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Athens

Promoting and Accelerating Tourism in Athens

Bloomberg Associates worked with the City of Athens on a tourism initiative positioning Athens as a modern, must-see destination.

From the bleak situation in 2012, when the city, via an unfavorable climate of economic recession and with a negative reputation internationally, fell to a historic low point in terms of visitor arrivals, we reached the point today where Athens ranks among the top destinations in Europe.

Georgios Kaminis, Former Mayor of Athens

 

Relevant Expertise

Enhance City Communications and Resident Engagement

  • Awareness and Reputation Campaigns
  • Unified City Branding

Spur Business and Industry Growth

  • Public-Private Economic Development Models
  • Tourism and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) Attraction

Challenge

As the 2008 economic crisis in Greece plunged the country into financial turmoil and uncertainty, Athens’ tourism industry faced stagnating visitation, lost revenues, and a declining global reputation. Recognizing tourism as one of the most important industries for Greece, the mayor of Athens asked for Bloomberg Associates’ help to promote the city as a travel destination. With limited public resources, the city could not create or scale-up marketing programs to stabilize the industry and compete for critical tourism revenue. Furthermore, private and public stakeholders were working in silos, diluting the Athens brand and creating disparate connection points with audiences.

Athens Tourism Partnership

Approach

Bloomberg Associates worked with the City of Athens to secure funding and develop a marketing strategy specifically for the Greek capital. The teams brought together the Athens International Airport, Aegean Airlines, and The Hellenic Initiative to form the Athens Tourism Partnership — a group whose goal is to promote Athens as a stand-alone tourism destination and increase visitation to the city. The partners worked together to create a campaign challenging long-held misperceptions of Athens as a day-trip city whose primary draw for tourists is the classic antiquities. This campaign, called “One City, Never Ending Stories,” highlighted Athens as a modern city with endless — and unexpected — things to do and see. It also marked the City of Athens’ first-ever multi-market year-round tourism campaign, and encouraged visitors to extend their stay in the city instead of simply passing through on their way to another destination. Building on the momentum of the “Never Ending Stories” launch, Bloomberg Associates helped the City of Athens enter into an agreement with MasterCard to launch a series of campaigns across Europe promoting Athens as a must-visit weekend destination.

Impact

The tourism initiative was a resounding success, aligning Athens’ most important tourism stakeholders under a unified brand and consumer engagement strategy and securing €600,000 in private-sector contributions for the marketing campaign. Most importantly, the efforts yielded record-breaking visitation, including a 600% increase in city-break travelers from 2012 to 2017.

Athens & Partners

Metrics

600% increase in city-break visitors

4 out of 10 visitors are city-breakers

2M+ views of tourism video

34M+ reach on social media

50% increase in visitation the year after implementation