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I’m an Aθenian too

30 September 2014 / 18:09:46  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

2014 is the first profitable year for tourism in Athens since the crisis began. In the period from January to August, the number of hotel customers increased by 22% compared to last year. According to the data of the Association of Hoteliers in Athens, the Attica region and the Argo-Saronic Gulf, this means 390,000 new overnight stays.

"Every euro spent at the hotel is equal to 3 euro spent in the city," said chairman of the Association Alexandros Vassilikos, which according to him, brought a 142.8 million euro profit to the economy of Athens during this period as follows: 28.1 million euro to hotels, 83.9% to shops and restaurants, 2.5 million euro to mediation services, 7.9 million euro in airport fees, 20.2% in VAT and 0.3 million euro in municipal taxes.

"The hotels in Athens achieved results that are comparable to 2008, the last year before the crisis. Today Athens is at the average European level of hotel attendance. Unfortunately, the prices are still much lower than in other popular European destinations. Moreover, I do not mean profit here but sustainability of hotel companies," added Vassilikos.

The data were presented at a press conference organized by the Association, Marketing Greece company, Athens airport and Aegean Airlines.

According to Deputy Director of Aegean Airlines Eftihios Vassilakis, tourism in Athens had recovered later compared to other places because in the years of the height of the economic crisis it was at the epicentre of the negative reports and comments in the global media.

Vassilakis said that the good results of the first eight months of 2014 had been achieved thanks to the joint efforts of the private and public sectors to improve the image of the Greek capital. Aegean was involved in them by presenting to its passengers a video entitled "Enter Greece". Its content is being changed every three months in order to represent different places in Greece.

He confirmed the good news for tourism in Athens with numbers showing that a total of 7.8 million passengers travelled with the airline from January to August, 3 million of them being foreign tourists.

In the same period Athens airport reported an 18.9% increase in passenger traffic, i.e. 1.5 million people. According to its director Yiannis Paraschis, in the first half of the year, the number of foreign tourists whose final destination was Athens increased by 29%.

Paraschis said that advertising Athens as a tourist destination has been one of the priorities of Athens airport since the start of the crisis. Publishing a free magazine and a map of the city, and developing a website that contains information about Athens and presents it through photos are some of the undertaken initiatives.

"The ‘Perhaψ you are an Aθenian too!’ campaign was completed with great success in 18 airports worldwide. It presented to 170 million people different faces of Athens in an attractive and very original way," said Paraschis.

He appreciated the new campaign that is being carried out by the airport and the Marketing Greece company. It is a continuation of the previous one under the title "I'm an Aθenian too" and invites visitors to Athens to become Athenians in interactive ways.

In conclusion, the participants in the press conference stressed that Athens will be able to become a real tourist destination only when the private and public sectors join forces to achieve this goal. In this regard, Alexandros Vassilikos said that Athens will become a city-break destination only when "shops and museums work normally on Sundays and the cultural events calendar is published and communicated in due time. We cannot ask global tourism to comply with the 7 Sundays when shops in Greece will be open or with the delay in the announcement of the schedules of those vessels that travel to the islands."

Tags: EconomyCompaniesTourismAthensHotelsAirportAirlinesAdvertising campaign
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