This desk research report will focus on what the fieldtrip to Athens is going to look like, what it consists of and how it is planned; which is essential to know prior to departure. However, the general and foremost purpose of the entire assignment is to develop a tourism product. In this case, a website and VLOG will be created with the main focus on the chosen target group: culinary tourists aged 18-30 years. The tourism resources of the chosen destination: Athens, will be analysed thoroughly by conducting both primary and secondary research. Ultimately, the website will be based on the before mentioned research.
In order to provide a complete overview of the fieldtrip, the report is divided into six different chapters. Firstly, a distinct justification containing personal experience and motivation for choosing Athens as a destination, as well as the existing tourism resources and tourism potential the city offers, will be highlighted.
Moreover, the theory of Butler's life cycle, Heneghan's 5 A's and Jansen-Verbeke's model will be analysed extensively in the extended destination analysis.
Thereafter, an explanation of the chosen target market (culinary tourists between 18-30 years) will be given. Based on Google Trends; their lifestyle, wishes and demands, characteristics and lastly trends will be identified.
Followed by an introduction of the most important stakeholders that are essential to culinary tourists aged between 18-30 who are visiting Athens. This will be accomplished by giving a clarification of their relevance, of which important data can be collected from them and how that can be useful. Additionally, a few questions for the interviews with the stakeholders are formulated.
Finally, the inventory and observation sheets that relate to the chosen target group and destination are included, followed by the research planning which consists of a detailed planning, group agreements and personal SMART-goals.
Tourism Destination: Justification
This chapter will focus on justifying the chosen tourism destination by underlining my motivation for choosing Athens, along with the city's tourism potential and available tourism resources.
For my previous education, I have done several internships. One of those internships was in 2015 on the Greek island Kos. I lived and worked on the island for five months where I had the chance to experience the Greek culture and hospitality. I had the most amazing time and made some incredible memories. My great experiences with the Greek people, culture and hospitality are the primary reason I have always wanted to return to Greece. Greek hospitality as it is known today, is derived from an ancient Greek concept which is referred to as: ‘Xenia'. The concept revolves around the mutual respect between hosts and guests. (Wilson, 2006). Meaning that the tourist respects the Greek and the Greek respects the tourist.
In addition to that, the wonderful Greek cuisine, ancient sights and pleasant weather forecast in May, as can been in figure 1 (The Weather Channel, 2017. May 9) are other reasons for me to choose Athens. Furthermore, Athens is appealing to me due to the fact that it is a relatively affordable destination. Flights, accommodations and prices for food and entrance fees are relatively cheap and fairly reasonable.
Athens has a lot to offer in terms of the existing tourism resources, even though some are more popular than other. Besides the well-known and very popular Acropolis, there are amenities present such as: the National Archaeological museum, the Parthenon, Plaka (district which attracts a lot of tourists and in particular students), mount Lykavittos and the beaches surrounding the city along with the enormous cruise harbour Piraeus. (Sights of Athens, 2013).
Moreover, the city hosts numerous festivals throughout the year. An example would be the Street Food Festival, which is held on several dates in May in several locations throughout the city. (Athens Street Food Festival- Food, Drinks, Music. 2017).
Due to the fact that there is a great variety in available tourism resources, Athens is an attractive and interesting destination for different types of tourists.
When looking at Athens' tourism potential it becomes evident that the city has a lot to offer and provides plenty tourism related facilities, as mentioned before.
Up until now, Athens has been functioning as a stopover destination for tourists traveling to the Greek islands instead of being their final destination. (GTP Headlines, 2016)
Therefore, the cities potential lies in becoming more popular as a tourist destination rather than a stopover. For that reason, Marketing Greece started a campaign and launched a promotional video: ‘'Once city, never ending stories''. This video showcases everything that Athens has to offer, combining the urban, ancient and modern features of the city. (GTP Headlines, 2016)
Extended destination Analysis
This chapter provides an analysis of Athens as the chosen tourism destination. In order to do so, Butler's lifecycle, the Jansen-Verbeke model and Heneghans 5A's will be used. First of all, a clear explanation of the models will be given, followed by an adaptation of the models based on Athens.
According to Butler (1980) tourism development occurs in different stages. Therefore, these stages were displayed in ‘the destination lifecycle model'. The model (see Appendix 1: figures, figure 2.) reflects the relationship between locals and tourists. (Page and Connell, 2014). The first stage is the exploration stage; where none or just a few tourist facilities are present at the destination and the number of incoming tourists is low. Therefore, locals are not making money from the tourism industry. (BBC, n.d.)
