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Athens 2021 Tourism Strategy to Focus on Sustainability and Infrastructure Development

Athens, Greece. Photo source: This is Athens / Copyright Thomas Gravanis

The City of Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (EATA) is developing a new tourism strategy for 2021 aiming to effectively promote the Greek capital and drive recovery in the post-Covid-19 era.

Focusing on the city’s infrastructure and sustainability features, “the new strategy will look to further promote Athens’ strongest advantage: its brand which is recognized by people in all over the world,” EATA CEO Vangelis Vlachos said during an online event that was held by IFITT Greece earlier this week.

Depending heavily on tourism, the Greek capital – and the whole country – has been severely affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. According to Vlachos, while tourism’s recovery in the post-Covid-19 era will not be easy, Greece’s successful handling of the pandemic could effectively contribute to it.

“Greece has managed to successfully handle the pandemic compared to other countries, while the Athens Municipality has received recognition by the World Health Organization for immediately responding to the needs of vulnerable groups,” Vlachos said.

EATA’s chief suggests for Athens to build on its positive reputation and be promoted as a safe destination based on its comparative advantages that include:

– the exceptional climate, considered ideal for outdoor events and the operation of shops in open spaces in accordance with safety protocols against Covid-19, and

– its privileged location – near coastal areas, the Saronic islands and unique sites – elements that make it a year-round destination.

Sustainable development and infrastructure

The National Gardens in Athens. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

The National Gardens in Athens. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

The Municipality of Athens is looking into ways to leverage the strong tourism momentum of previous years and improve living conditions in the capital by investing in infrastructure and sustainable development.

“Infrastructure is considered key for the successful management of a destination. And I am referring not only to Athens’ tourism economy but also to the infrastructure that supports the city’s smooth operation,” Vlachos said.

“Furthermore, sustainable urban development was and continues to be imperative for the city’s growth,” he added.

EATA recently became a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council – GSTC, and plans to proceed with its certification as a sustainable destination.

In addition, the agency is running a new campaign for 2021, while it plans to sign a memorandum of cooperation with the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) to further promote Athens to international markets.

Vangelis Vlachos participated in an online panel discussion titled “The next day for tourism destinations in the digital era”, held by the Greek chapter of the International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism (IFITT) on January 15.

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About the Author
Eleftheria has worked for several financial newspapers, magazines and websites during the past 19 years. Between 2004 and 2014 she worked as a radio producer, reporter and presenter for the Greek and English language program of “Athina 9.84 FM”. She also has hands-on experience in the MICE industry.

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