Tourism stakeholders and urban development experts anticipate that the Grand Walk of Athens – the new pedestrian walkway and bike route currently under development in the center of the Greek capital – will further highlight the city’s tourism attractions and breath life into neighborhoods and “hidden gems” waiting to be discovered.
Scheduled to be completed by 2022, the Grand Walk project involves extending pedestrian areas and unifying the city’s archaeological sites and landmarks along a 6.8km walkway.
The project’s strong connection with the capital’s tourism product was the main issue discussed on Thursday during a meeting at Athens City Hall, between Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, Marketing Greece CEO Ioanna Dretta and the city’s tourism stakeholders.
“The Grand Walk of Athens is a major investment project for the city and its residents,” Mayor Bakoyannis said.
He added that the route is designed with the aim to allow tourist flows to more parts of the city and contribute to the increase of overnight stays for visitors when the COVID-19 crisis subsides.
According to the “Strategic plan for the tourism development of the Grand Walk of Athens” which was compiled by Marketing Greece and presented by Ioanna Dretta during the event, the 6.8km walkway will contribute to the enhancement of Athens’ tourism identity in multiple ways.
First, the Grand Walk will convert parts of downtown Athens from crossing points to destinations for visitors. It will increase green spaces, reduce noise and air pollution, encourage alternative modes of transportation, and make the city friendlier to visitors with special needs.
Furthermore, the project is expected to promote the city’s diverse cultural features by connecting many different areas, highlighting its ancient and recent history and contemporary side; and revealing lesser-known museums to visitors.
It is also expected to further promote Athens’ contemporary culture through the city’s cultural venues, theaters and exhibitions.
The Grand Walk will also offer visitors easier access to Athens’ neighborhoods and the opportunity to experience the way locals live; explore its gastronomy scene and Greek product markets; enjoy shopping; and experience the city’s nightlife.
Marketing Greece’s draft plan is currently available for public consultation and will soon be finalized.
The meeting was also attended by Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) President Yiannis Retsos, Hellenic Association of Travel & Tourist Agencies (HATTA) President Nikolaos Kelaiditis as well as representatives from the Association of Certified Guides, the General Panhellenic Federation of Tourism Enterprises (GEPOET) and the Athens – Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association among other organizations.