Next, is the second stage: involvement, in this phase tourism is acknowledged. Meaning that locals witness tourist arrivals rise and react to it by starting up businesses, and providing facilities such as: accommodation, food & beverages, transportation and (guided) tours. Subsequently, the third stage: development, deals with the destination being identified as a tourist destination. Big, international companies are aware of the potential and benefit from it by building large accommodations.
Moreover, the locals profit from the job opportunities in the area as a result of the ‘new' tourism industry. (BBC, n.d.)
Next, is the second stage: involvement, in this phase tourism is acknowledged. Meaning that locals witness tourist arrivals rise and react to it by starting up businesses, and providing facilities such as: accommodation, food & beverages, transportation and (guided) tours. Subsequently, the third stage: development, deals with the destination being identified as a tourist destination. Big, international companies are aware of the potential and benefit from it by building large accommodations. Moreover, the locals profit from the job opportunities in the area as a result of the ‘new' tourism industry.
After the development phase, the fourth stage: consolidation follows. Which involves an economy that is mostly dominated by the tourism industry, this could potentially lead to other industries suffering from employee-shortage. Furthermore, the number of accommodations continues to grow and frictions between locals and tourists are likely to occur.
Stagnation, which is the fifth stage, involves the loss of original features of the destination and potential overcrowding. Therefore, it is highly likely that the number of incoming tourists decreases. Finally, there is the last stage which can either be decline or rejuvenation. Depending on whether visitor numbers continue to increase (rejuvenation stage) or if they decrease (decline stage). (BBC, n.d.)
When comparing the model to Athens' situation it becomes evident that the city is currently in the consolidation stage, which is the fourth stage. Due to the fact that the tourism industry is one of Athens' main industries. In general, most locals have jobs related to tourism and therefore rely on tourism. Therefore, it can be concluded that Athens profits from the tourism sector.
Jansen-Verbeke (1986) developed a model (see Appendix 1: figures, figure 3.) that identifies three components of tourism in order to classify individual motives for visiting urban destinations. Those components are: primary elements, secondary elements and additional elements. (Page and Connell, 2014)
The primary elements are generally the main reason for tourists to visit a certain destination, they can be described as the key attractors of the destination. Furthermore, the primary elements are a combination of cultural facilities, amusement facilities, physical characteristics and sociocultural features. Besides primary elements, there are the secondary elements which supplement the primary elements. They consist of products and services that are needed by tourists and therefor are not the main purpose of visiting the destination.
Lastly, the additional elements involve tourism infrastructure. More specifically, tourist information, transportation and parking facilities. These elements provide easy obtainable information for tourists, which is not strictly necessary but is very helpful for tourists. (Colantonio, & Potter, 2006)
When adapting the model to Athens, it is relatively easy to identify the city's different elements. Athens offers plenty of primary elements, the National Archaeological museum accounts for the cultural facilities while the amusement facilities consist of festivals, bars and night clubs. Furthermore, the city offers physical characteristics such as: the Acropolis, cruise harbour Piraeus, parks and mount Lykavittos. Regarding the sociocultural features, the Greek language and friendliness of the Greeks really stand out. Moving on to the secondary elements, which consist of shopping facilities: the famous shopping street Ermou, markets: Athens Flea Market in Monastiraki and hotel and catering facilities of which there are loads available in different classifications.
Finally, there are the additional elements: transportation: metro, busses and taxicabs, parking facilities and tourist information offices.
The model ‘' A complete product: The 5 A's of the Rural Tourism Holiday Network'' (see Appendix 1: figures, figure 4.) was developed by Heneghan (2002) and intends to clarify how the overall tourism product is constructed. It consists of five components: Accommodation, Access facilities, Available services, Amenities and Activities.
Hotels, resorts, camp sites, B&B's and all other forms of tourist residences cover the A of accommodation. While facilities including airports, busses, taxicabs, metro lines, booking and reservation systems/websites account for access facilities. Furthermore, the available services consist of restaurants, shops, car rental, banks and boat hire. Additionally, the amenities component deals with lakes, beaches, mountains, forests and rivers which can be referred to as the natural landscape of a destination. finally, moving on to the last building block of a tourism product: activities. Which entails tours, sights/attractions, walks and pubs. (Heneghan, 2002)
In the next chapter: Target market, an outline of the five A's will be given.
