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The foundations for the creation of a holistic local development plan for Ancient Olympia were laid on the afternoon of Friday, July 17, 2020, by the Region of Western Greece, the Municipality of Ancient Olympia and the DIAZOMA Association with the presentation of the proposal for the creation of a modern Archaeological Park.
Mayor of Ancient Olympia, Mr. Georgios Georgiopoulos, outlined this promising project at a press conference, alongside the Regional Governor of Western Greece, Mr. Nektarios Farmakis, and DIAZOMA President Mr. Stavros Benos. According to Mr. Georgiopoulos, the Archaeological Park is a holistic project that promotes an area focusing on its monuments and their unification with the surrounding environment and any aspects of interest that act as its “satellites”: from infrastructure, accessibility, networks, and connection with local businesses to the particular characteristics of a local community that can attract the interest of visitors, prolonging their stay.
From November 2019 until today, The Municipality of Ancient Olympia, the Region of Western Greece and DIAZOMA, have been working intensively on this ambitious project. It establishes Ancient Olympia as the strongest pole of tourism development in the Region. In contrast with the past, the roadmap for the implementation of the Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) has now been agreed upon. The framework of the plan for the Archaeological Park was presented to the Municipal Council of Ancient Olympia, where it was unanimously approved. It will then be presented at the next meeting of the Regional Council.
Mr. Georgiopoulos thanked the Regional Governor for his support. At the same time, he praised Mr. Benos, stressing his accumulated experience in elaborating integrated plans combining cultural resources, which are then converted into a specialized tourist product.
Subsequently, Mr. Farmakis said that the Region had chosen to focus on Ancient Olympia, which he described as an “untapped treasure”:
“We would like Ancient Olympia to become the symbol of hope and extroversion. So it is time to move on from plans and visions to implementation and action. The Region of Western Greece will be signing a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Municipality of Ancient Olympia and the Non-Profit Organization DIAZOMA, to jointly formulate a new Integrated Territorial Investment strategy aimed at the sustainable and balanced development of Ancient Olympia. What this means in practice is that we are preparing ahead, we are planning for the future, so that our planning can be integrated into the new programming period.”
Mr. Benos, for his part, elaborated on the framework of the proposal, emphasizing the need for synergies:
«Now is the time for other forces to join in so that we can give a comprehensive form to what we like to call an “archaeological park”. We must utilize the intellectual capital that has been generated both worldwide and in the European Union, which has not contented itself with just the design of these holistic projects but given us the tools, such as the current programming period, to implement them. We must take a qualitative step forward. I invite you to think about the wealth, the vast potential of this region. Certainly, the archaeological site is predominant, but do consider the human potential, the entrepreneurs, the environmental wonder that exists here. Should all these parts not come together to form a strong whole, a unified force that will frame this grand vision? The country is focusing on infrastructure but neglecting the next step that would incorporate infrastructure into local life, into the community. The greatest ambition, of course, is for the monuments to become the driving force for the prosperity and growth not only of the Municipality but the wider region.”
Source and full article (in Greek): https://ilia.news