The Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, will visit Melbourne for the Antipodes Festival

Felicity Pantelidis Nicholas Reece Kostas Bakogiannis Bill Papastergiadis

Mr Bakoyannis made the commitment during a meeting in Athens with Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece and President of the Greek Community of Melbourne & Victoria Bill Paperstegiadis.

At a meeting at Town Hall in Athens, Cr Reece and Cr Bakoyannis discussed the strong links between Melbourne and Athens as two of the biggest Greek cities in the world.  

“For decades now, Melbourne has been called the third largest “Greek city” in the world, after Athens and Thessaloniki”, Cr Reece said.

“Bill and I took great delight in describing Melbourne’s vibrant Greek community with its schools, churches, popular meeting areas and the many traditions and festivals still going strong. 

“Mayor Bakoyannis loved hearing about the Antipodes Festival on Lonsdale Street, which is now the biggest Greek Festival in the world.  He said he will visit Australia for the first time and attend the Antipodes Festival if he is successful in the upcoming elections.”    

Deputy Mayor Reece and Mayor Bakoyannis discussed the recent extreme weather events in Athens, which has suffered heatwaves, wildfires, and floods – something that is sadly all too familiar to Melburnians as well.

“Cities have an important role in tackling climate change and helping manage the impact of increased heat waves and extreme weather events on people living in an urban environment.  It was fascinating to learn about what Athens is doing with some helpful insights to help guide our own efforts in Melbourne”, Cr Reece said.

The two city leaders also discussed the economic recovery strategies following Covid restrictions.  

Mayor Bakoyannis was very interested in how the City of Melbourne promotes retail, hospitality, entertainment, events and festivals to attract people back into the city.  

“The diversified nature of Melbourne’s central city economy means we have held up much better than many other central business districts which were overly dependent on office workers,” Cr Reece said.

Mayor Bakoyannis said Athens has bounced back strongly, with tourism and investment rising off the back of pent-up demand following years of travel restrictions.

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