The Jansen-Verbeke's model adapted to Athens
This chapter deals with providing a justification of how this specific target group was determined. Moreover, an in-depth clarification of culinary tourism follows along with an overview of trends associated with culinary tourism. Lastly, an application of Heneghans five A model based on Athens is included in this chapter.
The main reason behind choosing culinary tourists in the age from 18 to 30 as a target group, is based on the fact that the Athens Food Festival takes place during our stay there. However, another essential matter that contributes to this choice has to do with the importance of food during holidays. Every trip deals with culinary facets as every tourist drinks and eats during their stay. Not to mention the fact, that local food and culinary facets are increasing in popularity and importance for tourists.
Besides, the Athens Food Festival, our own age weighed in the decision to choose this target group. We are able to relate to the younger part of the culinary tourists aged between 18-30 years.
Furthermore, some prominent trends attracted attention based on Google Trends. For instance, ‘Athens food festival 19,20 and 21 May 2017' was searched for a lot by Google users and therefore appears to be quite popular. Apart from, ‘restaurant Athens' appearing in popular search terms as well. However, it is noteworthy that ‘TripAdvisor' is listed in the related search terms, leading to believe that quality and peer review is crucially important for (culinary) tourists. This is supported by search terms such as: ‘best restaurant Athens' and ‘Best restaurants Athens' gaining more popularity. Due to the first search term rising with 120% and the latter with 140%.
Even though culinary tourism seems to be a generally accepted and widely known term, it has no authorised definition. However, several organisations and researchers have tried to define the term, which is also indicated with the terms: food tourism, gastronomic tourism and food and drinks tourism.
The World Food Travel Association (WFTA) states that food tourism deals with experiences related to food and drinks either close to home or away, in an extraordinary and unforgettable way. (WFTA, 2017). According to Long (2004) culinary tourism revolves around using all senses: taste, smell, vision and touch to have a profound experience of the culinary aspect. Resulting in the tourist not just being an observer nonetheless, being an active partaker.
Furthermore, culinary tourism includes consumption, presentation and preparation of food and therefor is considered exploratory and intended. (Long, 2004).
However, Allen & Albala (2007) note that local markets, restaurants, vineyards and cooking classes contribute to the essence of culinary tourism, which is: travelling for and through food, mainly out of interest. Lastly, a comprehensive definition of culinary tourism by Hall and Sharples (2003) combines aspects of each of the before mentioned definitions. Accordingly, culinary tourism revolves around visiting a gastronomic area for leisure purposes, while undertaking visits to amongst others: food festivals/fairs, food events, markets and cooking shows. Ultimately, any food related tourism activity. (Hall and Sharples, 2003)
Besides experiencing the local cuisine, culinary tourism focusses on experiencing the local culture as a whole. Subsequently, culinary reflects its destinations' culture, heritage, landscape and inhabitants. Meaning that not only food and drinks are important, also sights, museums and exhibitions are essential. Therefore, culinary tourism is a sub form of cultural and heritage tourism. (Everett, 2012)
Culinary tourism is still a relatively new sensation and continues to develop however, it has always been recognised as something usual in tourism. Noteworthy however, is that tourists spend over a third of their travel budget on food. (UNWTO, 2012).
Additionally, most of the tourists bring local food products home, spend more on food and drinks when travelling than at home, think that eating and drinking benefits the experience of the local culture and most of them shop in local shops and markets at the destination. (WFTA, 2017) (see Appendix 1: figures, figure 5.). The Ministry of foreign affairs states that culinary travellers are of all ages however, the main age group is 30-60 years. Furthermore, they distinguish three different types of culinary tourists, namely: the deliberate culinary tourist, the opportunistic culinary tourist and the accidental culinary tourist. (CBI, 2016). Half of culinary tourists are considered to be deliberate culinary tourists, who's goal is to experience local cuisine and are interested in authenticity. While, a quarter of the tourists are opportunistic culinary tourists, meaning that culinary experiences are not the main goal however, they enjoy experiencing the local culinary aspects. Lastly, the remaining quarter are the accidental culinary tourists, who are not aware of the culinary experiences and only partake because there is the option to do so. (CBI, 2016). Due to the fact that culinary tourism is still developing and becoming more popular, there are some evident trends visible. For instance, sustainability and in particular the focus on fair food. Hand crafted products and (farmers) markets are becoming increasingly popular due to people wanting to purchase fair products. (UNWTO, 2012). Moreover, the influence of social media can be considered as a trend. Sharing travel experiences becomes more and more important, pictures, blogs and vlogs about food and drinks appear on a daily basis on social media. Furthermore, the use of review applications and website becomes more popular. Generally, most millennials use these kind of information sources to do some peer to peer review. (WFTA, 2017).
