Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos recently visited Moscow where he attended the International Travel Fair Intourmarket and Moscow International Travel & Tourism exhibition (MITT). He then visited the exhibition “The Greek Tourist Poster; Time Travel with the Help of Art” that took place in the A. S. Popov Central Museum of Communications in St. Petersburg.
This tour of Russia, according to the tourism development ministry, is part of its “open horizons” policy in maintaining a dynamic presence at tourism exhibitions worldwide. At Intourmarket, Mr. Spiliotopoulos met with his Russian counterpart, Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism Vladimir Strzhalkovskiy with whom he discussed ways to support bilateral tourism investment in Greece and Russia. They then signed a memorandum of cooperation between the two countries.
During his visit to St. Petersburg, the tourism development minister met with the governor of St. Petersburg, Valentina Matvienko, with whom he agreed to open a Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) office in the city effective immediately, to cover increasing tourism movement there and in its periphery.
Mrs. Matvienko asserted the number of tourists from St. Petersburg to Greece in 2007 increased by 34 percent, amounting to 48,000. Visitors from Greece to St. Petersburg also increased by 33 percent although the total figure, according to the governor, remains fairly low. In support of Greek tourism to St. Petersburg, Mr. Spiliotopoulos asserted the ministry would hold “St. Petersburg Days” in Athens under its auspices— in cooperation with the city of Athens that has already undertaken the initiative with the city of St. Petersburg—and at the Philoxenia tourism exhibition in Thessaloniki.
Also, the tourism development minister inaugurated the “Greek Tourist Poster” exhibition in St. Petersburg and said: “Art has been the most significant ambassador of Greece’s image abroad.” He added, “For the promotion of Greece’s new identity, a new digital strategy must be applied, one that fits perfectly with this era of communication from which Greece claims a larger share of the world market.”
At the exhibition visitors got an idea of the development of tourism in Greece from the epoch of “amateur idealism” -the moment when one of Greece’s most well-known and pioneering photographers, Elli Souyioultzoglou-Seraidari (Nelly), took her symbolic photograph with a view of the Parthenon (1929)- to the time of new challenges, as well as of the most important art tendencies of the 20th and early 21st century.