Athens after the pandemic became again a leading, sustainable and safe tourist destination in the new era and reaps the benefits of its good reputation in the management of Covid-19.

This is emphasized by the CEO of the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency, a public company owned by the Municipality of Athens, Mr Vagelis Vlachos, to the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency. In fact, he points out that the tourists visiting Greece in 2020 could reach the number of tourists that visited Greece in 2019.

At a time when the city was not receiving significant tourist flows due to the pandemic, the Agency was taking important actions in order to boost the tourism traffic. At this point, Mr Vlachos notes that cities have now become a common place for residents, workers, digital nomads and visitors. “We no longer follow the traditional separation of residents and visitors. We believe that, by improving the quality of life of the residents, we create, at the same time, an even more attractive destination”.

In support of the above, May 31st is the last day of the “This is Athens City Festival”, the first open, spring festival of the Municipality of Athens, which so far, Athenians and visitors have embraced with great enthusiasm, surpassing even the most optimistic estimates, emphasizes the M. Vlachos. “Almost all the events of the festival are sold-out or full of people, in many different parts of the city. And that was our bet, to promote corners of our city that were either unknown to the general public or had different uses,” he says.

At the same time, in Athens was also organized the 8th Travel Trade Athens event, bringing together more than 170 representatives of Greek and international companies from the wider tourism and events industry. In fact, the planned B2B meetings exceeded 1,400 and the main goal was to conclude as many possible agreements for collaborations that will strengthen the city’s economy in the future, noted in Athenian-Macedonian News Agency the CEO of the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency.

“Hollywood” is coming to Athens

The Athens Film Office (AFO) deserves a special mention as, since March 2020, it has contributed to the fact that 70 international and domestic productions have chosen Athens for their shooting, gradually turning the Greek capital into a “Film Friendly City”.

Moreover, Mr Vlachos refers to two important productions that will be soon released in cinemas: the “Rise”, a Disney+ Original Film Based on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Life, and the “Crimes of the Future”, an internationally co-produced body horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg.

“Athens has now been established as a cinematic destination with great benefits for the promotion of the city and the local economy. And this summer our city hosts important international productions”, underlines Mr Vlachos, among other things. Moreover, June 10, is the last day of the shooting of the “Greek Salad”, the big French production of Amazon Prime, which was shot entirely in Athens, while the shooting of the English musical “Greatest Days” has just finished. At the same time, in June starts also the big production of Nia Vardalos, the third film in the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” franchise, produced by Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, adds Mr Vlachos.

Actions to promote the city are in full swing

In the last two years, the Agency has participated in 26 international exhibitions and plans to be present in 12 more by the end of the year. According to Mr Vlachos, the Agency has participated and organized more than 50 international seminars and conferences, while it has also hosted more than 60 representatives – conference organizers, journalists and representatives of tourism.

Regarding the conference tourism that has been significantly affected by the pandemic, Mr Vlachos states that the methodical work and the good cooperation of the municipality with the institutional and productive bodies, but also with the private sector companies, show that the upward trend of the city was interrupted only temporarily, which is confirmed by the recent ranking of Athens for 2022 as the top destination for conferences and meetings in Europe and as the fifth in the world in a relevant research by American Express Meetings & Events.

In addition, just a few days ago, Athens was named the top European conference destination by the Business Destinations Travel Awards, according to Mr Vlachos, who was also elected a member of the Board of Directors of the Destination Cities Alliance. As he explains, this is an important network of cities for Destination Management Organizations and Conference Offices throughout Europe. “This position strengthens the role of the city in shaping new policies but also gives us the opportunity to work closely with other European cities to exchange know-how and good practices,” he added, among other things.

“Americans return to Athens”

Τhe Greek Tourism Minister, Mr Vassilis Kikilias, pointed out the sharp rise in tourism from America. For his part, Mr Vlachos points out that, before the pandemic, the USA was the strongest tourist market for the Athens airport. In 2019, a record year for Greek tourism, 694,362 arrivals from the USA were recorded. In the same year, Britain, Germany and France followed suit.

Last year, despite restrictions on the spread of Covid-19, since the opening of the US market in the quarter, arrivals picked up so fast that the Americans came second in the ranking of the arrivals, (close to 300,000 arrivals), just after the Germans, who approached 340,000, informs Mr Vlachos. At the same time, according to the data of the Bank of Greece, revenues from tourists coming from the USA, in 2021, jumped to 607 million euros. (Americans have doubled their average per capita expenditure per trip to about $1,500, excluding airline tickets and accommodation), he notes.

It is also very important that, this year, many air carriers from the USA and Canada chose Athens as a destination. According to Mr Vlachos, the first direct DELTA flight from the USA arrived at the Athens International Airport earlier than any other year (on March 8).

DELTA offers more flights than ever between Athens and the United States. Among them a new one to Boston, 11 to New York and one daily to Atlanta. Similarly, American Airlines added more travel options between Greece and the US with flights from Chicago and Philadelphia, increasing the company’s operations in Athens by 47% compared to 2021. Finally, Air Canada resumed direct flights this year from our city to Montreal and Toronto earlier than ever. provides a virtual visit to Athens

Athens is a modern capital, open and welcoming, with hundreds of activities and points of interest for permanent residents and visitors alike. It would be impossible for someone to see it all in 4-5 days, or to really live a little like a local. That does not mean it is not worth the effort. Finally, he suggests that tourists shouls start with a visit to to find what suits them.

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