Over 160 representatives from the Greek and international tourism industry met in Athens for the 9th Travel Trade Athens, the signature annual B2B event of the City of Athens organised in collaboration with the European Tourism Association (ETOA). Operated by the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (ADDMA), the event ran April 24–25 with the participation of hosted buyers, local suppliers, and international media.
Since the start of Travel Trade Athens in 2013, visitor arrivals to Athens have increased by more than 160 per cent and the Athens meetings and events industry has been recognised as a rising leader in the European market that is creating local economic opportunities. This year, the event hosted more than 1,600 B2B meetings between Greek and international tourism professionals during the two-day event, including more than 60 hosted buyers and over 100 local suppliers. The hosted buyers represented the city’s target markets in Europe, the United Kingdom, the USA and Canada.
At the Press Conference launching Travel Trade Athens 2023 and marking the start of the spring season, Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis was joined by Yiannis Paraschis, Chief Executive Officer of the Athens International Airport (AIA); Eftichios Vassilakis, President of AEGEAN; and Tim Fairhurst, Secretary General of ETOA.
Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens, underlined the importance of the event: “The 9th Travel Trade Athens is here. It is an exceptional event that is opening more windows and doors for Athens as a destination. Certainly, we have many reasons to be happy about the development of Athens as a tourist destination, as in recent years we have been breaking one record after another. To these, one more is added: it’s the first time in history that Athens is welcoming so many investments.”
The Mayor of Athens thanked all the partners who are contributing to the development of the tourist market of Athens. “I would like to extend a massive thank you to Mr Tim Fairhurst, the Secretary General of the European Tourism Organization. His presence honours us and is a vote of trust and confidence in the Athens market. I would also like to thank Mr Vassilakis and Mr Parashis for the excellent collaboration we have developed through This is Athens. This public-private partnership is a great opportunity for all of us because it enables us to join forces and achieve a much better result together.”
Tim Fairhurst said on behalf of ETOA: “A precondition for tourism success is the positive collaboration between private and public sectors. Athens understands this and our collective progress towards the best tourism for residents and tourists alike depends on it. We are delighted to be working with the city again, bringing quality buyers interested in developing new products.”
In addition to a full schedule of B2B meetings, the 9th Travel Trade Athens includes a number of tours and experiences. It also hosts the Τhis is Athens Agora, a half-day cross-sectoral gathering for Greek tourism professionals. Through a series of educational workshops, panel discussions and speeches from world-renowned industry professionals, the attending Greek professionals have the opportunity to gain valuable insights and develop expertise on the tourism industry’s global trends.
The speakers included Tim Fairhurst, Secretary General of ETOA; Maria Founta, Head of Marketing South East Europe at Google; Anna Vasila, Head of Sustainability and Industry Affairs at the Athens International Airport; Christos Koutsoukos, Executive Creative Director of Cream and Rascal; Elke Dens, Global Director of The Travel Foundation; Ioannis Pallas, Association Manager of the ESAE – European Society of Association Executives; Dr Christina Gitsaki, Congress Coordinator of the International Association of Applied Linguistics; and Stylianos Filopoulos, Founder of Association by Design.
The organisers say they would like to convey special thanks to the Travel Trade Athens 2023 Partners: AEGEAN and Athens International Airport, as well as to the event’s Supporters: St. George Lycabettus Lifestyle Hotel, Alternative Athens, Association of Licensed Tourist Guides, with another great thank you to the Ministry of Culture for their ongoing support and cooperation.
The 9th Travel Trade Athens builds upon a strong year for the Athenian tourism industry. Through the efforts of the City of Athens and ADDMA’s strategic planning, as well as of This is Athens and Τhis is Athens-Convention & Visitors Bureau, Athens won its first global distinction at the World Travel Awards 2022 as the World’s Leading Cultural City Destination. The award followed the city’s double win at the European World Travel Awards where Athens was named “Europe’s Leading Cultural City Destination 2022” and This is Athens-Convention & Visitors Bureau received the “Europe’s Leading City Tourist Board” title for 2022.
Athens has also seen an upwards trend in the global meetings industry. The city ranked 6th in Europe and 8th in the world for international association meetings according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Annual Report 2021, having hosted over 130 international association meetings and events.
Since its launch in 2013, Travel Trade Athens has welcomed more than 700 buyers from 35 countries. With the completion of the 9th Travel Trade Athens, the event has supported more than 19,500 B2B meetings between Greek and international tourism professionals. The event is organised every year by the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency of the City of Athens (ADDMA) through the This is Athens-Convention and Visitors Bureau which operates under the umbrella of ADDMA, in collaboration with the European Tourism Association (ETOA).