WTACH will set the parameters and guide the research, which is being carried out in cooperation with the University of Piraeus' Department of Tourism Studies.
The objective is to raise awareness of the tourism carrying capacity of greater Athens, especially in peak season, with the view to easing pressure on the city’s urban infrastructure and better spreading the benefits of tourism, both geographically and throughout the year.
Pre-Covid, multiple cruise ships often arrived on the same day in peak season. Localised spikes in tourism numbers, not just from cruise passengers, have the potential to compromise the ability of Athens to provide sustainable, safe, and accessible tourism experiences, throughout the city, which is known for world-famous attractions such as the Acropolis, National Archeology Museum, the Roman Agora and the Plaka and Anafiotika neighbourhoods.
The study will address these challenges and make recommendations.
The research will canvas the opinions of local residents groups, local tourism-related associations, relevant business leaders, and civil servants.
“There’s never been a study like this before in Athens,” said Carolyn Childs, founder, MyTravelResearch.com, WTACH Advisory Panel member, and the lead research consultant for the project.
“The research will help the people of Athens secure the destination management the community deserves,” she said. “That process will be inclusive. The aim is to reach a more holistic view of what is right for Athens.”
Depending on the outcomes, the findings may be useful as a tool to lobby political leaders to secure improved tourism management policies.
Vangelis Vlachos, CEO, ADDMA, said that the study will provide vital empirical data showing the impact of the visitor economy on the Greek capital. The research would also give the city an “important new destination management tool”.
“We believe that quality of life is our most valuable cultural asset and that it can help grow tourism in Athens, but only if we treat this heritage carefully so that it is accessible to everyone,” said Vlachos.