For Vladimir Putin, tourism breeds trust and friendship between people. So he said one day before his official visit to Athens on Friday, in an interview to Greek daily Kathimerini.
The Russian president stressed that tourism is a major contributor to Greece’s economic growth and added that Greece is an important partner for Russia.
“Tourism makes a significant contribution to the economic development of Greece, as well as to broader direct people-to-people contacts and greater trust and friendship between our citizens,” he said.
“Hundreds of thousands of Russian tourists visit your country every year. They relax on the beautiful beaches, get acquainted with the rich heritage of ancient Hellas and its legendary architectural monuments.”
The Russian president went on to underline the participation of Russian business entities in forthcoming Greek tenders for the purchase of assets of railway companies and the Thessaloniki port facilities as well a number of other projects “that can considerably enhance the potential of bilateral cooperation”.
“I hope that we will further intensify our dialogue in various fields and jointly implement our plans.”
The Greek government and the tourism ministry in particular have for the past months boosted ties with Russia in efforts to tap into its massive tourism market promoting parallel events as well as exchange of know-how in many areas. Putin made special mention to the ongoing “Cross-year Greece and Russia” celebrations, which include art and archaeology exhibits, economic forums and conferences as well as cultural, educational and tourism initiatives, which Putin said “will help our peoples to get even more closely acquainted with each other’s history, traditions and customs”.
“Multidimensional contacts between Greece and Russia are an important element of this system. I would like to single out the energy sector. We have been consistently advocating the diversification of energy transportation modes that would improve the reliability of supplies and, therefore, European energy security as a whole,” the Russian president said.