Geopolitical developments and the refugee situation were the main topics discussed between Greece’s Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura and the UN World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) secretary general, Taleb Rifai, in a meeting held Wednesday on the sidelines of the 36th International Tourism Trade Fair FITUR at Feria de Madrid in Spain.
During the meeting, Mr. Rifai expressed confidence in Greek tourism and assured that the UNWTO intends to support the country’s international promotion. He also congratulated Ms Kountoura on Greece’s tourism progress in 2015 and requested information on her ministry’s plans for 2016.
On her part, Ms Kountoura presented Greece’s tourism policy for this year, which will focus on extending the tourist season, promoting alternative forms of tourism, opening new markets, promoting new Greek destinations, improving infrastructure and offering high quality services.
In regards to the geopolitical developments and international events of concern to the global tourism market, Ms. Kountoura underlined Greece’s position on the refugee issue, which is now a global issue, and noted that the country has given priority to human life and safeguarding human rights.
“Greece has done its job and it now has become the responsibility of other parties involved to pay their dues and provide a solution,” UNTWO’s secretary general said.
Mr. Rifai also said that Greece would receive unreserved and constant support from the UNWTO, on a technical and political level, to promote the messages of Greek tourism to the international market.
Greece’s more active and effective representation in the UNWTO was also agreed during the meeting.
According to the tourism ministry, the Greek Ambassador to Spain will serve as a representative of Greece to the UNWTO, as decided by Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Kotzias.
Upon the conclusion of the meeting, Greece’s tourism minister invited Mr. Rifai to soon visit Greece.