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Key Tourism Figures 2016: Yannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki

Yannis BoutarisOfficial Tourism Message

Tourism is a driver of local economy. Since taking office, I have been focused on tourism development as an area in which we needed a totally new and comprehensive strategy. We addressed issues that were impeding and took initiatives which were needed in order to grow this industry. The results are measurable, positive and dynamic.

Now is the time for us to continue that growth, including focusing on opportunities that will place Thessaloniki at the center of the global conversation.

Elevate Thessaloniki is about putting in place iconic and exciting tourism choices and services that will put Thessaloniki at the top of the list of tourists. There is a great opportunity to create sustainable, valuable tourism attractions that will foster job growth and economic opportunity for years to come. We are ready to seize this opportunity.

One of the most dynamic sub-sectors within the tourism market in Thessaloniki, which has grown in popularity over the past decade, is Gastronomy. As a vital part of the region’s tourists’ experience, it contributes to the regional development and diversifies the existing tourism ‘product-service’ offering.

Nevertheless, to maximise the potential of the region’s food tourism development and gain a competitive advantage, Thessaloniki is reaching and engaging with tourists to attract them, offering an authentic, memorable Gastro-experience. An experience that already got promoted by International TV channels and media.

Another travel industry’s great untapped opportunity, today, is the ‘Accessible Travel’.

As baby boomers continue to age, the numbers of travellers with a disability are predicted to grow rapidly. We, in the City of Thessaloniki, are taking the initiatives to make Thessaloniki barrier-free for access travel.

And, finally, focusing on various aspects of the tourists’ behaviour and experience, Grief tourism, Educational, Medical as well as Heritage, Religious and Nautical Tourism are the sectors we are working on right now as a response to Thessaloniki’s particular assets.

Tourism development is a continuous project in progress with a potential and dynamism which can and will lead Thessaloniki to the world stage.

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