People from all around the world declare ‘I’m an Aθenian too’

Athens ready to host winners of Marketing Greece and Athens International Airport competition

Unexpected surprises, delicious food, the importance of friends and family, and a sense of freedom. These are some of the phrases that recent visitors to Athens used in stories that they submitted in a competition held as part of the “I’m an Aθenian too” campaign.

The Greek capital shone brightly in the eyes of web-surfing travellers around the world who spread the word on Athens via the campaign, a joint collaboration of Marketing Greece and the Athens International Airport (AIA). “I’m an Aθenian too” follows on from AIA’s successful “Perhaψ you’re an Aθenian too!” campaign, which continues to run in airports across the globe.

Hundreds of online users uploaded their most memorable images of the city, declared #ImAnAthenian and entered the competition offering three individuals the opportunity to win a five-day holiday in Athens.

The contest was held as part of the campaign which aims to promote the diversity of Athens as a travel destination to an international audience.

Competition entrants shared photos, each stamped with a fun catch-phrase graphic and hashtagged #imanathenian, on their social media profiles and those of Marketing Greece’s digital platform www.DiscoverGreece.com

The individuals whose photos proved to be among the 100 top trending on social media were each asked to send through an

inspirational

story. The author had to briefly describe why they believe they are Athenians and which experiences they have had in the city made them feel like an Athenian.

The three stories deemed the most inspiring, creative and likely to encourage travellers to visit the city were selected by a judging committee.

Marketing Greece and the AIA named the three lucky winners of the competition – who took the title of “Athenian Trendsetters” – as Natasha Semmence and Stamatia Kostarigka, both of the UK, and Miha Plank, of Slovenia.

The campaign reached 13 million online users, the relevant video has been viewed almost 190,000 times, the website www.imanathenian.com received more than 80,000 visitors and the smartphone application designed for the competition was downloaded by 9,590 users.

The winners, who can bring along a companion, will be flown to Athens with Aegean Airlines and hosted for five days and four nights at a four- or five-star hotel in central Athens.

The five members of the committee that judged the stories were AIA communications and marketing director Ioanna Papadopoulou, Bordersofadventure.com travel blogger Becki Enright, Athinorama.gr senior editor Despina Zefkili, Athens-based travel and landscape photographer Carlo Raciti and Marketing Greece’s head of PR and editorial, Thrasy Petropoulos.

Stamatia Kostarigka wrote a touching poem where she touched on the glory of Athens’ past, and the bright minds of its future. As for Miha Plank, among his favourite experiences was the simple pleasure of drinking coffee in Kolonaki Square, watching the passers-by and eating Greek pastries, or heading down the Attica coast to Cape Sounio to take in the unique view.

And Natasha Semmence summed up what a trip to the Greek capital means today: “I wanted to move away from exploring Athens’ well documented past and start looking forward to Athens’ future, and what I found was totally unexpected.”

Marketing Greece would like to thank Aegean Airlines for arranging the winners’ return flights to Athens as well as the Athens-Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association and its members – the Airotel Stratos Vassilikos, Airotel Alexandros Hotel and the Hotel Titania – for providing the winners’ accommodation.

Read the winning Athenian Trendsetters’ stories in full and see their trending photos below:

Miha Plank, Slovenia

Drink coffee at Kolonaki Square, observe the passers-by and enjoy Greek pastries like kataifi, samali and ravani. Hike to Cape Sounion, visit the amazing temple dedicated to Poseidon and enjoy breathtaking views over the city. Not only this, the city of Athens offered me so much more. Athens has some beautiful beaches and the most delicious food I have ever tried. Fascinating history. European city charm.

The harmony between the ancient and the contemporary mix perfectly together. And that’s only one of the reasons I left Athens totally speechless. On every corner you can enjoy the diversity, friendliness and history of the city. Not only the history of the Athens but the history of humanity. After all, the beginning of us all is in Athens. So how one would not feel like an Athenian?

Stamatia Kostarigka, UK

For its incomparable history.

For Democracy brought to life

And Acropolis’ unbearable beauty.

For the glory of its past

And the bright minds of its future.

For all these different cultures and people

Found on every turn.

For the places still to discover

And the sound yet unrevealed.

For the freedom that brings in me.

For these, I’m an Athenian.

Natasha Semmence, UK 

I’m not sure what I expected to find on my recent trip to Athens. What with Greece’s well documented financial woes, six years of recession and ongoing unpopular austerity measures, I was surprised to find that, despite still being on its knees financially, Athens was fighting its way back up.

Athens is often thought of as a historical destination. On this trip I wanted to move away from exploring Athens’ well documented past and start looking forward to Athens’ future, and what I found was totally unexpected.

To help me on my quest, I met Vanessa, a true Athenian, keen to show off her city and part of the Athens Greeter programme, who gave me a frank insight into the Athens of today. Sure, Athens has had it tough but people seem to be thankful for what they’ve got rather than what they’ve lost and are still fiercely proud of their city.

As Vanessa guided me round the streets of Athens, from the bustling squares to the vibrant food markets, it was a real assault on the senses for me.

As I walked around the streets of Monastiraki in the early evening, it was buzzing with activity, people hanging out enjoying the weather, meeting friends, having a coffee, old men on street corners putting the world to rights, in the heart of the city.

It’s evident that family and friends are everything to Athenians, mixed with great local food and excellent Greek wine. From rolling my first overstuffed vine leaf at one of Athens’ oldest tavernas in preparation for a Greek feast, to sampling the wines produced in the hills overlooking the city.

All of this wrapped up in a city covered in changing street art on every corner alongside ancient history.

Athens is, indeed, my kind of city for #ImAnAthenian

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