Mayor of Thessaloniki
PHILOXENIA 2011 Greeting.
This year’s Philoxenia should prove particularly symbolic for our city. For over 25 years HELEXPO-TIF (Thessaloniki International Fair) has been trying through Philoxenia to highlight the potential of our country as a holiday destination. All these years our country has focused on promoting sun and sea, no doubt resources in abundance.
Furthermore, we have directed international interest towards our glorious ancient Greek ancestors and focused on the Acropolis. However, other values as our culture, our history scattered throughout Greece and our natural environment have been neglected. Our cultural heritage has been neglected. We followed a path that not only wasted our natural resources and our environment, but also altered the overall image of our country.
Thessaloniki recently began its own efforts to become a city-break destination, highlighting its rich cultural heritage, its origins and the beauty of both the urban and the suburban natural environment.
We still have much to do as we have just begun our effort. Philoxenia provides a forum in which we can showcase what we are preparing to do.
We support Philoxenia and seek partnerships with all stakeholders and agencies, as each in its own way could contribute to achieving the goal.
The central concept of the whole effort is one: to develop the city’s tourism awareness, indeed the whole country’s, so that we will be able to capitalize the immense wealth that is called culture and environment. Especially during this period that life conditions change dramatically, we do not have many other options.
I wish every success at the 27th International Tourism Exhibition Philoxenia, so it can become an effective tool in the effort of the country’s tourism development.