Millennials or ‘Generation Y' are the group of people who are born between in or after 1982 and 2002, are considered the biggest generation after the Baby boomers. (Howe & Straus, 2000). Most millennials are very invested in what they eat. They expect high quality and have high standards. Moreover, many millennials prefer to go out for dinner rather than cooking at home. Which has to do with the fact that they think of food as a social experience. Additionally, they are interested in the story behind their food and want to learn from it. For millennials, it is crucial to eat healthy and explore/try new sorts of food. (Millennial Marketing, 2017)
Heneghan's 5A model adapted to chosen target group, culinary tourists aged between 18-30.
-The Athens Heart apart
- Best Western My Athens Hotel
- Athens International Airport
- Shuttle Lykavittos Hill
- Harbour Piraeus
- National Archaeological Museum
- Rock and Roll
- Beach in Piraeus
- Thessalonikis Park
- The Acropolis of Athens
- Voodoo Bar
- Food market
See chapter 5 (Inventory sheets/observation sheets) for more information.
This chapter specifies the stakeholders involved with culinary tourism in Athens and how they influence the primary research on site. Stakeholders are the parties who can either directly or indirectly be influenced by an organization and its manner of reaching their objectives according to Stoner, Freeman & Gilbert (1995, p. 63). Moreover, an explanation of the stakeholders, their contribution to the research, the purpose of approaching them and the way we intend to approach them will be dealt with.
General overview of stakeholders
Based on Heneghan's 5 A's model, the chosen stakeholders can be divided into accommodation, availability, access, amenities and activities. (Heneghan, 2002)
- Accommodation: We will try to meet and contact: The owner of the Athens Heart Apartment (Airbnb apartment), the manager of the Best Western My Athens hotel and the general manager of Hotel Elikon.
- Availability: We will try to meet and contact: an employee of the National Archaeological museum, employee/owner of restaurant Doris.
- Access: we will try to meet and contact: employees of the Piraeus harbour
- Amenities: we will try to meet and contact: tourist information centre employees.
- Activities: we will try to meet and contact: Stand owners of the Street Food Festival.
Meeting with the owner of the Airbnb apartment seemed logical due to us being in the same age group as the chosen target group. Besides the feature of having an own cooking set, Airbnb apartments have different classifications and therefor are suitable for a broad age group. This particular apartment is interesting for the target group due to its central location in the city, restaurants, bars and clubs are close by. Furthermore, meetings with the managers/owners of hotel Elikon and Best Western My Athens hotel are planned. These meetings are of importance since, the chosen target group has a broad age range; meaning that there is a relatively big chance they will stay in of these accommodations as well. For both the primary research and the tourism product (Website and VLOG) it is crucial to be informed about what kind of accommodations culinary tourists aged between 18-30 desire most. Speaking to the employees and experiencing the hotels contribute to data collection. Ultimately, it becomes evident what motivates the culinary tourists to reside in these hotels, or not.
Additionally, meeting the owner of restaurant Doris in order to find out if culinary tourists come to the restaurant and what the target group likes or does not like, is essential to understand the need, preferences and wishes of the target group.
Moreover, meeting an employee of the National Archaeological Museum benefits the research based on the ground that culinary tourism is a subsidiary form of cultural tourism as has been mentioned before. Subsequently, the conclusion can be drawn that besides the cultural aspects of a holiday, other tourist facilities and attractions such as museum and (ancient) sights, are equally important for the culinary tourist. Therefore, a critical analysis of all areas of interest of the culinary tourist is necessary in order to create a broad tourism product designed for the target group. Which is why a visit to the visitor centre in Athens is beneficial for the primary research, since the aim is to find out what the preferences of culinary tourists are in terms of tourism activities and accommodations. The visitor centre is acquainted with this information and is therefore the most reliable source. (Welcome centre Athens, 2016). Finally, a meeting with stand owners of the Food Festival is fundamental for conducting the research. At the festival, visitors enter a world full of food & beverages experiences.
Purpose and approach
The game plan is to approach the stakeholders personally, based on personal experiences we feel it is best to show up, rather than emailing beforehand as it is more likely to be rejected. When trying to reach a manager/owner of a hotel or restaurant, we will stop by the front desk first. If we need to speak to an employee, we will ask them directly. In all scenarios, it is important to be clear about the purpose of the questions and inform the stakeholders what the purposes and intentions are.
