Although formed just better than a year ago, the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau, or Athens CVB, is just now getting down to the nitty gritty with regards to enticing conferences to the capital. (The Athens Olympics Organizing Committee kept it busy handling a mounting backlog of accommodation queries for the August Games.)
Calli Travlos, Athens CVB director and former London-based public relations specialist for Greece, says that in the very short time we have been here we’ve seen a remarkable potential for profits to the benefit of each and every serious business concern, “but to make this work, we need the support of the entire Greek tourism sector.”
The Bureau is the new marketing organization for Athens and the Attica region as a business destination and the driving force in promoting and securing corporate and incentive travel and exhibition programs from abroad. It is the first point of contact for conference and incentive planners considering Athens as a conference destination.
“The office is responsible for identifying venues, expertise, and suppliers in a one-stop-shop, commission free,” says Ms. Travlos. “Our bureau provides planners with comprehensive information on planning itineraries, as well as information on where to source party ideas and to locate unique venues for special events.”
Just back from a Chicago meetings and incentive show, Ms. Travlos says her office has managed to bring a number of conference inspections to the capital and many more are to come. She says she will be at every major show and fair to ensure this happens. However, in order for the bureau to do its work it needs funds. For the moment it exists mostly through membership fees from the city’s travel and tourism associations and major players in the marketplace. She repeats, however, “to make this work, we need the support of everyone in the sector.”