Substantial effort has been devoted in the last decade to enhancing the theoretical insights of the application of conceptual models to tourism, but a paucity of studies have considered the international hotel sector, e.g. Mace (1995), Litteljohn (1997) and Johnson and Vanetti (2005). The performance of international hotels has long been a topic of interest to academics, who adopt a plethora of approaches, such as: finance, e.g. Phillips and Sipahioglu (2004), economics, e.g. Chen and Dimou (2005) and international business, e.g. Quer et al. (2007).
The academic literature over the past three decades reveals an emphasis on tourism planning and economic dimensions on Greece (Galani-Moutafi, 2004). Despite the growing popularity of tourism management studies, the extant literature, on Greek and international tourism, mainly contains contributions in the sociological and economics fields (Galani-Moutafi, 2004). According to Altinay (2006) and Lee (2009) the investigation of hospitality industry's internationalisation process is at “embryonic” stage. The current literature covers a variety of subjects, with no common starting point to the investigation of the Greek case. The only common aspect is the willingness of Greeks to provide not only high-quality tourism services but also to further expand the sector in Greece (Haralambopoulos and Pizam, 1996). The paucity of studies on the Greek tourism industry which adopts an international business and strategy perspective is surprising low, despite the fact that Greece is a popular destination and has attracted a substantial amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) (Filippaios, 2006). One of the key aims of this paper is to fill this gap in the literature. Moreover, by using the Greek case as an example, we make a contribution to the current literature by providing a coherent framework for further research in the international tourism industry.
As revealed by the above discussion, two are the key shortcomings of the literature until now. The first refers to the rather fragmented approach that most studies adopt when analysing the tourism industry (Litteljohn et al., 2007). Most of the studies are primarily adopting a sociological perspective whilst the vast majority of studies that come with an international business background usually refer to specific case studies in the hotel sector and thus the generalisation of their result is rather ambiguous. The second gap is country specific and refers to Greece. Although Greece has grown immensely as a tourist destination and a vast majority of international hotel chains have already established their presence, the phenomenon has not attracted the researchers' interest primarily due to data consistency and availability. The case of Greece is interesting for the international literature as it combines as tourism destination a variety of characteristics that not many other countries have. It is a whole year destination with an interesting geographical dimension, i.e. a large amount of islands and coastline.
The paper explores performance issues using the eclectic paradigm ([Dunning, 2001] and [Dunning, 1993]) configuration of tourism multinationals operating in Greece. Earlier studies have used this framework to identify the main aspects of internationalisation ...