“If we continue to show an image of stability and calmness, Athens may have a better tourism season and enter the path of recovery in 2014,” the president of the Athens-Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association, Alexandros Vassilikos, commented after the curtain fell for this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London, UK.
For the fourth year in a row, the Greek capital’s hotel association attended London’s trade fair as an exhibitor in cooperation with the Athens Development & Destination Management Agency and Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB). Also, Athens’ presence was reinforced at WTM this year with the first-time participation of the Region of Attica.
Athens’ reputation improving
According to the association and ACVB, the negative climate towards Athens from foreign markets (due to strikes, demonstrations and street riots of the past) is gradually reversing and the Greek capital’s tourism is showing signs of recovery.
International tourism professionals who visited the stand of Athens showed interest to the Greek capital’s potential as a destination ideal for city breaks, culture and gastronomy.
Also a positive fact was that journalists focused more on the characteristics of destination Athens and the city’s offered services and less on the state of the country’s economy.
Visitors to the stand were pleased to learn that as a destination, Athens can easily combine the urban environment with the “sun & sea” product (the beach area is only a half hour away from the city center) and the islands of the Saronic Gulf.
This fact was not known to many and it is now included among the main promotional activities to target markets.
UK travel trends are changing
According to ACVB, in 2013 the UK market showed a shift in new trends and changes were recorded in consumer preferences and bookings.
New research released recently by UK’s leading travel association ABTA revealed that city breaks have increased in popularity now putting them on a par with beach holidays: 41 percent of the public have taken a city break and 41 percent a beach holiday in the 12 months to August 2013, either in the UK or overseas.
“ABTA’s research can be considered as an encouraging sign that tourism in Athens will go well next year,” ACVB said.