“During the summer season, Greece remained one of the most popular destinations abroad for the Russians.” – Andrey Maslov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Greece
The Greece-Russia Year of Tourism 2017-2018, an initiative of the tourism ministries of Greece and Russia, on Friday wrapped up with a big music and dance event held at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron).
Underlining that tourism unites people and nations, creates bridges of cooperation and opens new paths for growth, progress and prosperity, Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura opened the event, which saw the attendance of ministers from the two countries, government officials from the Russian Federation, representatives of the diplomatic corps, regional governors, tourism professionals the media.
“The end of the Greece-Russia Year of Tourism, at the same time, is the beginning of a new era in the tourism cooperation between our countries, between the Greek and Russian regions, with specific agreements to be followed in the development of thematic tourism products and the promotion of new destinations, very positive prospects and mutual benefits in the coming years,” Minister Kountoura said.
From the Russian side, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Greece Andrey Maslov, delivered the greeting of the Russia’s culture minister, Vladimir Medinskiy, and spoke warmly about the success of the Year of Tourism.
“The initiative highlighted in the best way the effectiveness of Russian-Greek relations,” the ambassador said, underlining that through joint coordination, the Greece-Russia Year of Tourism succeeded in bringing together regions, MPs, and businessmen from both countries to discuss tourism cooperation issues.
“These mutual beneficial contacts further enhanced exchanges and bilateral tourism. During the summer season, Greece remained one of the most popular destinations abroad for the Russians,” Ambassador Maslov said, adding that the flow of Russian tourists to Greece this year is expected to be at the same level as last year.
According to reports, Greece expects to count over 900,000 Russian tourists for 2018.
Launched in 2017, the Greece-Russia Year of Tourism saw various cultural and gastronomy events and B2B meetings for professionals take place in both countries. The Tourism Year included Greece’s participation in a number of exhibitions in Russia while many familiarization trips for Russian journalists and travel professionals took place.
According to the tourism ministry, the Greece-Russia Year of Tourism initiative brought great results and gave a boost to bilateral tourism relations.
The three-hour event included a music and dance program, under the direction of Tasos Birsim and hosted by Greek actress Katerina Didaskalou.
The event included traditional Greek dance performances by the Choropaignio association and a music program by Greek composer and soloist Christos Nikolopoulos, under the direction of Nikos Stratigou, which included a special tribute to the Greek rebetiko (often referred to as ‘The Greek Blues’). Greece’s renowned performers Melina Aslanidou and Costas Makedonas interpreted international hits by the great Greek composers Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hadjidakis, Yannis Markopoulos and Stavros Xarchakos.
Russia’s traditional music and dance was offered to the audience by the State Kuban Cossack Chorus, a leading Folkloric ensemble in Russia.
The highlight of the event was when both Greek and Russian dancers took the stage to give the audience a memorable performance.
The event was organized by the Greek Tourism Ministry, in cooperation with the Culture Ministry of the Russian Federation, with the support of the Greek Culture Ministry and the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO).