Three questions for Evangelos Vlachos, CEO, Athens Development and Destination Management Agency
1. Do outdoor sports play an important role for the tourism sector in Athens? What are the main objectives of the sport tourism strategy?
Sports have always been an important part of our local way of life and part of our international reputation. Athenians spend a large part of their daily lives outdoors, especially during the spring and fall when the weather is perfect for sports and family meals outside. The outdoors is a crucial part of our quality of life. The City of Athens has recently begun several ambitious projects to maintain and protect parks and the outdoors as part of our urban life, because this doesn’t need to be a contradiction, and we would like visitors to know more about this part of our cultural heritage so that they can enjoy it too. For instance, we want people to know that jogging in Athens under the Acropolis is a totally unique experience and something that should be on their bucket lists.
2. Why have you decided to focus on active sport tourism initiatives? Are more visitors asking for information about where to go for exercise?
People are not only coming to Athens to see major attractions like the Acropolis, they are also bringing their at-home routines. They are staying longer and traveling more slowly and thoughtfully. Many travelers look for ways to adapt their daily lives to Athens so that they can learn something from the city and explore life from a different angle. Our official guide, This is Athens, is designed to help visitors accomplish all of these goals. We want visitors to have a trip that is meaningful and feels good, so we keep adding more content about active sports. It’s a great place to learn about all the trails, waves, and slopes around the city.
3. The link between the City of Athens and Olympism is very strong . How does your city exploit this unique asset in its sport tourism strategy?
The legacy of the Olympics is very important to us. It is part of our local history, and it has left its imprint on the fabric of the city because we have hosted the Games at least twice in modern history. Athens also has a history of excellence in sports at the highest levels of competition, as well as a desire to be globally competitive whether it is a match at the Olympics or recruiting new talent and investment to the city. The Olympics is a source of pride and a key part of our story.
To learn more about Athens’ development strategy