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BusinessTravel Guide

ATHENS

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The European capital of culture


A T H E N S

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hub of European historical marvel, Athens features some of the world’s most amazing antiquity. Dating to between 7,000 and 5,000 BCE, it is a place that is often considered to be the birth of not only classical Greece but equally modern civilisation, home of the great philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Distinct markings from the Ottoman,

Byzantine and Roman civilisations can be found in all corners of the region, bounded by the mountains of Ymettos, Parnitha and Pendeli – landmasses that provide serene views of southeast Greece. Such influences have paid dividends from a cultural perspective, the city showcasing captivating ruins, valuable artefacts, marvellous mythology and renowned monuments. Fast forward to the present day,

Athens is a modern city, featuring luxurious hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions that rival the world’s very best. Moreover, the city is the epicentre of the Greek economy, home to approximately half of the country’s entire population. Having merged these two worlds, the Greek capital provides something for everyone, from the ancient and the new to the conservative and the creative.

ATHENS Intertwining celestial culture with modernised hospitality, it’s easy to see why the Greek capital attracted five million visitors during the course of 2018 Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Ryan Gray

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A T H E N S

The Business End TRADITIONALLY THE ATHENIAN economy was based on trade, leveraging its access to the sea with the development of one of the world’s most active ports. The country exchanged honey, olive oil, silver and often art such as pottery for wood, grain and other fundamental resources. Today, however, Athens has established itself as the financial capital of Greece, accounting for nearly half of the country’s entire GDP. Further, the city is considered a major economic power of Europe more generally, emphasised by the proximity of the Port of Piraeus – an area that captures substantial attention and investment. Alongside the financial sector having somewhat recovered from the national debt-crises, tourism is another substantial contributor to supporting Athens’ livelihood, considered to be

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a top destination for city-breaks and excursions to either the surrounding islands or mainland. “The city is expanding its meeting and accommodation facilities, investing in enriching what visitors can experience in terms of its culture, culinary and nightlife scenes,” explains Alexis Galinos, Managing Director of the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau. “With 300 days of sunshine per year, having an outlet like the Athenian Riviera close by makes all the difference, while new hotel developments and modern landmarks are changing the face of the city.” Attracting well over 30 million visitors last year alone, Greece has remained one of the world’s most visited countries, with Athens having welcomed approximately five million of these travellers.

FACTS & FIGURES

Language: Area: Population (2016): Currency: Time zone: Dialling code: Internet TLD: Climate: Highest recorded temperature:

Greek 2,929 km² 665,000 Euro GMT+2 +30 21 .gr Mediterranean 42.2°C


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Out & About

The turquoise waters of Kavouri Beach in Vouliagmeni, Athens

FROM FAMOUS CULTURAL attractions and natural beauty to modern amenities and a diverse entertainment portfolio, Athens really is a destination like no other. The city is the only capital to have 14 Blue Flag Beaches, an international award that recognises cleanliness, safety and environmental standards, spanning 50 kilometres of coastline that becomes truly idyllic in the Greek sun. Further, favourable weather conditions often allow tourists to explore in comfort, with average temperatures not exceeding 27 degrees Celsius even in the hottest month of July and rarely dropping below 15 degrees Celsius outside of the winter months. From cobbled streets to modern,

sleek, award-winning hotels, it’s a destination that suits a diverse range of travelling demands with ease, providing offerings across the entire tourism spectrum. “Athens is unique in so many ways,” Galinos reveals. “It’s a city where the ancient and modern coexist, where you can walk into a contemporary art gallery and as you’re walking in, catch a glimpse of the Acropolis. “The food and drink scenes are taking off, concerts and festivals keep multiplying as each summer comes around, and the Athens Riviera with its beaches, marinas, and world-class hotels is just a short drive from the centre. “There’s so much to see and do in this city, for every type of traveller.”

