After years of financial troubles, the city of Athens is finally buzzing with tourists. Despite some encouraging figures however, the Greek capital has not quite managed to become a destination in itself, in the style of many of its European peers. Most foreign visitors only spend a short amount of time in the city – and mostly during the summer season before they usually continue their vacations on one of the many Aegean islands.
That said, Athens has rare qualities that have for decades remained all but neglected. Now the government is finally moving ahead with plans to revamp a large expanse on the city’s southern Faliro coast which, combined with the inauguration of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, will upgrade Athens into a more attractive and interesting destination.
If we want to promote Athens into the top league of European tourist destinations, we will have to mix careful planning with vision.