The Greek capital’s reputation as a safe and ideal destination to host major international conferences and events seems to have taken a turn for the better, according to the Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB).
The bureau recently returned from participating for the first time in America’s worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events IMEX America 2013, held 15-17 October in Las Vegas.
Athens was the only participating Greek destination at the exhibition and ACVB showcased the city’s business tourism product, unique selling points and competitive advantages.
IMEX America attracted 2,700 hosted buyers and 2694 exhibitors.
Athens’ reputation on the up
Conference tourism in Greece had been hit over the last few years as potential customers had been deterred by riot footage and reports of social unrest that dominated the international media for many months. This led to cancellations of events and in some cases conference organizers avoided planning conventions in Athens.
However, according to ACVB, after two years of much skepticism and reservations, international conference and event organizers are once again considering Athens as an ideal city to host international congresses, corporate meetings and events and as a highly valued destination for incentive travel.
Issues concerning “security” and “unrest” in the Greek capital were hardly focused on at IMEX America, as the international conference and event organizers mainly inquired about direct air links to Athens, the necessary procedures for obtaining a visa, prices, incentives and accessibility to Greek sites of great historical interest.
The bureau mentioned that an interest was expressed for Athens to host scientific conferences and corporate meetings of international associations and organizations for the 2015-2018 period.
During IMEX America 2013, ACVB and its co exhibitors attended some 110 prescheduled meetings with hosted buyers; representatives of conference organizers, corporate events and incentive trips; and officials of international organizations, large corporations and offices that specialize in the MICE area from the markets of North and South America, Europe and Asia.
Co-exhibitors in ACVB’s booth included Chandris Hotels, Ledra Marriott Athens, Event Makers-DMC, Divani Hotels, Kippling Events, Lagonissi Grand Resort and OM Destination Management, whose representatives provided a complete overview of all the facilities and services the city offers to meeting planners.
According to data, Greece saw a 25 percent rise in arrivals of American tourists during the January-July period.