The economy of Greece has a GDP breakdown of about 80 percent from the services or tertiary sector, 16 percent is derived from the industrial sector, and about 4 percent from the agricultural sector (World Fact Book: Greece, 2018). Greece’s GDP measured at just over $200 billion in 2017 (U.S. Dollars), an estimated PPP of $299 billion, and an estimated GDP per capita (PPP) of $27,800 (World Fact Book: Greece, 2018). One of the main drivers of national income for Greece is the tourism industry and is currently presenting handsome opportunities for market entrants who know their stuff in the areas of anthropology, archaeology, geography, and the marvelous history of Greek civilization (How to do Business in Greece, 2019).
The past eight or nine years have been very difficult for Greece and their economy. They faced large deficits, government overspending, ongoing unchecked tax evasion by its citizens resulting in billions in taxes not being paid, and an overly bloated public sector (PBS Newshour, 2018). It was also discovered that Greece had been contributing to illicit financial flows, fudging their accounting books, and underreporting its debt for years (PBS Newshour, 2018). By May of 2010, Greece’s government debt to GDP ratio reached over 13 percent. The European Union and the International Monetary Fund issued rescue bailouts over the next eight years to Greece that would prove to be the largest government bailout in world history, exceeding 260 billion in euros (PBS Newshour, 2018). Greece was able to survive with these bailouts, which came to an end last year, but the world is anxiously waiting to see if Greece will be able get by on its own two feet now. For these reasons, foreign entry in the business market in Greece over the last decade has been few and far between. But Greece has been and will always be one of the most historically fascinating countries in the world, which is why the tourism industry can be a rewarding business venture.
Tourism in Greece has been viewed as an income lifejacket for the struggling country because as bad as things became, foreigners still flooded the country to take tours, enjoy cruises, fill hotels, and experience Greek eateries. In 2017, Tourism made as much as a quarter of the country’s total GDP (Surge in Visitors, 2018). This says to potential investors that this would be worth the risk, especially since Greece is now offering “Golden Visa’s” to qualified investors into the Greek economy (Alderman, 2019).
The advantages of tourism in Greece are that it is at the very heart of Hellenistic civilization which produced great philosophers, great military leaders, and contains many ancient ruins that are considered wonders of the world. Athens is a great city with a rich history. It is home to the great Acropolis and famous temples, such as the Parthenon. Fascinating church history can be found in Corinth and Thessaloniki (12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Greece, n.d.). Greece has about 6,000 islands scattered of its coastline, many of which can be reached by ferry boats. Rhodes, Santorini, Corfu, and Crete are among these amazing Islands (12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Greece, n.d.). Greece is also home to a coastline that measures around 16,000 km (almost 10,000 miles) and features beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, and pebbly shores (GREEK COASTLINE, n.d.). Tourism will no doubt remain the most lucrative industry in Greece for many decades to come, and working against the competition will only help to bring an increase to the flows of money into their recovering economy (Lane, 2017). The Greek National Tourism Organization has worked to implement various strategies which are expected to increase tourist access to “air, land and sea… with increased focus on audience segmentation including: luxury, religious, cruises, yachting, diving, cultural tourism, adventure, LGBT and new international markets such as China; and the use of new technology platforms and social media” (Lane, 2017). Even an article in Forbes stakes its claim that even though Greece suffered at the hands of this financial crisis, its tourism industry is still looking strong (Lane, 2017).
Competitively speaking, according to the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Ranking, when compared with some of the other primary Mediterranean tourist markets such as Egypt, Croatia, Turkey, Italy, and Spain, of all of these, Greece is second only to Spain (Sotiriadis, M. D., & Varvaressos, S., 2015). However, As Greece is awakening out of this recent debt crisis, and also happens to be the most historically significant country with its spawning of Western Civilization, the tourist industry will always be a market of opportunity, whether it is through FDI, or joint ventures (How to do Business in Greece, 2019).
- 12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Greece | PlanetWare. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/greece-gr.htm
- Alderman, L. (2019, March 20). In Greece, an Economic Revival Fueled by ‘Golden Visas’ and Tourism. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/20/business/greece-economy-golden-visas-tourism.html
- Bryant, S. (2019, March 12). Investing in Greece: A High Risk, High Reward Strategy. Retrieved from https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/070715/investing-greece-high-risk-high-reward-strategy.asp
- GREEK COASTLINE. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.greece-yachtcharter.com/greek-coastline.asp
- How to Do Business in Greece. (2019, February 26). Retrieved from https://www.veem.com/library/how-to-do-business-in-greece/
- Lane, L. (2017, June 06). Despite Economic Problems, Greece’s Tourism Looking Good In 2017. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/lealane/2017/06/05/despite-economic-problems-greece-tourism-looking-good-in-2017-using-new-strategies/#8876319541f3
- Smith, H. (2017, July 01). ‘Tourism is our lifejacket’: Debt-stricken Greece gets record number of visitors. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/01/tourism-is-our-lifejacket-debt-stricken-greece-gets-record-number-of-visitors
- Sotiriadis, M. D., & Varvaressos, S. (2015). A Strategic Analysis of the Greek Leisure Tourism: Competitive Position, Issues and Challenges. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences. doi:10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n1s1p319
- Surge in visitors to boost Greece’s 2018 tourism revenues – minister. (2018, November 07). Retrieved from https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-greece-tourism-idUKKCN1NC2C3
- The World Factbook: Greece. (2018, February 01). Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/gr.html
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