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Thessaloniki in Spotlight at UNWTO Silk Road Meeting at ITB 2018

Greece’s northern city of Thessaloniki was in the spotlight during the 8th UNWTO Silk Road Ministers’ Meeting held during the ITB Berlin 2018 travel trade show, which opened on Wednesday.

Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura.

Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura.

With the theme “2025 Silk Road Tourism Agenda”, the meeting hosted some 50 tourism ministers from all over the world and heads of national tourism administrations who shared their main ideas and strategies.

Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura, who was a keynote speaker at the meeting, emphasized on the fact that Greece will be the first European country to host the UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism. Thessaloniki will be the host destination of the 8th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism, which is scheduled to take place in October.

UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili.

UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili.

Minister Kountoura and UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili invited the foreign tourism ministers to attend the important event in October, which among other things, will focus on how to establish the Silk Road as the most important transnational tourism route of the 21st century.

The meeting, which is expected to be a landmark event for the Region of Central Macedonia, is considered an excellent opportunity for Thessaloniki to gain publicity for its tourism character.

Thessaloniki Tourism Organization President Voula Patoulidou.

Thessaloniki Tourism Organization President Voula Patoulidou.

“The fact that this event is being held in Europe for the first time, incredibly upgrades the presence of Thessaloniki as a conference destination,” said Voula Patoulidou, the president of the Thessaloniki Tourism Organization.

“Thessaloniki will find its place on the world map with this high-level event that sees the attendance of many ministers,” Patoulidou told GTP Headines.

On his part, Central Macedonia Vice Governor for Tourism & Culture Alexandros Thanos, spoke of a “very great opportunity” for Thessaloniki.

Central Macedonia Vice Governor for Tourism & Culture Alexandros Thanos.

Central Macedonia Vice Governor for Tourism & Culture Alexandros Thanos.

“The ministers’ meeting is the best vehicle to develop our cultural path that essentially unites the East with the West,” Thanos said, adding that the silk road will contribute significantly to the tourist product of Thessaloniki.

According to Thanos, the 8th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism will promote Thessaloniki in the Asian market, “a huge market that Northern Greece has not yet felt”.

The 8th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism is supported by Central Macedonia Vice Governor for Tourism & Culture Alexandros Thanos, Thessaloniki Convention Bureau General Manager Efi Koudeli, Thessaloniki Tourism Organization President Voula Patoulidou and Thessaloniki Hotels Association Marketing Director Chryssa Saravelou.

The 8th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism is supported by Central Macedonia Vice Governor for Tourism & Culture Alexandros Thanos, Thessaloniki Convention Bureau General Manager Efi Koudeli, Thessaloniki Tourism Organization President Voula Patoulidou and Thessaloniki Hotels Association Marketing Director Chryssa Saravelou.

Attended by over 25 Silk Road countries, the 8th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism will for the first time be held outside Asia and is an important opportunity for ministers, high level officials and experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities for successfully developing tourism along the maritime and continental Silk Road.

“The UNWTO Silk Road Programme is a collaborative initiative designed to enhance sustainable tourism development along the historic Silk Road route. It aims to maximize the benefits of tourism development for local Silk Road communities, while stimulating investment and promoting the conservation of the route’s natural and cultural heritage. Additionally, it is working to foster greater co- operation between Silk Road countries and regions, with the established aim of creating a seamless and memorable Silk Road travel experience.” – UNWTO

About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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