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Greece and Portugal Need to Change the Way They Sell Tourism

Greece and Portugal need to market themselves differently. Appeal to our sympathy, not to our hedonism (like everyone else).

Our news channels are increasingly showing examples of the very real suffering happening in bankrupt countries - whatever the reasons for their demise. Of course they have to tighten their belts, fix their leaky tax-collection and get real about the future, but these two nations in particular are too small and technologically disadvantaged to find clever ways of growing their economies. It's impossible these days for a small nation to find a niche that can't instantly be copied and offered more cheaply by the likes of China and India - let alone by the UK, Japan and Germany. Every industry they might claim as a niche is either too small to make a difference to their nation's debt or being replaced by something cheaper and probably better (like corks have been replaced by screw tops). All Portugal and Greece realistically have to export is sun and their cultures. Tourism.

No prizes for working that one out. So our TVs and magazines are now awash with ads from Greece and Portugal + every other holiday nation (and cruise liners!) to encourage us to spend our pounds and euros with them. It's called panic marketing, and it won't work because behind the posters saying 'come to sunny Greece', there is another which says 'where the bins won't be emptied, the hotels will be in ruin, and you'll be mugged by starving peasants while you deal with food poisoning and broken toilets'. Consequently the tourist authorities of both nations need to become subtler in persuading us to help their countries:

"This summer, instead of risking that cruise, pick up a bargain in beautiful sunny Greece - and help little Dimitri avoid being give to an orphanage because his mother can't afford to feed him". "If you love fish, buy one from Luis this summer to help him feed his kids, instead of making Tesco shareholders fatter". etc.

Greeks and Portuguese need to learn how to punch low. What other options do they have?


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