Tourism in Greece, Italy, and Turkey
The fall in the costs of traveling over the past few decades has taken tourism out of the sole domain of the rich and extended it to the middle class. Consequently, the world tourism market has exploded, providing countries with a new source of jobs and income. In this paper I will examine the tourism industries in Greece, Italy, and Turkey in the context of both the European and worldwide tourism markets. Several questions will be addressed. How many tourists come to these countries annually? Where do these countries rank among the world's top tourist destinations? How much do tourists contribute to the local economy? From where do these countries draw most of their tourists?? What are the most popular cities to visit within these countries?? What are these countries doing to counter the effects of 11 September?
In 2001, Europe attracted 58 percent of worldwide tourists, continuing its trend of being the world's most popular tourist destination (WTO 13). Since so many people visit Europe, the tourist sector plays a vital role in the economies of the respective countries. The tourism industry as a whole has struggled since the 11 September terrorist attacks, falling 0.6 percent worldwide and 0.7 percent in Europe in 2001 (WTO 11). However, the regions in which Greece, Italy, and Turkey lie (southern Europe and eastern Mediterranean Europe) have proved to be more resilient than other areas.
Southern Europe actually experienced a modest 1.2 percent growth for the year (WTO 55). In the final four months of 2001, tourism in Europe dropped 6.6 percent, while the decline in southern Europe over this period was only 1.8 percent (WTO 11-12).? Moreover, due to strong growth in Turkey, tourism in the Eastern Mediterranean region has remained strong, even after 11 September.? From 1995-2000, this region had an annual growth rate of 4.4 percent, and no drop was experienced in 2001.? In addition, this region also attracts more money per tourist than the European continent or the world (WTO 61).
?In 2001, 14.7 million tourists came to Greece, the fifth consecutive annual increase.? Overall, Greece ranked fifteenth in the list of the world?s most popular tourist destinations.? About 95 percent of these tourists came from other parts of Europe.? Tourists spent approximately 10 billion euros, comprising about 8 percent of GDP and making up Greece?s largest source of foreign exchange earnings.? The Greek Tourist Office estimates that tourism-related employment makes up around 10 percent of total employment in the country (www.gnto.gr/2/01/eb10000.html).
?Many factors have contributed to Greece?s strong tourist growth in recent years.? Using structural adjustment funds from the European Union, Greece has significantly improved and modernized its infrastructure, including opening a new Athens airport in April 2001.? It has also benefited from political stability, strong economic growth, and...