The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) aims to smack two flies with one poster: attract retirees and prolong the tourist season.
As part of a 20-million-euro campaign to advertize Greece abroad, posters with an older couple cheekily feeding each other watermelon and enjoying wine onboard a yacht, featuring the question “Wanna feel 20 again?” will appear in several European capitals.
It’s not just a reference to feeling young again; it’s referring to temperature. The idea of promoting Greece to retirees is part of the country’s plan for prolonging its tourist season, inspired by the current energy crisis. It’s based on the idea that hotels stay open and host northern Europeans who might be motivated by the much lower heating costs in the mild climate, as well as the lower cost of living in general. Below the question on the poster is the explanation: “With warm winter temperatures up to 20°C, Greece is the place to be.”
Speaking to the Guardian’s Observer, Greek Tourism Minister Vasilis Kikilias described part of the plan, saying that “there will be clusters connected by direct flights with hotels and restaurants that are prepared to stay open,” and explaining that “it might be less costly to turn off the heat back home and come here.”
Over the last month, the magazine also noted, the minister has visited Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and Stockholm, talking with pension fund managers, tour operators, and airlines, and spreading the word that Greece is “open” year-round. Among the Greek destinations to be promoted are Athens, Thessaloniki, Rhodes, Kos, and Crete – places with good medical care.
Worth noting is that while the new GNTO campaign aims to reap some momentum from the energy crisis, northern European retirees have long shown interest in Greece. In January, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported that more and more German retirees were looking to move abroad, and called Greece the “Florida of Europe.” Meanwhile, Swedish retirement homes have been taking elders on trips to Greece for over a decade. Previous attempts by the Greek government to bring retirees to Greece permanently have included generous tax incentives.
“I think Norwegians and Swedes would love to visit but it’s always been Spain in winter, not Greece, and that’s partly because most of the hotels have been closed,” the Observer quotes Swedish tour operator executive Cecile Eslander.
One might conclude that bringing pensioners to Greece on winter holidays seems to have most to do with what’s done at home; with keeping large hotels open, and direct flights flying. Thankfully, these appear to be among the government’s priorities this year. A good poster, meanwhile, can hardly hurt. After all – who doesn’t want to feel 20 again?