What Has Pop Culture Done for Greek Tourism and Luxury Travel? By Hailey Wilson
As the birthplace of democracy, the Olympic games, and many other contributions in all fields today, Greece remains to be a major influence on pop culture – whether in print, on screen, or in the digital space. This, in turn, has helped tourism grow despite the many challenges the country has faced, such as the Greek Depression.
Greece in pop culture
One of the most important contributions of Greece to modern pop culture is its rich ancient mythology. Although the deities and stories of the Greek pantheon date back thousands of years, Task & Purpose claims that they remain popular today because their virtues and flaws resonate with modern audiences.
In addition, the characters’ military achievements serve as timeless lessons for tacticians and students alike. These gods have inspired everything from literature in Shakespeare’s plays (Macbeth’s Hecate in Macbeth) to science and technology in the US Apollo Space Program.
Ancient Greek mythology continues to influence people today. For instance, Marvel and DC superheroes based on Greek gods were born in print during the Cold War and have more recently come to life on-screen in blockbuster movies. Important ancient Greek heroes like Orpheus, Perseus, and Pygmalion also appear in countless films, television series, books, and games.
Greece itself has also been featured in many of today’s iconic films. For instance, Mama Mia! was filmed on Skiathos and Skopelos, while the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only featured Corfu. The opening scene of Angelina Jolie’s second Lara Croft outing was also shot in Santorini.
Pop culture’s effects on tourism and luxury travel
These inclusions of Greek natural beauty and heritage in pop culture have had a hand in promoting the country as a major international destination. After all, millions of travelers visiting any of the country’s 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites first learned about them as children from films like Hercules or 300, while those who seek out the beauty of the Greek islands and seas are often inspired to visit the country by films like Before Midnight and Big Blue.
The country’s leaders are well aware of this relationship. In 2014, Greek Tourism Minister, Olga Kefalogianni led a campaign to encourage more film producers to shoot in the country to further boost inbound tourism. According to Kefalogianni, “A good film attracts tourists wishing to see the landscapes where the shooting took place.”
This great advantage in tourism has helped the country navigate a faltering economy, with authentic local charm and warm Grecian hospitality encouraging tourists to keep coming back for more. These efforts have paid back most notably last year, when a record-breaking 30 million international tourists visited Greece. Forbes reports that this number translated to a growth rate of 7%, nearly double that of the global average of 3.9%. The rise in visitor numbers is also attributed to the increased accessibility, greater audience segmentation, and the use of new platforms and social media.
The renewed influx of tourists of Greek tourists adds jobs – an estimated 30 tourists or so translates to one new job for a Greek citizen, as well as investments for grander and more luxurious accommodation and facilities. The former Ellinikon International Airport near Athens, for one, is set to be converted into an integrated resort complex, composed of hotels, luxury apartments, amusement parks, and gaming areas. This development is expected to add renewed energy to Greece’s thriving tourism industry, with gaming at the centre of the new project.
Entertainment complexes have enjoyed a huge boost in global popularity in recent years, supported by the proliferation of online mediums that have made classic games like poker and blackjack more accessible. Some even include additional features for improved gameplay. The Foxy Casino platform lets players enjoy authentic casino experiences with the assistance of live dealers, all from the comfort of their own homes or while on the move. This convenience has led to an increase in popularity of iconic table games among the online community, which contributes to increased engagement in traditional gaming venues, especially in tourist hotspots such as Greece. This way, developments like the Ellinikon conversion stand to bring a substantial benefit to Greek tourism and economy.
Other new developments set to open this year include the Four Seasons Astir Palace in Athens and the One & Only Resort on Kea Island. As explained in a previous post here on Exotik Traveler, these luxurious resorts promise no less than the best of Greece’s laid-back seaside beauty and world-class service that ties Greece’s ancient heritage to modern-day comforts.
In the same way that pop culture owes much of its stories and characters to ancient Greek lore, the modern-day country also benefits from pop culture’s promotions through tourism and luxury travel. With these developments well underway, Greek tourism will continue to flourish.