20 October 2004
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 hosting of the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, as perceived by citizens in five countries (the USA, UK, Spain, Germany and France) and reflected in the results of a large public opinion poll conducted in these countries in September on behalf of ATHENS 2004 by a consortium consisting of MRB, VPRC and Research International.
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.
Majority feel “positive about Greece”
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. The data collected allows the conclusion to be drawn that, after the success of the Games, Greece has strengthened its tourism industry. 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.
A separate nationwide survey conducted by the same consortium, also in September in Greece on behalf of ATHENS 2004, showed that the majority of Greeks believe that the success of the Olympic Games has enhanced perceptibly the position of Greece on the international stage. To the question “Compared to one year before, the position of our country internationally has become more powerful, weaker, or remained the same?”, 58% of the respondents (from a nation-wide sample of 2,000 citizens) expressed the view that Greece’s position at an international level is now more powerful.
Benefit to the country
This view is complemented by the opinion that the successful organisation of the Olympic Games was of benefit to the country, an opinion shared by 72.3% of the citizens who participated in the survey. Seventy nine point two per cent of the respondents expressed the view that “undertaking to host the Games was the right choice for Greece”, with only one in ten respondents holding an opposite view (10.9%).