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Special Tourism Promotion Planned for Greek Islands Overwhelmed by Migration Surge

Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis and Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis.

Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Thursday held a meeting with the head of the new Ministry of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis, to discuss the tourism promotion of the Greek islands that have received the main burden of refugee and migrant flows in Greece.

The Aegean islands in question are Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros.

Theoharis and the newly-appointed Migration Minister agreed to cooperate to support the tourism image of the islands that have been affected. The two ministers also agreed on the need to fund the promotional campaign which is planned to run under a program dubbed “Solidarity”.

Samos. Photo source: Visit Greece

According to the ministry, the tourism promotion of the islands will also run through a campaign carried out by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO).

Prior to his meeting with Mitarakis, Minister Theoharis referred to the issue during an interview he gave to Greek radio station Parapolitika FM.

“We are working with the GNTO on the appropriate advertising framework for the specific destinations… It is clear that there is a need to strengthen our islands on a communication level and we will soon make announcements on the matter,” the Greek tourism minister said.

Eastern Samos

Deputy Minister for Tourism Manos Konsolas, Eastern Samos Mayor Yiorgos Stantzos and Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis.

The impact of migrant flows on the local Greek community of Eastern Samos and ways to restore the island’s tourism reputation were discussed in a recent meeting between Minister Theoharis, Deputy Minister for Tourism Manos Konsolas and the mayor of Eastern Samos, Yiorgos Stantzos.

“The government’s priority is to support the Aegean islands that have suffered the negative effects of migration on tourism,” the deputy minister said.

According to Konsolas, the GNTO will carry out various promotional actions to boost the tourism identity of Samos through international exhibitions this year and through a special campaign.

“Specific promotional actions are being planned and implemented to restore and strengthen the image of the island and the wider area of ​​the Eastern Samos affected by the migration flows,” Konsolas stressed, underlining that the local authorities of the affected Agean islands can count on the ministry and the GNTO for support.

It is noted that earlier this week, authorities on the North Aegean islands announced a general strike scheduled for Wednesday, 22 January, in response to the refugee/migrant crisis, which has impacted local communities and strained already limited resources.

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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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