Athens a prime destination for Indian business & leisure travellers

Interview: Tina Toribaba, Public Relations Manager, This is Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau
/ Mumbai
This is Athens
With the number of Indian visitors to Greece crossing half a million mark, Athens, the capital and the gateway city in the country is banking on a double-digit growth in 2024, says Tina Toribaba, Public Relations Manager of This is Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau in an interview with India Outbound. Toribaba adds that the convention bureau will enhance its activities in India, notably through more marketing and familiarisation trips.
Rate this post
 Tina Toribaba

Tina Toribaba

How has the response been to the recent visit to India and what were the key outcomes of the discussions held with the travel trade here?

We are truly grateful for the enthusiastic reception that Athens has received from both the leisure and business travel agents. This is the second official visit to India by our team, and we are excited to continue building close ties between the Indian travel industry and Athens. For example, we are already collaborating on marketing strategy, we are working to establish new direct flights, and we have enjoyed having the opportunity to learn about India and the tailored experiences desirable to Indian travellers.

How has Athens recovered in terms of Indian tourism vis a vis 2019?

During the pandemic, we invested in strong partnerships and infrastructure. We took advantage of the time to establish new strategic priorities that would make Athens a safe, sustainable and accessible destination for both residents and visitors. Our work paid off in 2023 when we surpassed the record levels of tourism reached in 2019, and we are continuing with a strategy focused on smart, inclusive and sustainable growth.

Additionally, we have seen a steady increase in the number of Indians visiting Greece during the last decade, reaching half a million by 2019. We are quite optimistic about the continued growth of this market because everywhere we look there are opportunities and connections.

What kind of activities have you undertaken since the revival of tourism in the post-pandemic era?

We are focused on promoting Athens for luxury tourism, MICE, weddings, and film productions, and we are showcasing Athens as a prime destination for business and leisure travellers. We are strengthening partnerships with travel agencies and tour operators and diversifying our tourism offerings. For example, we are developing new experiences on the Athens Riviera, our 70km coastline that is only 30 minutes from the Acropolis where there are several new 5- and 6-star properties.

This is Athens

Focus on promoting Athens for luxury tourism, MICE, weddings, and film productions (Photo credit: This is Athens/Thomas Gravanis)

We are building our reputation as a destination for authentic luxury, and our vision is closely connected to initiatives that will ensure tourism remains ecologically and socially sustainable. We are also enriching our tourism product portfolio through city wide events such as the Athens City Festival, which takes place in May and hosts more than 200 events around the city. We invite you to check it out.

MICE has been one of the biggest growth stories in India & many destinations, including in Europe, are benefitting from Indian traffic. How has Athens fared in this segment?

Athens ranked 8th in the world for conference tourism in 2022 according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). There is no doubt that Athens is one of the leading MICE destinations in the world. There are many reasons for that success, apart from our rich cultural heritage that has a universal appeal, the mild year-round weather conditions, and our large number of world-class facilities.

When it comes to organising events, it is the high level of professionalism and expertise that has given us a high rating. Athens is home to some of the most recognisable monuments in the world that can serve as the backdrop for corporate events and conferences, and they are ready to address the needs of the Indian market. We are confident of the significant potential for MICE-related bookings because we can offer unique combinations and once in a lifetime experiences.

What kind of activities are you planning to engage with the Indian market?

We are planning a range of activities to engage with the Indian market, including participation in travel trade fairs and exhibitions in India, organising familiarisation trips for Indian travel agents and media, collaborating with Indian influencers to showcase the vibe of Athens, and establishing strategic partnerships with airlines and travel agencies to make Athens a preferred destination for Indian travellers.

We are also highlighting the Athens Film Office as a resource for film directors and producers because the transformation of Athens into a film-friendly city has played a significant role in raising our visibility.

What are your targets for the Indian market in 2024 and how do they compare with 2019?

Our targets for the Indian market in 2024 start with the momentum we have gained in recent years. We have already reached half a million visitors, so why not target a 10 pc increase? In recent months, during our meetings with stakeholders in the Indian market, we have felt that a special relationship is forming. The Greek-Indian relationship is today characterised by a shared commitment and deepening ties in trade, exports, and diplomacy. Our team at This is Athens is committed to sustainably grow tourism by showcasing our rich history, vibrant culture, and diverse offerings in the Indian market. We look forward to the next opportunity to share our story.

Leave a Reply

Get Magazine