Mayor Bakoyannis: “Athens is back and looking forward – with the biggest players in Greek tourism as our allies.”
Athens re-established its leading presence in the global tourism market during Travel Trade Athens 2022. The event is a catalyst for the dynamic and sustainable return of visitors to Athens, with more than 160 representatives of Greek and international companies holding meetings during the event.
More than 70 representatives of foreign companies in the tourism and events industry came to Athens for the two-day event, connecting Athens to key markets in Europe, the UK, the United States, and the Middle East. They had more than 1,500 meetings with representatives from 90 Greek companies with the goal of completing business agreements that will strengthen the economy of Athens. Ten journalists from major international media were hosted alongside the buyers and suppliers and participated in parallel events that included a series of authentic urban experiences, events and seminars for the participants.
A press briefing opened the event with the participation of Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, President of Aegean Eftychios Vasilakis, Director of Communication and Marketing Athens International Airport Ioanna Papadopoulou, and CEO of ADDMA Vangelis Vlachos. Each of the speakers affirmed their commitment to strengthening the promotion and profile of Athens.
Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens, thanked the representatives of Aegean Airlines and the Athens International Airport for their cooperation in the effort to re-establish Athens in the global tourist market: “Athens is back, and it has returned with optimism, positive momentum, and I dare say enthusiasm despite the challenges that we continue to face. To a large extent, this is due to the fact that we have managed all together to turn the crisis into an opportunity. The pandemic has allowed us to re-establish ourselves internationally, not only because of the famous Acropolis, not only for Greek hospitality, not only for authentic food. We are proving that Athens is a city that functions professionally, creating an “umbrella” of protection for all Athenians – a term that includes both our residents and our visitors. This is a success in which institutions like This is Athens have been a catalyst.”
He continued, “In recent years, Athens has emerged as a destination for city breaks, for business trips, for investment and film productions. The improving numbers prove the value of the efforts that we have been making for several years to ensure that Athens is a great destination. Now we are not entitled to take a rest, quite the opposite. In the coming years we must begin to alter the paradigm and change the way of thinking. We must understand our city holistically, not to separate the tourist and the local economy but to treat our destination and our city as one. When we invest in quality of life for the residents of Athens, we also invest in Athens as a destination for visitors.”
Eftichiοs Vassilakis, President of Aegean Airlines: “We are pleased to see that investments in Athens continued during the years of the pandemic, with new large hotels, more boutique hotels, renovated buildings, restaurants, cultural venues, new products and experiences. This year the outlook is positive and we have the opportunity to promote a city that is even more beautiful and richer in experiences than two years ago. This collective effort is supported and strengthened by our investment in the new Business Lounge of Aegean in the extra-Schengen area of the Athens Airport, offering a unique hospitality experience to visitors from England, America, Canada, the Middle East, and to all those who travel from and to destinations outside Europe. This is particularly important because we have nearly lost contact with these passengers during the pandemic. At the same time, Aegean continues to invest in connections between Athens and the world with a network of 116 direct destinations in 42 countries, 20 of which are new since last year. We are continuing with the renewal of our fleet, with 22 additional new A320 and A321 neo that will be added to our fleet in 2022 and 2023 and helping to reduce our environmental footprint. When we all work together, we can have a city that’s exciting to visit, work, and also to live.”
Ioanna Papadopoulou, speaking on behalf of the Athens International Airport: “As we are moving forward in the post-pandemic era after two years of crisis, the close cooperation of all institutions in the “destination-travel-tourism value chain” continues. We are focusing our coordinated efforts on the promotion of Athens as a top sustainable destination. Based on the first positive messages for the summer season, which affirm the resilience of Athens, “Travel Trade Athens 2022” is the ideal platform to re-introduce and establish our destination in the most important international markets, and, at the same time, communicate the city’s new identity in the context of environmental sustainability, smart digital transformation, and innovation.”
Vagelis Vlachos, CEO of the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency: “Despite all the difficulties given to us, the pandemic also gave us an opportunity to design and put into action a comprehensive development plan for the City of Athens. It was a chance to reposition and develop Athens as an attractive, accessible, and sustainable city. To implement this strategy, we focused on two pillars: to emphasize conferences and meetings in order to strengthen our position as a top choice for business, and to promote and empower local businesses with initiatives that promote entrepreneurship and innovation. The 8th Travel Trade Athens covers both of these axes – that’s the invaluable partnership between the This is Athens-Convention and Visitors Bureau and the European Tourism Association (ETOA). Now, we are ready for Athens to meet the world.”
Tim Fairhurst, Secretary General of the European Tourism Association (ETOA): “ETOA is delighted once again to support the ADDMA team delivering TTA, providing 1,500 one-to-one networking appointments to more than 160 delegates. Athens integrates tourism within a cross-sectoral recovery and resilience strategy, working with local stakeholders as well as the international travel trade. Long-haul demand to Europe is returning. As the visitor economy rebuilds, we look forward to developing our partnership, finding common interest from climate action to commercial development and product diversification.”
Since 2013, Travel Trade Athens has hosted more than 600 buyers from 35 countries and has facilitated more than 17,000 B2B meetings. The event is organized every year by the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency through the This is Athens-Convention and Visitors Bureau and in cooperation with the European Tourism Association (ETOA).
The hosted buyers and press enjoyed a complete Hosted Buyer Program including air travel to and from Athens, accommodation in a 5-star hotel, transfers, thematic FAM trips, meals and social events, B2B meetings and networking opportunities.
The curated social and experiential programme was customized to the hosted buyers and press business focus and expertise, highlighting Athens’ main competitive advantages and showcasing the city’s latest trends and developments. Amongst others, the programme included visits to the Acropolis Museum, the Ellinikon Experience Park, the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum, the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre (MAICC), the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMST) and the Zappeion Megaron among others.
For attending suppliers, Travel Trade Athens offers a half day of educational workshops created in collaboration with major international organizations. The workshops were introduced in 2021 to promote the upskilling of the local tourism and meetings industry.
The 9th edition of the Travel Trade Athens will take place in April 2023.
For press contacts:
Anna-Maria Chatzidaki, Marketing Manager, This is Athens-Convention & Visitors Bureau, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tyler Boersen, International Press Officer, Athens Development & Destination Management Agency, email@example.com