The Greek Tunneling Society (GTS) is applying for the organization of the 49th ITA-AITES General Assembly and the 2023 World Tunnel Congress in Athens, Greece, from the May 12-18, 2023.
Athens, a vibrant modern European capital situated by the Aegean Sea, is an ideal location for international conferences, according to Ioannis Fikiris, Chair of the Organizing Committee bid for WTC 2023 and president of the Greek Tunneling Society. “The city of myths, monuments, gods and ancient glory could offer unique experiences for the distinguished delegates of the ITA family,” he wrote. “Contributions from all parties of the supply chain of the underground industry i.e. consultants, contractors, software producers, machine / equipment manufacturers, investors as well as operators and clients are welcome to attend since they will be able to exchange knowledge, promote their expertise / knowhow and define future needs.”
The GTS has been the national representative of Greece in ITA-AITES since its creation 25 years ago. The Greek Tunneling Society has been continuously participating in the ITA-AITES activities (General Assemblies, Working Groups etc), whereas the Greek Young Members Group has been actively involved on the initiatives for the networking of young tunneling professionals and students as well as on bridging the gap between generations of tunnelers.
Over the several years, Greece has experienced an explosive recommencement of tunnel construction activities just after country’s recovery from economic crisis. Some 65 km of tunnels were recently completed along the four motorway concession projects and approximately 20 km long tunnels including 24 Metro Stations in total are near completion, both for the new Athens Metro Line 3 and for the Thessaloniki Metro. Moreover, numerous underground projects are planned to commence shortly within the complex geological environment of the country.
The organization of WTC in Athens will greatly promote the interests of the ITA in the Balkan region where, despite the length of the coastline (Greece alone is classified as the 11th country worldwide in terms of length and 2nd country worldwide in terms of coastal length vs country’s land area ratio), the mountainous environment of the countries as well as the rapid urbanization necessitates the construction of longer, deeper, larger, safer, smart, sustainable and green underground projects.
Greece has been for many millennia the cross road for civilizations. This has left a rich inheritance of ancient monuments and artifacts of unparalleled beauty. Having a magnificent natural environment and surrounded by the “deep blue” Mediterranean Sea, it provides perfect conditions for recreation. Mid May is an ideal season to visit Greece. While the city of Athens is not that crowded by tourists, the climate is warm enough for enjoying outdoors and the beaches.
The proposed venue of the Congress — the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre — offers a stunning environment with exceptional aesthetics, but also cutting edge technology. Moreover, it is situated in the city center, next to the “Megaron” Metro Station, which enables easy access from all over the city.
Athens provides abundant modern hotel accommodation and boasting an excellent Metro system. It presents great opportunities for sightseeing, excursions and technical visits. Numerous hotels are within walking distance from the convention center, located in central Athens, as well as from other places of interest.
The proposal has the full support of the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, the Minister of Tourism, the Mayor of Athens, the Rector of the National Technical University of Athens as well as of other Technical Universities around Greece (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Democritus University of Thrace, University of Thessaly, University of Crete), leading firms involved in the construction industry and operation of underground infrastructures and many others.
“As Mayor of Athens, I pledge my full support for Athens to host the ITA – AITES World Tunnel Congress. Athens is famous for telling stories about humanity. They are often found deep below the ground, in almost every building foundation and tunnel. Our experts work passionately and deliberately every day to create innovative methods for infrastructure development that respect our culture heritage while continuing to build a modern and beautiful city. Our resolve to face these challenges has been paying off. Athens has become a leading global destination for international meetings,” wrote Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens.