Athens is rapidly growing as a tourism destination in itself rather than simply a transit point for foreign tourists heading to the islands, according to figures revealed on Wednesday by Aegean Air and Athens International Airport at the ITB international travel fair in Berlin.
AIA CEO Yiannis Paraschis said city-break visitors to Athens soared from 220,000 in 2013 to 1.4 million last year, having almost doubled from 2016 to 2017.
“Athens is emerging as a very competitive international destination, and throughout the year too,” said Eftychis Vassilakis, the vice president of Aegean, which accounts for 48.9 percent of AIA traffic.
In 2016, the aforementioned two companies and the City of Athens launched the Athens Tourism Partnership (ATP), an initiative aimed at promoting the Greek capital as a travel destination. The promotional campaign is coordinated by Marketing Greece and includes the funding of television spots internationally.
At a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday, Vassilakis, Paraschis and Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis also revealed that they are in advanced talks with other private companies that want to join the venture, including a major hotel group.