As of November 1, Maria Athanasopoulou was appointed as the World Food Travel Association’s new board chairperson. Maria’s ruthless dedication to supporting the Association’s mission and her active engagement in the food travel industry in Europe and beyond has made her the perfect fit for the position. “It is an honor to have a dedicated professional such as Maria leading our Association into the future. Her career expertise and passion for what we do is invaluable,” shared World Food Travel Association Executive Director Erik Wolf. Maria will be the first female board chairperson as well as the first European board chairperson of the Association. She added, “It is my honor to serve as Chairwoman of the World Food Travel Association. I am fully committed to my new role and want to assure our community and our industry you that I am aware of this responsibility and will work tirelessly in this new position to achieve the goals of the Association.” Maria is taking over the Board Chair duties from Brian F. Lorge, who stepped down from the chairperson role last month for medical reasons. He remains a member-at-large on the Association’s board of directors. Maria Athanasopoulou first got involved with tourism in Greece when she started writing articles in 2008, as an amateur but soon afterwards in 2009, she became the chief editor of the online, non-profitable e-magazine Taksidi 2 Greece. At the same time, she established the company Respond on Demand aiming to promote all types of Greek tourism to travel agents abroad. She is a member of the International Association of tourism writers and photographers and participates with articles to online magazines and electronic travel platforms. Gastronomy is the main focus of the Top Tourism nonprofit company, where Maria is a co-owner. She has spoken at several events about the importance of gastronomy to the tourism development of a destination.