21 Jan A new beginning where people always come first
George Patoulis, Governor of the Region of Attica, guides us through the vision for supporting the region and utilizing its unique potential
In your inaugural speech, you spoke of a new beginning for Attica and your message was “citizens come first.” What are your top priorities for your period in office and how do you plan to put citizens first?
2020 will lay the foundations of a new era in Attica and in Greece as a whole. The Region of Attica, the largest among the 13 regions of Greece, can and must play a leading role at all levels, when it comes to fostering development, supporting employment, improving the daily life of citizens, protecting the environment, and enhancing social cohesion and solidarity.
The Greece of tomorrow requires a different type of administration, especially at regional level: a regional government that would play a leading role in our country’s development strategy, with a view to promoting and making the most of local potential, attracting investment and adopting outward looking policies.
What types of new programs and initiatives are you spearheading to accomplish the goal of making Greece the most business-friendly economy in the EU?
At the moment, the Region of Attica is part of a big project in the coastal part of Attica. We have funded the first stage with €120 million. Now we are entering the second stage and investing an additional €200 million. This project and the connection with the Hellinikon development project are two of the emblematic initiatives for the Region of Attica, together with the National Gallery, as well as the Faliro Bay redevelopment.
Among key priorities and objectives are the following: addressing the seri- ous issue of waste management, safeguarding citizens from natural disasters, restoring Attica’s development through 19 flagship projects and interventions, creating over 100,000 jobs, boosting citizens’ sense of security, and investing in programs for tourism, culture, sports and health prevention. The central objective is to increase the rate of absorption of funds through the National Strategic Reference Framework and to utilize financial instruments.
“The aim is to make the Region of Attica the ‘Health Region’ by creating a framework for effective prevention and response to health issues for its residents.”
George Patoulis, Governor of the Region of Attica
The region’s priorities include, among other things, the implementation of a specific program for recycling and proper management of municipal waste as well as flood protection projects. We are focusing on developing logistics infrastructure and services in order to produce new products in Attica and create thousands of jobs. In addition, we aim to complete the Attica and Islands Coastal Front Project as well as the upgrade of the ports of Piraeus, Lavrion and Rafina. We need to showcase the coastal front of Attica by implementing the Faliro Bay regeneration project as well as by creating and maintaining a metropolitan park.
To continue even further, we plan an extensive reforestation and forest pro- tection program with the planting and maintenance of at least a million trees across Attica, with the aim of re-greening the mountain ranges and urban areas of the Attica Basin. Last but not least, we want to better utilize the facilities that hosted the Olympic Games.
What is the potential for making Attica a top destination for medical tourism, especially considering the many hot springs for wellness and spa tourism?
The main axes on tourism for the Region of Attica in the next four years will be to build a global brand in medical tourism together with other forms of tourism, so as to create new job openings and, therefore, economic prosperity for the region. The aim is to make Attica the “Health Region” by creating a framework for effective prevention and response to health issues for its residents. Attica has certified facilities of an exceptional quality, the largest facilities in the country, which are able to provide excellent services and develop health tourism.
The Region of Attica has all it takes to become a short-break destination due to its climate, its geographical position, its morphology, its infrastructure for tourism, its developed transport networks, sites of archaeological interest and contemporary culture.
Through the implementation of a strategic Tourist Projection Action Plan for the period 2016-2020, the aim is to highlight Attica’s tourism diversity in an integrated way, through a range of attractive, competitive and mature tourism products, each corresponding to a mature tourism market.