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A T H E N S

MEGARON

Outlook Recommends “With equal measures of grunge and grace, Athens is a heady mix of history and edginess” – Lonely Planet

TRAVEL

EXHIBITION VENUES

Aegean Air The largest Greek airline by passengers carried, destinations served and fleet size, Aegean Air has established an esteemed reputation through the provision of premium services in both the short- and medium-haul air travel markets. Serving 151 markets across 43 countries, the airliner is a proven player on the international scene.

Acropolis Rent a Car Beat MUSEUMS

Megaron Athens International Conference Centre Defined by its modern and technologically advanced facilities, Megaron Athens International Conference Centre is one of the finest such venues not only in Greece but the whole of Europe. Spanning 143,000 square metres, with 18 different meeting spaces to select from, the building is built on exceptional aesthetics, unrivalled client service and a stunning environment.

Athens Metropolitan Expo Zappeion Hall Acropolis Museum

HOSPITALITY

National Archaeological Radisson Blu Park Hotel Museum Museum of the Ancient Herodion Hotel Agora Plaka Hotel 6

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egaron is acknowledged as one of the finest conference venues in Europe.

Unusually for a conference venue, located right in the city centre, it offers a striking environment, is flooded with light (in all the right places) and has many open, expansive spaces for networking, exhibition and catering. Exceptional aesthetics, cutting-edge technology and unrivalled client service, top that off. Megaron was conceived and built with great respect for the environment, incorporating green urban planning and it is surrounded by six acres of fragrant gardens. The technology and stage systems built into Megaron’s five auditoria, which range in size from 340 to 2,000 pax, are at the forefront of technology and allows a world-class cultural programme to be woven into the year. In all, Megaron’s offering of 18 rooms, including the auditoria, means that 6,000 delegates are able to be at one conference at the same time. Megaron is particularly popular for world and global association meetings for that reason. Medical, life science, healthcare, financial and IT sectors are frequent users of the centre. Close-by are hotels of all categories, many of which are within walking distance or minutes by metro, as well as top museums and restaurants with excellent choices, using the many local fresh ingredients. A direct metro line connects the venue to the award winning Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, making Xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx it particularly accessible for international delegates travelling from and to global destinations. The Megaron is a member of major global associations for the conference industry including ICCA – the International Congress and Convention Association and AIPC – the International Association of Convention Centres. Megaron’s Executive Consultant for Conferences, Clare Amsel, was recently elected to the Board of Directors of ICCA as co-chair of the venues sector and previously served for four years as a member of the Board of Directors of AIPC.


Megaron an exceptional venue with stunning aesthetics in the centre of a unique city, offering 18 meeting spaces, expansive foyers and exhibition space, able to host 6000 delegates.

Megaron Athens International Conference Centre (MAICC) | Vass. Sofias & Kokkali, Athens 11521, Greece T: +30 210 72 82 000 — F: + 30 210 72 90 174 |e-mail: maiccinfo@megaron.gr — www.maicc.gr


A T H E N S

This is Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau LAUNCHED IN 2007, This is Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau has been key to bolstering these growth statistics, committed to accelerating the city’s standing as a leading international meetings destination. A division of the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency that is renowned as the Greek capital’s official tourism board, the organisation’s overriding is mission is to make Athens the destination of choice for conventions, conferences, meetings and other industry events. This in mind, Galinos provides insight on what to expect from the city in the coming months. EME Outlook (EMEO): Can you firstly talk me through the origins of the ACVB, how it came about, and its initial vision? Alexis Galinos (AG): When we launched over a decade ago with limited capacity, it soon became apparent we could and should do much more. In 2009, we introduced our membership programme and started adding activities to serve the travel trade and MICE areas, servicing conference bidding, site inspections, institutional support, conferences and exhibitions, and of course organising the annual signature travel trade Athens event, amongst other things. We now actively participate in bidding processes; having joined international networks and through the pursuit of international awards and promotion opportunities. The selection of Athens to host large-scale and prestigious conferences has been showcasing the great potential of the Greek capital as a MICE destination, consolidating the local industry’s longterm experience and expertise in such events.

