When the recession hit Greece, Ntina Denaxa and her family faced tough times. They had to leave Athens and move to her husband’s hometown of Messaria, a small village in Santorini, using the last of their savings to renovate abandoned houses into a small hotel. Soon after, a neighbor introduced her to an adviser who was in the village showing local businesses how to promote themselves online, as part of the Grow Greek Tourism Online program.
In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Education, the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) and the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), three years ago we created the program to offer free training on digital skills to people working in the tourism sector. Since then, we’ve visited more than 80 cities and 37 universities, and created a free online training platform, helping 70,000 people of all ages and backgrounds, like Ntina, to grow their business or career. Since the training, Ntina has used her new digital skills to promote the hotel internationally and attract more guests: “Now we’re welcoming people from all over the world and when they come, they eat in local restaurants and buy local products. It helps everyone,” she says. “I’m proud of what we’ve built.” And Ntina is just one example—67% of the businesses confirmed they had concrete business results following our training.
There are even more opportunities out there. According to a recent study by Oxford Economics on the “The Impact of Online Content on European Tourism,” increasing tourism-related online content would increase Greece’s GDP by 3.9%, and generate over 176,000 new jobs.
We’ll continue to work with our partners to expand our programs further by giving new opportunities to Greek businesses and students.