Athens walked away with three major distinctions from this year’s World Travel Awards, an annual international event hailed as the “Oscars of tourism.”
The ceremony, which was held on Saturday at the Greek capital’s Zappeio Hall, saw Athens named Europe’s Leading City Break Destination for 2018, beating wildly popular destinations like Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris and Rome.
The Acropolis, meanwhile, was named Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction, taking the gold from sites such as Buckingham Palace, the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum.
Last but not least, Athens’s municipal tourism services center also reaped the award for Europe’s Best Tourism Board for its efforts to promote the Greek capital as a city break destination.
That award was received by Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, who spoke of an “explosion” in the city’s popularity and noted a rise in visitor numbers of 648 percent between 2013 and 2018, with a record 5 million visitors recorded last year.
This boom, he said “breathed life into the city’s economy and helped attract major hotel groups and the creation of new hotel units, bringing multiple benefits to the capital’s economy and generating jobs.”
“This triple distinction is the best way to inaugurate a season that is already looking particularly promising in terms of arrivals in Athens,” Kaminis told the ANA-MPA news agency.
The World Travel Awards were founded in 1993 in the UK and are designed to reward excellence in all sectors of tourism.