The percentage of arrivals in Athens rose by 14% in the first 3-month period, according to data presented in a joint press conference by the city’s Mayor George Kaminis and the vice-President of Aegean Airlines, Eftychios Vasilakis. Athens achieved an all-time record number of arrivals in 2016 with 4,6 million travellers compared to 4.2 million in 2015. The press conference was held in the frameworks of a partnership between the public and private sectors called “Athens Tourism Partnership” with the involvement of Aegean Airlines, the municipality of Athens and the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” via the support of Hellenic Initiative. The collaboration aims to effectively promote the capital of Greece domestically and abroad as a “city break” destination for visitors by showing the various attractions and comparative advantages it has to offer. “Tourism is a basic lever of the economy of Athens and Greece”, Mr. Kaminis said. adding that the industry needed partnerships to operate properly. The Mayor stressed that the number of visitors to Athens had increased by 2 million since 2012, adding that in economic terms every 40 new tourists translated into one new job position. He underlined that Athens had a dominant position in conference tourism with the city gaining 20 spots in the relevant list in 2014 and 3 more in 2015 in the international listing. 57% of conferences that were held in Greece took place in Athens in 2015, with each participant estimated to have contributed more than 2,000 euros to the economy. According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the local economy had benefited to the tune of 51 million euros from international and scientific conventions in 2015. Projections for 2016 data were also very positive, as Mr. Kaminis said highlighting the significance of the cultural and sporting events organised by the council to in the rise of visitors to Athens. The selection of Athens as the Global Book Capital for 2018 by UNESCO was another noteworthy and positive development, the Mayor stressed, while he made reference to the promotion campaign “This is Athens”, an initiative to push the city as a a unique brand name.
Joint partnerships between city council and private sectors to promote Athens