“We must work together with the Church to correctly promote religious-pilgrimage tourism as a tourism product of Greece,” Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni said today, Tuesday, 15 January, after signing a cooperation protocol with the Church of Greece for the development of religious-pilgrimage tourism.
In a meeting with the Chairman of the Holy Pilgrimage Tours Bureau of the Church of Greece, Metropolitan of Dodoni, Mr. Chrisostomos, the tourism minister agreed on a series of initiatives, joint actions and coordinated actions.
Through this new cooperation, the tourism ministry and the Greek Church will aim to promote the country’s religious wealth to countries abroad, attract new tourists to Greece and boost employment as religious tourism is expected to help expand the tourism season.
“This will allow us to go further than sun-sea and summer,” Mrs. Kefalogianni said.
Through the cooperation protocol both sides have agreed to:
- organize fam trips for journalists and foreign tourism professionals to promote the religious destinations of the country.
- participate, when necessary, in tourism exhibitions, conventions and theme events in Greece and countries or areas that have “potential visitors.”
- cooperate with other ministries, Greek embassies, GNTO offices abroad and tourism associations and bodies (SETE, HATTA, Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers, GEPOET, etc.) when necessary.
- facilitate the issuance of visas for religious tourism visitors.
According to the minister, not only coreligionists have an interest to come to Greece for religious-pilgrimage tourism, but also people of other religions such as the Chinese, Japanese and Latin Americans.
“Therefore there is a great source of incoming tourists that can come to our country and support the local economies and communities and give Greece a more powerful image-the image of a country that has an enormous religious and cultural richness,” she said.