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Tourism Development in Rodos, Greece

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2. Brand Audit

Rodos is the largest island in Dodecanese situated at the crossroads of three continents in the southeastern Aegean. Due to its unique geographical location, it combines different civilisations and possesses impeccable natural beauty with 300-day sunshine per year, which makes it one of the most popular tourism destinations in Europe. In this section, the current situation of this destination is going to be analysed in terms of its tourist appeal and tourism industry performance. In addition, the necessity of developing the new campaign would be identified.

2.1 Tourist appeal

Rodos is a quite comprehensive destination with cultural heritage, natural beauty, cosmopolitan atmosphere, legendary hospitality and unique identity (Rodos Tourism Promotion Organisation, 2014). In terms of culture and heritage, the monuments, museums and historical sites showcase its 4000-year history and splendid culture with the imprint of not only ancient Greeks but also Romans, Byzantines, the knights, the Ottomans and Italians. The medieval town with medieval architecture acts as a time machine that could take tourists back to 14th-15th century. When it comes to natural beauty, the glorious sunshine, the golden beaches and crystal clear sea are the most important components of it. However, there are also a great variety of well-preserved and unspoiled landscapes including lacy coastlines, mountains, rivers, forests and caves, which provide tourists with great opportunities to get close to the nature. Based on the natural environment, plenty of activities are organized such as trekking, hiking, cycling horse riding as well as various water-based activities. In addition, man-made facilities like different bars, cafes, night clubs, spas and water park offers leisure opportunities for tourists of all ages. Besides, events hosted in Rodos could be another appeal to tourists with particular interests, from the artistic events like concerts and exhibitions in summer time to all kinds of sport events like cycling and tennis all the year round. Finally, tourists also have the chance to enjoy Rodian cuisine with traditional flavour and fresh ingredients in Rodos.

2.2 The profile of tourism industry performance in Rodos

2.2.1 International tourist arrivals

The majority tourists who come to visit Rodos are organised by tour operators and this type of massive tourism that mainly focus on 3S products is predominant in Rodos (Koutoulas, 2006; Papadimitrious and Phoca, 2014). Since the international arrivals to Rodos airport take up 80% of the total arrivals (Hellenic Statistic Authority, 2015), it could be summarised from Figure 1 that the international tourist arrivals to Rodos from 2000 to 2015 present an upward trend, but at a relatively sluggish pace. It could be explained by that the over dependent of massive tourism and its promotion through large tour operators leads this destination to a stagnant phase.

Figure 1. International Tourist Arrivals to Rodos Airport

[pic 1]

Source: Hellenic Statistic Authority (2015).

2.2.2 Hotel supply and occupancy rate

By the end of year 2012, there were 490 hotels in Rodos with 84,942 beds in 43,754 rooms in total (Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, 2013). The number of five- and four-star hotels was increasing gradually year by year and they accounted for more than half of the total number of rooms available in 2012 (See Appendix I), which demonstrates that the supply of upscale hotels is adequate to serve the incoming tourist arrivals. However, the occupancy rate ranged from 60% to 80% in high seasons, while the average occupancy rate during the year was only 30% to 40%, which shows that Rodos cannot make full use of its hotel capacity due to seasonality and relatively saturated markets.

2.3 Competitors

The competitor of Rodos consists of two types of destinations. Destinations like France, Italy and Spain which are ranked as top choices of destinations for our target audiences in our survey could be competitors for Rodos. Mediterranean destinations like Turkey and Cyprus could be another group of competitors of Rodos, as they are perceived as similar destinations with similar characteristics (Gatt and Falzon, 2014).

2.4 Current and potential markets

The current major source markets of Rodos are European countries, especially the UK, Germany and Sweden. The increase of the number of tourist arrivals from these countries is relatively slow and there is also decline in the some of the countries, such as Russia and Italy (See Appendix II). It suggests that it is not sufficient to spend most marketing funds on saturated or declining markets. Market research should be done to find new markets with great potential.

China has becomes one of the most significant contributors in the international travel markets (ETC and UNWTO, 2013) due to the rapid growing Chinese middle class with increasing desire to travel abroad and substantial spending power. Thus, it could be a potential market for Rodos. However, Rodos is not among the top choices of destinations for Chinese outbound tourists due to lack of awareness. Although China is quiet large and far away from Rodos, which makes it difficult to target, there is another opportunities that there are increasing number of Chinese students studying in Europe especially in the UK. Rodos could develop a new advertising campaign to target Chinese students in the UK at first. If they are successfully attracted to Rodos, they will be helpful to promote Rodos in China through their word-of-mouth.



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