NETWORK CREATION AND USE OF TOURISM INFORMATION CHANNELS IN A DESTINATION OF RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCΕ
Main Article Content
tourism networks, religious tourism, advertising, social media, information channels
This paper examines the structure of the tourism information channels employed, as well as the existence of networks for the promotion of religious tourism in the prefecture of Arcadia, in Peloponnese, Greece. Quantitative methodology was employed with the use of a field survey research based on 775 valid questionnaires, in the province of Arcadia, including Greek and foreign tourists. Content analysis of 124 hotels websites which have an online presence also took place in order to examine the existence of networks in the area. Results regarding the type of the tourism information channels employed from the key stakeholders involved in the promotion of the region of Arcadia, reveal that the existence of networks in regard to religious tourism in Arcadia, Greece, is extremely limited, if not existing at all; religious tourists depend firstly on the traditional channel of word of mouth, as recommendations from friends and relatives is their first information channel choice, followed by the internet and thirdly, by hotel listings. However, all information channels do not take advantage of the density of the region and do not cooperate for marketing the area as a whole; the promotion of specific areas and businesses over others does not allow the expansion of networks to take place, as research has shown. The absence of network creation in the region under study illustrates an area that could be further improved, a goal of significant importance for economic development, especially in a period of economic crisis in Greece.