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Greek tourism sector and signs of resilience

Stella Karoulia (), Eleni Gaki (), Stella Kostopoulou and Dimitrios Lagos ()

ERSA conference papers from European Regional Science Association

Abstract: As the economic crisis becomes more intense, affecting regions' economic activities to different degrees, new issues have aroused regarding the ability of each region to respond positively to these changes by maintaining its performance at high levels. As a result, the notion of resilience, and in particular economic resilience, has become a field of study for many researchers. Regional economic resilience is defined as the ability of a region to recover successfully from shocks that affect its economy. The term has two meanings: the first one is based on equilibrium analysis, in which resilience is the ability of a region to return to a pre-existing state in a single equilibrium system and the second one defines resilience in terms of complex adaptive systems and refers to the region's ability to adjust and change as response to sudden pressures, shocks and negative impacts. The aim of this paper is to investigate the impact of economic crisis on Greek regions and to assess the displayed degree of resilience. More specifically we focus on regional resilience regarding tourism industry. Tourism, an important economic activity and a fast growing industry worldwide, is one of the main 'sources of income for many countries, including Greece. Its importance and contribution to Greek economy is significant, especially given the poor performance of most other economic sectors. In 2014 tourism's contribution to GDP was more than 20%. According to the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), in 2014 the volume of paid employment provided by the tourism industry increased by 23 percent. During July 2014, Greece's tourism industry generated 137,139 jobs, compared to the same month in 2013. For the purposes of the paper we will use data for three periods: 2007 (i.e. the beginning of the crisis), 2010 (i.e. on the middle of the crisis), 2013 (i.e. on the peak of the crisis). Data refer to NUTS 2 regions and involve: 1) GVA for the tourism industry, 2) Employment in the tourism sector, 3) Number of arrivals (national and international tourists), 4) Number of nights spent (national and international tourists), 5) Number of establishments, 6) Number of available beds. A first analysis of the above data shows that tourism was affected slightly by the economic crisis. In fact, some regions showed an increase on specific tourism indicators. Decrease has been observed on data referring to national tourists, GVA and employment. In order to assess the regions' degree of resilience we introduce an index which is formed by the aforementioned indicators and reveals if a region is economically resilient, shock resistant or non- resilient. Results show that the country's tourism industry could be considered as resilient. Nevertheless, there are significant variations in the resilience of tourism among regions. It is noticeable that the degree of resilience depends on the region's geographical position i.e. whether it is a mainland or an island region. As a result new issues have aroused regarding the investments on tourism per region and the necessity for a regional tourism planning and policies.

Keywords: Greece; economic crisis; tourism industry; regional economic resilience (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: R11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-tur
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