March 14, 2013
Dr Heather Skinner, Reader in Marketing at Glamorgan Business School delivered the keynote speech “What is the future for tourism in Corfu?” at a high profile event on the island this week (13th March).
An expert in the branding and marketing of places, Dr Skinner has been undertaking research into the decline in tourism in Corfu, and strategies to overcome this decline. At the event, Dr Skinner was joined by a panel that includes representatives of the Corfu Chamber of Commerce, the President of the Ionian University, and the President of the Union of Hotel Managers.
Dr Skinner explained, “Greece is still a popular destination for UK tourists, and the country as a whole rose from 6th place in 2010 to 2nd place (after Spain) in 2011 as UK touristsʼ most-preferred destination.
“The British remain Corfiotsʼ 3rd most preferred foreign tourists, and comprise between 50-70% of the islandʼs tourists. However, Corfu is experiencing changes in its tourism economy: while tourists from key source markets such as the UK and Germany are still visiting the island, these tourists are also recognised as providing the leading markets for all-inclusive tourism.
“In Greece and its islands, the mass tourism model upon which it has relied for many years has also facilitated the growth of all-inclusive packages, where hotels that once served guests who would spend time and money outside of the hotel on, for example, tavernas, restaurants, bars and shops, are now offering all-inclusive packages that are turning these hotels into enclaves where tourists are not encouraged to spend time and money outside. Corfu now has many resorts where a wide range of tourist related businesses have closed down, and where streets that once would have been full of tourists are now empty, or the tourists who do wander around the resort do not feel the need to spend money on local businesses when they have already paid in advance to a tour operator in their home country their holiday budget for food, drink, entertainment, and excursions etc. As budget airlines offer relatively cheap breaks of flexible durations, there is the ability for the island to attract more independent travellers, who do not wish to take all-inclusive packages, and who prefer to book direct with local hosts.”
The outcome of Dr Skinnerʼs research will be to help inform a strategy for re-branding Corfu, and re-positioning the island as a destination of choice for the middle market of UK independent travellers. It will also result in a toolkit of both practical and teaching resources that will be made freely available.
Dr Skinner’s recent visit to Corfu to develop these materials was in part funded by the grant associated with her National Teaching Fellowship award, received in 2011.