As we reach the end of 2016, it is safe to say that the tourism industry stood as a very strong pillar of the Greek economy, accounting for more than 20 percent of the country’s economic output, including direct and indirect impact.
In addition, for Athens International Airport, 2016 was a year of a special symbolism and operational success. It was, to begin with, a milestone year; we celebrated the 20th anniversary since the establishment of the Airport Company, a pioneer, internationally acknowledged, public-private partnership scheme with a proven track record of success. And we completed 15 years of operations since the airport opening in March 2001. Moreover, following a record year 2015, Athens continued, within 2016, its re-emergence as a prime destination.
Passenger traffic and foreign residents’ arrivals continue to experience double-digit increases, indicating the firm positioning of Athens among the top tourist destinations, with a number of important developments boosting, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the airport’s traffic evolution.
At the same time, we strongly believe that the introduction of an experienced and capable regional airports’ new private operator will lead to a boost of the overall aviation business in Greece, with positive impact on local economies and a significant upgrade of passenger experience.
For AIA, the enhancement of Athens’ connectivity and the development of a regional hub potential is a strategic goal, placed at the center of our joint efforts with our airline- partners, in order to further maximize and enhance development. And, by all means, the call remains towards strong collaboration and development of a common understanding and teamwork between all parts of the tourism & travel value chain, i.e. airlines, airports, regulators, as well as travel and tourism organizations and institutions.
Forging strong bonds between aviation and tourism stakeholders, is our main belief and a fact of paramount importance in the fight against economic crisis and towards a course of development and growth