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Yiannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki

Yiannis Boutaris, Mayor of ThessalonikiPhiloxenia 2013 greeting.

We welcome Philoxenia 2013, the oldest and leading tourism exhibition in Greece, and the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) publication.

For the Municipality of Thessaloniki, tourism today is a priority and strengthening the international recognition of Thessaloniki is a strategic choice. International networking, approaching specific tourism markets, hosting major international events in the city and improving infrastructure for visitors, are our tools to achieve these goals.

Already, signs are positive, results are both measurable and evident according to the number of arrivals and overnight stays in Thessaloniki and we are intensifying the effort for even more optimistic potentials.

We bid for and host international events that attract different visitors. This year, Thessaloniki commemorates the 1150th anniversary of the first mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius and, through a series of festivities, will celebrate the wealth of the Byzantine past.

And, of course, we have entered the final stage of preparing for 2014 -the year of young people- since Thessaloniki has been declared European Youth Capital. From 1 January 2014 and for 365 days, the city will transform into a bustling urban center, hospitable to young people, which will highlight Thessaloniki as a popular destination for young people from across Europe.

For 2014, Thessaloniki, a purely seaside town, following global trends in matters of sport and especially water sports, won the bid to host the World Rowing Coastal Championships, a major international sporting event.

Thessaloniki, an open and cosmopolitan city, a European city in the Balkans, can attract different visitors and be a travel destination for the whole year with its multiple facets and complete tourism infrastructure. Guests can discover many interesting elements in Thessaloniki: strolling by the sea, rich history and exceptional museums, contemporary art scene, sports, culinary tradition, thriving academic community and countless youthful community, excursions and explorations of nearby destinations.

And of course we must not forget: Thessaloniki is the passage to the Holy Mountain, an orthodox center of global radiance and a step to Olympus and its beauties.

The Municipality of Thessaloniki supports Philoxenia. It supports, seeks and invests in partnerships with all bodies and institutions that can contribute to the development of our tourism awareness, to the promotion of Thessaloniki, and the improvement of infrastructure and services.

I wish every success to this year’s Philoxenia and to the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) publication.

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