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Greece Committed to Working with the World Tourism Organization

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili. Photo source: UNWTO

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday assured World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili on the government’s interest for sustainable tourism development and desire to work closer with the organization to further boost Greek tourism.

The Greek PM met with Pololikashvili during the secretary general’s high-level visit to Athens. The meeting was attended by Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis.

During the meeting, the Greek PM underlined the importance of tourism for Greece and referred to the government’s program that aims for the country’s tourism product to follow the trends of sustainable tourism development. He informed the secretary general that Greece supports the UNWTO’s efforts for establishing sustainable tourism.

“I believe that this is an important opportunity to also discuss the best practices and ways you can help us with our common priorities,” PM Mitsotakis said referring to Pololikashvili’s visit to Athens.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili and Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis. Photo source: UNWTO

On his part, Pololikashvili congratulated the Greek PM on Greece’s arrival numbers and on its leadership in sustainable tourism development, which is very important right now for Europe and the planet.

Pololikashvili offered the UNWTO’s support as Greece works to grow and diversify its tourism sector.

“We have very interesting projects (for Greece) for which we need your support and I am sure you will support us,” Pololikashvili told the Greek PM.

Photo source: UNWTO

“We want to show the world that Greece is an important showcase as, after all that has happened in the last ten years and following the significant difficulties you went through, you stayed united, with great resilience,” Pololikashvili said.

Speaking to journalists, the secretary general underlined the significance of the Greek PM’s support to tourism. “We will try our best to put Greece as a great destination to visit for the whole world… The numbers are saying that Greece is growing fast,” he said.

UNWTO’s plans for Greece

Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) President Angela Gerekou, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis, UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili and Greek Deputy Minister of Tourism Manos Konsolas.

While in Athens, Pololikashvili announced plans to help Greece upgrade its tourism education and training by creating a UNWTO International Center in Greece, associated to the UNWTO Academy, that will assist in the continuous reform of the tourism training schools run by the Greek Tourism Ministry.

Moreover, he announced that in the near future the UNWTO was keen on launching a startup competition for Greek entrepreneurs. He also spoke of the possible organization of an investment forum in Greece aimed at attracting more international companies to invest in the country.

“Greece is one of the world’s true tourism leaders… I am delighted to be further strengthening our partnership and look forward to working more closely with Greece to make sure as many people as possible, including rural and coastal communities, are able to enjoy the many benefits tourism can bring,” Pololikashvili said.

UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili during his meeting with high-level representatives from Greece’s private sector.

Earlier on Monday, the UNWTO’s secretary general met with Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis at the Tourism Ministry and also with high-level representatives from across the private sector. The discussions focused on the key issues of harnessing tourism as a driver of education and opportunities for all, encouraging entrepreneurship and promoting tourism investment.

“Working with UNWTO gives Greece the chance to learn from the lessons of other countries, share positive experiences and build useful partnerships in the areas of education, innovation and sustainable development,” Minister Theoharis said.

Last June, Greece was elected as the chairing country of the UNWTO Commission for Europe (CEU) for the period 2019-2021, highlighting the country’s commitment to international cooperation and to sustainable and responsible tourism.

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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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