Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura over the weekend held discussions with the mayors of Egialia and Kalavryta in Western Greece and discussed the further tourism development of the destinations in order for them to attract visitors 365 days of the year.
In her meeting with Kalavryta Mayor Giorgos Lazouras, Minister Kountoura discussed the possibilities of developing and promoting thematic tourism products and experiences. The issue of upgrading the Kalavryta Ski Center to boost winter tourism was especially focused on.
During her meeting with Egialia Mayor Thanassis Panagopoulos, Kountoura’s talks involved the possibilities of promoting thematic tourism forms, new destinations and the area’s seaside section. The minister also discussed the possibilities for local authorities to use the NSRF 2014-2020 funds for new projects and tourism investment.
Minister Kountoura also met with the Metropolitan of Kalavryta and Egialia Amvrosios and informed that religious and pilgrimage tourism is a strategic priority of the national tourism policy. Amvrosios applauded the ministry efforts to develop religious tourism and asked for Kountoura’s support for the restoration of the Holy Temple of the Virgin Mary in Aegio, which was affected by the earthquake of 1995. He also requested for the minister to help improve the accessibility to the Virgin Mary temple in Tripiti.
The minister’s meetings were held after she attended the 5th Development Conference for Western Greece, held in Patra on July 14-15.
Giving a speech at the conference on Friday, Minister Kountoura said that tourism can be a driving force for Western Greece in the years to come. She added that the tourism ministry is in close cooperation with the Region of Western Greece for the exploitation of the competitive advantages of Achaia, Ilia and Aitoloakarnania for their further tourism development.
“There is a strong will and a specific plan to attract tourism all year round from traditional and emerging foreign markets to popular and new destinations in Western Greece,” Kountoura said.
She specifically referred to developing thematic tourism products and experiences with a focus on cultural tourism, religious tourism, sea tourism (cruise and yachting), city tourism, sports tourism and winter tourism.
Kountoura also spoke of the possibilities offered by NSRF funds for the development of special tourism infrastructure, the promotion of thematic tourism and the establishment of new tourism enterprises.
“Tourism is a national affair and a great prospect for the economic growth and social welfare of Greece,” she said.
Moreover, during her speech, the minister referred to the strong growth prospects of tourism for the whole country and presented Greece’s tourism policy which “has led to high growth rates and the highest historical performances”.