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Yannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki

Official Tourism Message

From our earliest days as a city, Thessaloniki has been a beacon to cultures from all around the world. People, they’re drawn by the rich history of our city, the character of our neighborhoods, the gastronomy, our world-class cultural attractions, and the friendliness of our people.

But when it comes to attracting more visitors, for too long, Thessaloniki was punching below its weight. For many years, the lack of a strategy was costing our city jobs and revenue. It was hindering our growth. And it was keeping us from taking full advantage of the potential that tourism has to create jobs, grow our economy and improve the quality of life for all Thessalonians.

Οne of my first efforts in office was to overhaul our approach to attracting tourists and the convention industry — a singular strategy for both. We did it in two fundamental ways: First, we brought all of the government and non-goverment stakeholders to the table; second, we took the politics out and bridged the divide that was making Thessaloniki uncompetitive.

Nearly 1 million hotel room nights were purchased in Thessaloniki in 2009 and more than 2 million last year. We have finally begun to put Thessaloniki on the map as a destination, but we need a goal for more tourists. More tourists who will support more jobs and thousands upon thousands of families. All this means more construction projects will go forward, more hotel rooms will be booked, more restaurants will be filled, more museums will be visited, more theatres will be packed, and more music will be enjoyed. It means more people will dine in our award-winning restaurants and more visitors will see the city that we know and love. It will mean better tax revenue from the tourism industry, which will be used to be invested back into our city to improve the quality of life for all people who call Thessaloniki their home.

This goal will require us to be far more creative and innovative in developing strategies to draw these tourists to our city. We all have a role to play. The exhibitions, these ideal forums for ideas exchanging, give  the opportunity to get all of us serious about Tourism and to demonstrate dogged determination in the pursuit of our goals.

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  1. Ignacio Reply

    That´s the kind of messages that we need to read from our political responsibles. As a past inhabitant of Thessaloniki (as a tourist, student, worker…) I agree 100% on the potential of the city. And it will come a day when I would probably live there again.
    The gain on hotel bookings is amazing. It´s now time for greeks and stakeholders to open minds. At the end of the day, everybody from Eurppe and Asia should know the role that Thess played in our history.

    Thanks!

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