London. Dubai. Johannesburg. New York. What do these famous capital cities have in common? Nigerians love going to these cities, better put, Nigerians love flocking to these cities.
There is a new spot in faraway Greece that might be in this spot soon enough and it is called Santorini.
If you have been observant over the last few months, Santorini has been popping up a lot on Twitter and Instagram timelines. More and more young Nigerians are mentioning Santorini as their choice travel destination. All of a sudden it seems Dubai never existed.
Santorini might be the rave now but there have been traces of the Greek hotspot being a choice destination. As a matter of fact, in December 2017, hit producer and artist Maleek Berry named dropped Santorini on Lifestyle by Ajebutter 22.
What is Santorini?
Santorini is a popular — if you’re rich, with a functional passport — tourist destination in Greece.
Wiki Travel describes it as “a volcanic island in the Cyclades group of the Greek islands. It is located between Ios and Anafi Islands.
“It is famous for dramatic views, stunning sunsets from Oia town, the strange white aubergine (eggplant), the town of Thira naturally its very own active volcano.
“There are naturally fantastic beaches such as the beach of Perissa, maybe the best beach in Santorini, the black pebble beach of Kamari white beach and red beach.”
Also known as Thira, Santorini is an archipelago — a conglomeration of islands.
What makes Santorini an attractive tourist destination?
It has favourable weather for 8 months in a year, except the period from December to March. The temperatures are also inviting and mesmerizing.
At its best, Santorini showcases the power of God’s artistry, embedded in nature’s beauty, shining on power of the sun, to show clean beaches, white sands and dimly lit resorts that entices you.
Why then is Santorini trending in Nigeria?
In in 2016, there where plans to increase their tourist capacities and boost their numbers. Since then, Santorini has gone about solving those problems.
EU funds have also been released toward certain developments to improve the scenery, security, comfortability and landscape architecture of the Island.
With these improvements and funds expended, they need to make the money back. The money was investment, not charity. That’s why you’re seeing the aggressive marketing of Santorini across Nigerian social media.
In case you were wondering, Nigeria is not the only country witnessing this aggressive marketing of Santorini.
A Human Resource Professional and Lawyer, AbenaYalley who has a SchengenVisa and has been holidaying in Santorini since September says, “Ticketing is cheap from October to May. Any after those months is expensive.”
Yalley, a travel enthusiast for whom Santorini has topped the list for a while says that Santorini is expensive, but people Greece might want Africans because, “Greece has been going through a recession so they definitely need the money. For the most part, Africans from Africa don’t really come here. Both on my inbound and outbound flight, I was the only African. My hotel too and most places we went to.”
According to Trip Advisor, Economy Class round-trip from Nigeria to Santorini costs as low as NGN306, 710.
The Santorini hype is real. See the tweets (memes and the real thing) below;
The role ofInternational Tourism Marketing
During Premier League matches, you must have seen the billboards on the touchline advertising countries like Bahamas, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Belize, Seychelles or The Maldives.
You must have also seen that Azerbaijan now sponsors Atletico Madrid's shirts and Qatar for FC Barcelona's shirts. That is International Tourism Marketing.
Tourism is big business, both for governmental and private entities who want to make a killing. Governments of tourist destinations invest heavily in tourism.
Like any investment, they hope to make returns on that investment. They also attract private equity or investment to construct hotels and so forth.
Equally, asides AIRBnB - the accommodation, Bed And Breakfast Company, travel agencies also want to make money off the influx of tourists through aids.
Thus, they need to let you know that these places are attractive to you, tourist. They need you to know. Thus, this marketing is sometimes orchestrated by Governments, private companies or even NGOs.
ALSO READ: Explore cultural tourism in Nigeria
Did Santorini pay for advertisement?
Nobody knows. An influencer who refuses to be named however alleges that the sudden virality of Santorini definitely looks like paid publicity and marketing.
How big an attraction is Santorini?
In 2016, Santorini was a top give global tourist destination, with an average of 25,000 people arriving a day on cruise ships.
All in all, according to Greek Reporter, 75 airlines offer travel to Santorini, with a total of around 57 travelling into Santorini daily.
Well the Greek government should expect that number to increase within a year if social media trends are anything to go by. You can bet that Nigerians who have the means will start trooping to Santorini in huge numbers.