Narrating Hellas

tourism, news publicity and the refugee Crisis's impact on Greece's ‘Nation-Brand’

Article appearing in Journal of Tourism History

  • Co-Author:
  • Taso Lagos with Charanpreet Samra, Haley Anderson, Sydney Baker, Jasmine Leung, Arica Kincheloe, Brooke Manning, Dylan Olivia Tizon, and Helena Gabrielle Franchino
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Date: October 22, 2020
Journal of Tourism History

Modern Greece may be one of the first European states to be branded for touristic exploitation from its very inception. This branding resides undemocratically within its national consciousness and highlights a few select elements of Greece’s storied history and culture at the expense and deliberate exclusion of other facets, a process that skews the country’s sociocultural development. The overwhelming economic reliance on tourism and the hospitality industry, as Greece’s largest by revenues and one of its biggest employers, places the country on a capricious publicity treadmill that undergirds the nation-branding project: ‘positive’ images that attract foreign tourists and ‘negative’ news that repel them and therefore severely impact its economy. This paper examines the role news publicity plays on tourist flows into Greece and discusses the degree to which positive or negative news impact the country’s touristic marketplace, particularly news stories involving the extraordinary refugee crisis in Greece in 2015–16. It considers who best ‘narrates’ Greece as a socially imagined entity to the world: governing, social and business elites responsible for nation-branding’s image construction, or ordinary citizens who embody the nation-state in its quotidian reality but who have little if any stakehold in this process?