“Athens has managed to be included among the top 20 conference destinations of the world but, from this point on, the Greek capital needs substantial assistance and significant support from the central government,” Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis told GTP last month.
The Athens Convention Bureau (ACB) recently sent letters to Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos and Transport Minister Dimitris Reppas in regards to its efforts for the promotion of Athens as a MICE destination. The letters were signed by the Mayor of Athens.
In the letter to Mr. Geroulanos, the mayor requested the ministry’s support on ACB’s efforts and promotional activities for the development of conference tourism in Athens.
Specifically, ACB requested a 200.000 euro contribution from the Greek National Tourism Organization for the 2010-2011 period.
When asked by GTP if now was not the right time to ask for financial support from the GNTO considering the organization is still paying old debts to foreign media outlets, Mayor Kaklamanis reminded that conference tourism is the most lucrative form of tourism for a destination due to its special qualities that distinguish it from other forms of tourism.
He also reminded that for the past two years Athens had received negative publicity due to unprecedented situations and tragic events, which has left a dramatic impact on the tourism market.
“Now is exactly the right moment to support the ACB, as it is planning actions and activities necessary for the dynamic presence of Athens to the world,” he said.
In the letter to Transport Minister Dimitris Reppas, Mayor Kaklamanis requested a high discount on public transport tickets as an incentive for delegates and conference speakers.
By the time we went to print neither ministry had responded officially to ACB’s letters but Mayor Kaklamanis said he is optimistic.
In regards to the promotion of Athens as a city break destination by the ministry, the mayor said he believed that Athens should have a larger role in the ministry’s promotional activities.