The last years have been particularly challenging for Athens but have also brought forth a number of great opportunities.
Recently, at the annual Leading Culture Destinations Awards ceremony in London, I was honored to receive the award for Best Emerging Cultural City for 2017, on behalf of all the citizens of this great city. Dubbed the “Museum Oscars”, the awards celebrate places and spaces at the forefront of international cultural development. This year they have chosen to shine their light on this special city, proof that our determination to introduce Athens as a contemporary cultural destination is not going unnoticed.
As we are headed for a record five million visitors, a 100% increase since we started this journey of reintroducing Athens to the world, our firm belief in building meaningful alliances that highlight the leading role of our city and promote our strategic synergies, is reaping the fruits.
The City of Athens, AEGEAN and Athens International Airport have joined forces for the first time, forming the Athens Tourism Partnership, with a common goal: the promotion of Athens as a contemporary cultural center and an attractive, year-round tourism destination. Our aim is to build a contemporary identity with widespread appeal.
We recognize the growing relationship between tourism and culture, and the way in which they come together as major drivers of destination attractiveness and competitiveness.
In October, we hosted the 5th Travel Trade Athens, which has grown into a signature industry event over these last five years and we will also launch an Athens Roadshow to further promote Athens as a city break and convention industry destination.
I call upon you to also bookmark Athens for next year as we prepare for Athens World Book Capital 2018.
We know culture and the arts, history and heritage are significant reasons visitors come to Athens. We also recognize this unique combination is what makes Athens attractive and we will continue to build meaningful alliances that highlight Athens’s unique advantages.