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EMEO: Since inception, how has the organisation developed and progressed in terms of its key objectives and the messages it tries to get across? AG: Our vision remains to highlight Athens as a top MICE, city-break and leisure destination, by investing in actions and forging alliances that support business tourism professionals, both in the local and international market. We want to become a top European capital when it comes to hosting highly professional international conferences and corporate meetings. We are now going about it in a much more efficient way, showcasing our strengths in specific key and emerging industry sectors by growing a network

of local partners that will receive support according to their business needs, reacting accordingly. EMEO: How would you say Athens has developed in recent years as a business travel hub and what are the key reasons behind its growing appeal? AG: Athens is indeed rising as a top MICE destination, now ranked 26th in the world according to the International Congress and Convention Association’s 2017 report. There many reasons for this. Connectivity is key, and the award-winning Athens International Airport will be home to 134 different international connections this coming summer.


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EMEO: Are there any specific attractions, landmarks or places to eat and drink that you would recommend?  AG: First-time visitors should of course see the hotspots; the Parthenon, the Acropolis Museum, walk the streets of Plaka, and check out the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre. When it’s time to eat and drink, I suggest choosing a neighbourhood outside the typical tourist guide and finding a local eatery for an authentic Athenian experience. At night, head to one of the city’s award-winning cocktail bars or find a rooftop where you can enjoy a drink with a view of the Acropolis.  EMEO: What trends are transforming the tourism industry in Athens at present? How are you responding to these trends? AG: Athens is enjoying a surge of creativity, in the culture and culinary scenes. New boutique hotels are opening across the centre and lesser known neighbourhoods like Pangrati and Kypseli are emerging as new hubs. This is Athens, the official City of Athens Guide, offers a free walk around the city hosted by a local volunteer. You can book this online and truly get to experience what the real Athens is all about. We are also launching a new portal with rich and up to date content that will capture new vibes and will continue to invest in campaigns to draw attention to the authentic Athenian experience. EMEO: How do you see Athens developing as a business travel hub over the next year to two years? AG: Athens has made an impressive comeback and is establishing itself as one of the new European destinations for business travel. The city is heavily investing to be able to better service certain sectors such as the culture, sports, IT, medical and pharmaceutical and maritime and yachting industries.

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“Athens has made an impressive comeback and is establishing itself as one of the new European destinations for business travel”

Travel Trade Athens dinner

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre

EME we offer. Athens’ success is owed to its rich offerings, a unique combination of knowhow, state-of-the-art infrastructure, world class heritage and authentic contemporary experiences. We will continue to host Athens Roadshows and familiarisation trips to support networking opportunities, and we will be back again after the summer, with our seventh consecutive Travel Trade Athens event that welcomes leisure and MICE buyers from all over the world. EMEO: Are there any plans or projects in the pipeline that you wish to highlight? AG: The City of Athens has a number of exciting projects underway. Through the newly founded This is Athens & Partners public-private partnership, it has reached out to key stakeholders and corporations alike to develop and implement projects that will boost economic growth and job creation. These include initiatives such as reopening closed shops and urban regeneration projects, enriching the city’s event agenda. EMEO: Are you optimistic about the future of the tourism industry in Athens? AG: Athens has great potential for growth, and we are all working towards supporting the visitor economy in a way that will lead to meaningful development for visitors and residents alike. There is a great deal of interest in the city, with important stakeholders investing both in the hospitality and capacity aspects, so, overall, we have every reason to look forward to the future.

