Athens to be the venue for WTC 2023

11 February 2021

At an extraordinary meeting of the International Tunnelling Association (ITA) General Assembly yesterday, ITA member nations voted overwhelmingly in favour of Greece to host the WTC 2023 conference and General Assembly.

With Greece having gained 33 votes and Turkey 14, Athens will now be the 2023 venue for the tunnel industry’s premier annual event, the first time it will be held in the country. Only two contenders had vied for the opportunity, with Turkey proposing the southern coastal city of Antalya as its venue.

The member nations’ vote had previously been scheduled to take place in September 2020 during the virtual ‘Kuala Lumpur’ WTC but was postponed due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Two factors which may have helped decide the vote is that Turkey had previously hosted the event in Istanbul in 2005; and that considerable tunnelling has taken place in Greece in recent years.

The resurgence of tunnel construction over the past five years has symbolised Greece’s gradual recovery from the economic crisis. Around 65km of single-tube motorway tunnels and 20km of deep metro tunnels have been completed, including new metro lines in Athens and Thessaloniki which are seeing 24 stations nearing completion.

In a previous statement, the Greek Tunnelling Society had pledged it was “well prepared and committed” to organise a successful and memorable World Tunnel Congress.