Greece’s capital was a well-honoured host on Saturday night at the World Travel Awards (WTA).
Dubbed the ‘Oscars of tourism’, the ceremony was hosted at Zappeio Hall in Athens, and saw the city receive three awards, among them the title of ‘Europe’s Leading City Break Destination’ for 2018.
Meanwhile the Athens Convention Bureau was acknowledged for its efforts towards this achievement through its promotion of the city abroad, named ‘Europe’s Leading City Tourist Board’.
The award was accepted by Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, who in his speech said the city had definitely experienced an “explosion” in popularity. In fact, over five years, between 2013 and 2018, Athens has experienced an increase in visitors by 648 per cent, with a record five million visitors travelling to the city last year alone.
“[This boom has] breathed life into the city’s economy and helped attract major hotel groups and the creation of new hotel units, bringing multiple benefits to the capital’s economy and generating jobs,” Mr Kaminis said.
“This triple distinction is the best way to inaugurate a season that is already looking particularly promising in terms of arrivals in Athens.”
The Acropolis was recognised as ‘Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction’, beating Britain’s Buckingham Palace, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Colosseum in Rome.
Greece as a whole performed well overall at the WTAs. The Peloponnese was named ‘Europe’s Leading Beach Destination’, Lesante Blu Exclusive Beach Resort in Zakynthos was awarded ‘Europe’s Leading New Resort’, Kivotos Mykonos was recognised as ‘Europe’s Leading Boutique Hotel’, and Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Porto Heli as ‘Europe’s Leading Luxury Lifestyle Resort’.
Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas was named ‘Europe’s Leading Luxury Villa Resort’ and Porto Zante Villas & Spa ‘Europe’s Leading Villa Resort’.
The annual WTAs were founded in the United Kingdom by President Graham Cooke in 1993 as an opportunity to recognise and reward excellence across various sectors of tourism.
Mr Cooke thanked those involved in making the event a success in Athens, describing it as an “amazing city”.
“What an evening it has been here in the incredible city of Athens, Greece,” said Mr Cooke.
“We have had the privilege of recognising many of the leading hotels, airlines and hospitality providers from destinations across Europe and my congratulations to each of them.”
To see the full list of winners, click here.