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Bottom-up placemaking in a time of crisis, by the people, for the people: Case study of Arillas, Corfu

Alexandros Christou (Green Corfu, Corfu, Greece)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




The paper aims to present the case study of Arillas, a small beach resort on Corfu, Greece, where the locals have taken their fate into their own hands in the middle of a crisis. It presents the historical background of the development of tourism in Arillas, the actions that have been undertaken by the local stakeholders to actively participate in the management of the village and to attract alternative, responsible and sustainable forms of tourism to Arillas, and the main players contributing to this process, as well as a look at three important themes contributing to the change.


The paper is based on an empirical study spanning many years by a local inhabitant who has an affinity with place management and marketing. It also includes some conclusions of a quantitative, questionnaire-based customer satisfaction survey carried out in 2011 and 2012 among 600 visitors. The analysis of the quantitative data was carried out by the Head of the Corfu Department of the National Tourism Organisation of Greece.


The paper demonstrates how a shared vision, combined with empowerment and communication among local stakeholders on improving the place, as well as many joint actions carried out on a volunteer basis have, first of all, dramatically increased the level of engagement of the locals in the present and future of Arillas, and second they have attracted and are attracting more individual travellers who are coming for the hospitality, local food and products, music and cultural festivals, walking, yoga and meditation rather than the outdated mass tourism model.

Research limitations/implications

It would be very interesting to perform another quantitative, questionnaire-based survey now to compare the results to those of 2012.


This paper demonstrates that a bottom-up, horizontal approach to placemaking and place marketing can yield substantial results even (or especially) in an adverse economical and social environment.



Christou, A. (2017), "Bottom-up placemaking in a time of crisis, by the people, for the people: Case study of Arillas, Corfu", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 173-182.



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