Culture exhibition

Developing these areas means we will be able to host a wider range of relevant association events. Regarding corporate events and incentives, we are always looking to ameliorate the quality of the services

Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau Tel: +302 103 312002 info@athenscvb.gr www.athenscvb.gr

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Transport Links

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Getting around the city itself, Athens’ metro network is in fact an accurate extension of the city. Constituting 61 stops, providing easy navigation for all tourists, many of the stations exhibit either artwork or archaeological treasures, something unique of the capital. “The metro is definitely the quickest and most reliable way to get around Athens,” Galinos adds. “Taxis are also very affordable by international standards and it’s very easy to hail one on the street, or you could use one of PHOTO: PASCAL KOBEH

HAVING BEEN OPERATIONAL for almost exactly 18 years after opening in March 2001, Athens International Airport has remained one of the world’s leading airports in the way of overall passenger satisfaction for the last 14 years. A crossroads between Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the airport itself also holds the title of Europe’s fastest growing airport. Situated 33 kilometres east of the city, it is easily accessible via the Attiki Odos highway.

the taxi apps like BEAT.  “You can also hop on the tram if you are heading towards the beach, or for something completely different head to Plateia Theatrou where you can hire a Cocomat bike and explore downtown Athens.” A multitude of different travel options on offer, it’s easy to bypass the city’s somewhat hilly terrain when needed. Central Athens, however, remains ideal for strolling with its narrow, quaint streets and charming pedestrian promenade.


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Landmark Attractions Acropolis

“The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world” – UNESCO

Mount Lycabettus

“Looming 886 feet (270 metres) over the city, Mount Lycabettus is Athens’ highest peak and with the crowds flocking to the nearby Acropolis, it’s the best bet for those seeking out a viewpoint away from the crowds” – Viator

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Panathenaic stadium

“Fire has been a symbol of the Olympic Games since ancient times. Every four years, before the athletes gather for the Games, the emblematic torch makes a long journey to the new host city from the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens – the site of the first modern Olympic Games where the tradition began more than a hundred years ago” – National Geographic


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RADISSON BLU Radisson Blu Park Athens offers a unique solution for accommodation and meeting needs for the city of Athens as it consists of 160 rooms (Standard, Superior, Business, Suites) 1,000 sqm of meeting spaces available to host more than 400 people. The hotel has a fantastic rooftop restaurant with 360° panoramic view to the city and the Acropolis. Radisson Blu Park is close to the city center accessible by public transportation (both Metro and bus). Close to the hotel and within 3 minutes’ walk is the National Archeological Museum as well as other city attractions and shopping areas. • 160 rooms

• 12 meeting Rooms, capacity up to 900 persons • Lounge bar • Pool garden • Business room • Fitness room • Parking facilities Unique Selling Points: • 360 panoramic view to Acropolis and Athens from St Astra rooftop restaurant • Excellent meeting facilities • Fantastic food and variable menu options. • MICE business expertise

ATHENS

Radisson Blu Park Hotel, 10 Alexandras Avenue, Athens, Greece | E info.athens@radissonblu.com | T +30 210 8894 500

Your pathway to communication melı̣ GROUP your Trusted Partner for Greece melı̣ GROUP is one of the leading Travel & Tourism Enterprises in Greece since 1985. It offers a full spectrum of Destination Management and Handling services, through our local branches which are strategically based in the top Greek destinations.

melı̣ GROUP is separated into 4 major business units: Tour Operating, Destination Management, Wholesale Operations Mice Organisation, Special Interest Tours, Corporate Travel

Personalised Luxury, SPA packages, VIP services

Real-Estate Consulting, Brokerage & Investments

www.meli-tours.com

• Conference Interpreting • Translation • Conference Organization • Audiovisual Equipment

www.podium.gr

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BusinessTravel Guide joe.palliser@outlookpublishing.com

+44 (0)1603 959 676

ryan.gray@outlookpublishing.com

+44 (0)1603 959 672

jordan.levey@outlookpublishing.com

+44 (0)1603 959 668

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Profile for Outlook Publishing

ATHENS BUSINESS TRAVEL GUIDE  

Athens Business Travel Guide - Europe & Middle East Outlook Issue 29

ATHENS BUSINESS TRAVEL GUIDE  

Athens Business Travel Guide - Europe & Middle East Outlook Issue 29