Interview questions for the Stakeholders
- Questions to ask at Restaurants & bars
1. Which age category fits most of the visitors?
2. Do you have a special strategy to attract visitors? Which?
3. Do you recognize any trends? Which/why?
- Questions to ask at the Accommodations
1. What is the duration of the average stay here?
2. Do you offer any kind of culinary experience for you guests?
3. Do you see the occupation rate rise when a culinary event is held?
- Questions to ask at the Street Food Festival:
1. How often have you participated in the Street Food Festival in Athens? (years)
2. Do you recognize a growth or decline in visitor numbers? Why?
3. Do you recognize any trends? Why?
4. Which age category fits most of the visitors?
5. What is so unique about this festival?
6. Would you change anything about this festival?
- Questions to ask tourists:
1. Are you on a holiday?
2. What is your age?
3. What is the main reason for your stay?
4. How important are culinary aspects/ food during your stay on a scale from 1-5?
5. How often do you go out for dinner/drinks during your stay?
- Questions to ask at the National Archaeological museum:
1. Which age category fits most of the visitors?
2. Do you recognize a growth or decline in visitor numbers? Why?
3. Do you recognize any trends? Why?
4. What is so unique about this museum?
This chapter aims to clarify the inventory and observation sheets. An explanation of the characteristics to be examined will be provided along with an analysis of Athens derived from Heneghans five A's. Moreover, the observations sheets will be based on the Servqueal method.
The inventory sheets consist of an analysis of Heneghans 5A based on the tourism resources of Athens. For each ‘A', 3 resources will be analysed.
To begin with Accommodation, the choice was made to examine an Airbnb apartment, a two-star hotel and a three-star hotel. Above mentioned options are suitable for culinary tourists aged 18-30 because of the broad age range. The youngest part of the target group might still go to university, have student loans and therefor no stable income. As one of the characteristics of a culinary tourist is to explore and experience a destination, they will not spend that much time in their accommodation. Therefore, middle-classified hotels are appropriate and luxurious hotels/resorts are not needed. Additionally, in terms of the budget, middle-classified hotels are more suitable for the target group. Then, museum and restaurants which cover the available services aspect have been selected. Besides selecting two restaurants, the National Archaeological Museum is included. Since culinary tourism also deals with cultural features besides just food and drinks, it is highly likely that the tourists visit museums and cultural sights. The two restaurants are an obvious choice, regarding the interest in the culinary culture. In order to match the target group's budget, choosing restaurants of different classifications and price ranges are of importance.
Moving on to the access facilities present in Athens which are Athens international airport and the funicular that goes up to mount Lykavittos. Based on Google Trends, it is apparent that most incoming tourists arrive in Athens by airplane. Furthermore, the Lykavittos funicular represents the access facilities, instead of walking up the hill, the funicular can be used. The funicular is relatively cheap and thus fits the budget of the target group. Thenceforth, there is the amenities aspect. Lykavittos hill is one of these amenities and is certainly a well-known tourist attraction. Because of it being a cultural aspect, it is interesting for culinary tourists to visit as well. Lastly, there is the A of activities of which there are plenty present in Athens. For instance, the Acropolis; which are the leftovers of the ancient city situated on a hill with providing spectacular prospects of the city. Due to the cultural history, it attracts heritage and cultural tourists from all over the world. Additionally, the Voodoo bar located close to the Airbnb apartment, functions as one of the activities. It is the perfect place for (culinary) tourists to visit in the evenings for some food and drinks. Finally, the annual Athens Street Food Festival revolving around world wide street food is selected as one of the activities. It has a central location on the grounds of the Technopolis in the district Monastiraki and is essential for a culinary tourist to visit
The Servqual method forms the foundation of the analysis of Athens' tourism resources and is used to measure quality and consumer satisfaction in the service industry. According to Hudson, Hudson & Miller, (2004) the measurements are based on five criteria, which are: empathy, reliability, assurance, responsiveness and tangibles. The Servqual method is suitable for the observation sheets since, culinary tourism deals with providing service. The aspects: uniqueness, atmosphere and appeal are included as the Servqual method could not be adapted to the ‘amenities' element of Heneghan's five A model. In order to be able to insert notes and remarks, the column remarks is added to the observation sheets. All criteria will be graded ranging from one to five. One reflects terrible and 5 reflects excellent. If it is not possible to grade a certain aspect, the abbreviation N.A. (Not Applicable) will be filled in.
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