The Olympics improve Greece’s image abroad

Greece is a “safe destination”, a “modern European Country” that organised “technically excellent” Olympic Games with a “human dimension”.

This is the new “Greek identity” that emerges after the successful hosting of the Games, as perceived by citizens in five major countries (USA, UK, Spain, Germany, France) and reflected in the results of a large public opinion survey conducted in these countries on behalf of ATHENS 2004 immediately after the Games by the consortium consisting of MRB, VPRC and RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL.

More specifically, the survey was carried out in the period from 1 to 22 September 2004 in the USA (1001 respondents), Spain (502 respondents), Germany (507 respondents), the UK (519 respondents) and France (502 respondents). It was a telephone survey conducted using the special telephone interview system. The respondents were selected at random from among the adult members of every household, following a random calling process. The survey was conducted in accordance with the Codes of Practice laid down by the Association of Greek Market & Opinion Research Companies (SEDEA) and ESOMAR.

The survey results show that the majority of respondents felt positive about Greece after the Games, based on what they saw or heard during that period. Indeed, 38.7% of Americans expressed their intention to visit Greece in the future, ranking Greece as the second most popular destination after Italy. In terms of their intention to travel to Greece for their holidays, Germans represent the largest ‘client base’ for Greece.

Regarding the Olympic Games, the largest percentage of respondents showed great to extremely great interest, with access to relevant information being achieved through television channels, magazines and advertising.

The Olympic Games of Athens were characterised as successful by 90% of Americans and 93% of Europeans, while 40% of all respondents considered the Athens Games to be the best Games ever organised in the history of the modern Olympic Games.

More in particular, the survey results showed the following:

Increase in positive opinions about Greece after the Games, based on what respondents saw and heard (table 1)*:

  • USA: +23%
  • Europe: +7%
  • UK: +11%
  • Germany: +2%
  • Spain: +1.7%
  • France:+10.5%

Positive feelings about Greece after the Games (table 2)*:

  • USA: +9%
  • Europe: +3.9%
  • UK: +3%
  • Germany: +0,8%
  • Spain: +3%
  • France: +7.7%

Likelihood to visit Greece for holidays (table 3)*:

a) US residents

  • Greece: 38.7%
  • Italy: 50.2%
  • Spain: 37.2%
  • Turkey: 7.8%
  • Croatia: 5.2%

b) Europeans

  • Greece: 49.2%
  • Italy: 49.9%
  • Spain: 42%
  • Turkey: 17.2%
  • Croatia: 19.1%

The above data allow the conclusion to be drawn that after the success of the Games Greece is strengthened compared to its competitors in tourism, outranking even Spain in the US market , while in the European market it ranks very close to Italy and is well ahead of Spain.

On average, 30% of respondents showed great interest for the Olympic Games (table 4)*.
Sources of information regarding the Olympic Games (table 5)*:

  • USA: 36.5% programmes or newscasts on TV
  • Europe: 46.1% programmes or newscasts on TV
  • UK 50.9% advertising
  • Germany 58% programmes or newscasts on TV
  • Spain 45.3% advertising
  • France 64% programmes or newscasts on TV

How successful did the respondents believe that the Olympic Games were (table 6)*:

  • USA: 35% successful, 59.3% very successful
  • Europe: 52.8% successful, 44% very successful
  • UK: 38% successful, 59% very successful
  • Germany: 62.7% successful, 32.5% very successful
  • Spain: 58.4% successful, 38.8% very successful
  • France: 53% successful, 45.2% very successful

A total of 40% of the respondents believe the Olympic Games of Athens to be the best ever organised to this date (table 7)*

Viewers who watched the Opening Ceremony. From the data of table 8*, it follows that 41.3% in the USA and an average 48% in Europe watched the Opening Ceremony of the Athens Olympic Games on television, which made ratings skyrocket.

  • USA: 41.3%
  • Europe: 48%
  • UK: 50.5%
  • Germany: 50.5%
  • Spain: 48.4%
  • France: 42.4%

People liked the Opening Ceremony very much in the USA (65%) and in Europe (61.1% on average). Of particular interest are the high percentages recorded in positive responses in Spain (68%), Germany (64.8%) and France (62.9%). (table 9)*:

  • USA: 65%
  • Europe: 61.1%
  • UK: 49.2%
  • Germany: 64.8%
  • Spain: 68%
  • France: 62.9%

Athletics and Swimming are very popular sports and attracted a large number of viewers. In the USA, 59.4% of viewers watched the Swimming disciplines with great interest, while an average 61.6% of European viewers watched the Athletics sports, with the UK representing the highest number of viewers (table 10)*:

  • USA: 59.4% Swimming
  • Europe: 61.6% Athletics
  • UK: 74.2% Athletics
  • Germany: 60.4% Swimming
  • Spain: 52.8% Athletics
  • France: 59.4% Athletics

Greece is a “safe destination”, a “modern European Country” that organised “technically excellent” Olympic Games with a “human dimension”. The following results were recorded after the Games emerge (tables 11-14)*:

  • Athens – safe destination: 74.6%
  • Greece – European country: 72.3%
  • Human dimension of the Games: 66.2%
  • Greece – modern country: 63.5%
  • Games – technically excellent: 64.6%