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Greece’s Key Role in Tourism Policy-making Tops Minister’s ITB Agenda

Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura with Cyprus Deputy Tourism Minsiter Savvas Perdios and her Egyptian counterpart, Rania Al-Mashat.

Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura with Cyprus Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios and her Egyptian counterpart, Rania Al-Mashat.

Aiming to establish Greece as a leading decision-maker concerning the development of tourism both on an EU and international level, Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura met with stakeholders, officials and counterparts on the sidelines of ITB Berlin,  which took place in the German capital last week.

Elena Kountoura and Zurab Pololikashvili.

Kountoura met with World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, who noted that Greece was a strong partner in shaping global policies for sustainable tourism development. The two officials also discussed ways to address the sector’s transition to digital practices.

Kountoura also met with Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett during a meeting of the Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Center (GTRCM) to discuss managing challenges and destination crises.

The minister went on to meet her Egyptian counterpart, Rania Al-Mashat, together with Cyprus Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios, with whom she discussed strengthening trilateral tourism cooperation with emphasis on cruise tourism.

pixabayAmong others, Minister Kountoura met with her Turkish counterpart Mehmet Ersoy with whom she discussed ways to boost cruise travel in the region as well as ways to increase tourism flows between the two countries, while agreeing that stability and security in the region is a key factor to attracting more tourists to the Eastern Mediterranean in the future.

During all her meetings, Kountoura underlined Greece’s commitment to shaping global tourism policies and presented initiatives aiming to foster new partnerships that will contribute to greater development in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean.

9th UNWTO Silk Road Ministers Meeting

Kountoura also addressed the 9th UNWTO Silk Road Ministers Meeting, which was organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with the support of ITB Berlin.

“We all share a common vision and the strong will to make the Silk Road travel experience a reality,” Minister Kountoura said during her speech at the meeting.

As underlined by the minister, Greece, as an integral part of the historical Silk Road route linking East to the West, has been an active supporter of the UNWTO Silk Road initiative, from its very beginning.

“We support every initiative that enhances cooperation, empowers tourism and brings new ideas in how we shape our future for sustainable growth and prosperity,” she said.

The Greek minister then presented the actions and initiatives the ministry has taken for the next steps in order for the ambitious Silk Road project to come to life, which includes Greece’s participation in the research on the tourism impact of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road of the UNWTO.

Minister Kountoura added that the ministry is also currently updating its electronic database of local cultural and natural resources linking the Greek regions.

Last year, Greece hosted the 8th International Meeting on Silk the Road Tourism, the first meeting to be held in a European Silk Road Member-State. Moreover, in 2017, Greece hosted UNWTO’s international workshop on the Western Silk Road.

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