speed recovery in the aftermath of the biggest tourism crisis in history. This package was built with three key intervention pillars in mind: economic recovery, marketing and promotion, and institutional strengthening and building resilience.

Four initiatives of crucial importance to the tourism sector at the time were chosen and implemented in collaboration with the Greek Ministry of Tourism, namely:

1) Evaluation of the impact of COVID-19 and establishment of monitoring guidelines: Tourism data requirements were aligned between the Bank of Greece, the Hellenic Statistical Authority, and the Ministry of Tourism as part of this initiative. Ten intervention areas were identified, as well as 25 activities to improve monitoring, and seven officials from the Ministry of Tourism, the Bank of Greece, and the Hellenic Statistical Authority were trained.

2)Development of a plan to support tourism MSMEs and job retention: The project involved an assessment of existing MSMEs support measures, interviews with tourism national associations, MSMEs, and experts, and the creation of a seven-action roadmap. Furthermore, 41 tourism professionals, travel agencies, hotels, and secondary accommodation establishments were trained on a variety of topics, including digital marketing tools, human resource management, analysing tourism data to identify opportunities, and improving service quality and overall tourist experience.

3) Updating Tourism Marketing Strategy: Both during and after the epidemic, key global and domestic market trends were examined. Six intervention areas were identified, and passenger survey questionnaires at Athens International Airport and Fraport’s 14 regional airports have been revised to monitor newly selected variables. The approach was also presented in a conference with the Greek National Tourism Organization’s abroad offices, in partnership with its headquarters.

4) Development of a Tourism Crisis Management Plan: The Ministry of Tourism’s first such plan, defining different types of crises, establishing concrete response methods, roles, and procedures, and offering a case study simulation.

Together with the UNWTO and EBRD project staff, a team of professionals in crisis management, statistics, marketing, and MSMEs was brought in to drive the implementation, transfer expertise, and work closely with the Ministry of Tourism and stakeholders to deliver the project activities anticipated.

Greece, as a key destination both inside Europe and globally, has continually maintained its importance in the global tourism industry and emerged robust despite the decade-long financial and economic crisis. In the aftermath of the epidemic, Greece was one of the first European nations to reopen to international tourists, sustaining and increasing its tourism sector’s contribution to the national economy.

Going ahead, the work done under the Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Package will allow the Ministry of Tourism to closely monitor the industry’s performance and methodically respond to and handle any crises that may threaten Greece’s tourism sector. The EBRD continues to assist the Greek tourism sector through targeted investments or funding that promote sustainable and inclusive tourism, increase young employment, and strengthen backward links with local economies. UNWTO continues engaged in Greece to assist the development of local tourism destinations through on-the-ground programmes, while also enhancing its strong and ongoing partnership with the country.

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