Cinema, the only optimistic solution for Skiathos and Sporades Islands
It was early July 2008 when I was at the reception of a popular Skiathos hotel and a tourist came to me asking for information about Skiathos. After talking to her about beautiful beaches and nightlife spots, she asked me "where are the Mamma Mia filming locations?". It was just a few days after the famous musical had it debut and people were excited about it. At the same time, a few kilometers away, in Skiathos Town, someone - somewhere, had a similar question.
People of every age were chatting in cafes and tavernas about the film and its protagonists. In Skiathos old port, Mamma Mia Trips started in daily basis. Local bars where playing songs frome the movie soundtrack and the open air cinema of Skiathos had Mamma Mia movie on every night for the entire summer season. And all this was just the beginning of the Mamma Mia extasy... At neighboring Skopelos Island, things weren't any different.
Today, 5 years later, Travel Agencies are still promoting Skiathos and Skopelos as "Mamma Mia Islands", titles that came to stay for the years to come
But how much popular is this Mamma Mia movie after all?
In order to do a more accurate research, I entered Google Trends and search for keyword statics for "Mamma Mia", "Skiathos" and "Skopelos". Then I filtered the result from March 2009 to January 2013 and then I saw on my screen the chart below.
The blue line demonstrates (analog) how often the phrase "Mamma Mia" has been searched in Google search engine. The red line represents searchword "Skiathos" and the yellow line has to do with Skopelos related searches. These stats are in world wide range.
As we see, in summer months, the phrase "Mamma Mia" was used in Google about 2-3 times more than the word "Skiathos" and 7-8 times more than the word "Skopelos". Most interesting is the fact that at winter months, searches related to the film Mamma Mia are up to 20 times more than Skiathos and 50 times more from Skopelos! Worldwide! Now, that's some popularity to count on...
Because watching is equal to learning...
Suppose you try to show with words the beauty of Lalaria beach to a friend of yours that has never been in Skiathos. You can chat with him (or her) for hours, using words full of enthusiasm, however it's not quite certain you make him interested about it. You can also try to write thousands of words about Lalaria, yet still nobody can guarantee that whoever will read your text will fully understand what you're talking about.
However, you are more likely to convince your imaginary friend by showing a photo of Lalaria beach. And perhaps, there even more chances if you use a short video maybe. That's right. A HD 3 minute video with clear shots and sweet music is enough to make somone see things your way - faster than you thing. And that's because watching is a way to learn and thus companies now make videos to promote things and places.
Similar promotion tactics had numerous places in Greece and the world. For example Kefalonia Island got some nice popularity with movie "Captain Corelli's Mandolin." about 12 years ago. Messinia is about to get promoted with the upcoming movie "Before Midnight".
Landscapes of famous Greek islands like Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Rhodes are fruquently settings for film shots in movies or TV series. In the same way the Spanish country promote Ibiza and Mallorca almost in yearly basis! Actually, there are countless examples since each country advertise it "strong cards" in a similar way.
Cinema, is by far the best, more accurate and last longing way of advertising that is known today. Under some circumstances, it may also contribute to fight unemployment rates.
Sadly, the film Mamma Mia succeeded to promote Skiathos and Skopelos, better than the Greek National Tourism Organisation did the last 30 years. And this is the answer of DestinationSkiathos.com as an optimistic way of promotion.
If we can't create our own movies to advertise our beautiful islands, we should help those who can - to find sponsors and support their projects.
In recent years a lot of money has been wasted in bad promotion efforts. Extra brochures will not bring more tourists. Who remembers today the Motorcyclist Meeting of 2011 or the Gay Festival of 2012?
So, Cinama is the only serious proposal for quality promotion of Skiathos, Sporades Islands and every corner of Greece...