Great Start: Athens in Winter Saw 14 Percent Tourist Jump

The temple of the Parthenon on the Acropolis hill, Saturday, March 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

ATHENS – With Greece expecting a big summer season will provide another record tourist year, the capital city Athens – often a transition city for people on the way to islands – saw a 14 percent jump in visitors in the first quarter of the year during the usually dull winter period.

That was the data presented by Mayor George Kaminis and Aegean Airlines Vice President Eftihios Vasilakis in a joint press conference.

Vasilakis said the city registered an all-time record in arrivals in 2016 with 4,600,000 tourists, versus 4,200,000 tourists in 2015, noting that the number of overnight stays is the same, the Athens News Agency reported.

“Tourism is a key driver of our economy, in Athens and the country. But to work, you need synergies and cooperation,” he said. “Since 2012, tourist arrivals in Athens have increased by two million […] Athens fulfills all the preconditions to become a unique destination year round. It is a safe European capital in times of instability and uncertainty, a city of democracy, open to the avant-garde and dialogue, hospitable and peaceful,” he said.

Kaminis noted the importance of the major contemporary art exhibition document14, which is being held jointly in Kassel, Germany and Athens this year, and has attracted thousands of tourists in its first 10 days of operation. Aegean Airways is providing direct flights between Kassel and Athens for the duration of the exhibition.

The press conference also presented a new synergy between the public and private sector, the Athens Tourism Partnership, which concerns cooperation between the municipality of Athens, Aegean and the Athens International Airport.