Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias on Friday announced his intention of transforming the northern city of Thessaloniki into a home port and hub for cruise ships.
The minister is on an official visit to Thessaloniki to attend the 85th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), one of the country’s largest trade events, which begins on September 11.
Speaking with Central Macedonia Regional Governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas, Kikilias said the ministry plans to strengthen cruise tourism in Northern Greece with new tools.
“This way our tourists and visitors will have the opportunity to visit the excellent hotels of the region and sample the special flavors of local products,” the minister said.
The ministry’s plans include developing special forms of tourism in Northern Greece, such as religious tourism, gastronomy tourism, wine roads and spa tourism.
“This way a new strength will be given to Thessaloniki and Northern Greece,” he added.
Northern Greece to get promotion for the off season
Moreover, during the meeting, Kikilias announced that the ministry, through the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) and in cooperation with the region, will promote to all markets the “amazing beauties” of Macedonia and the exceptional tourism it offers. The promotion will take place at the last quarter of the year (during the off season), which is always a difficult period for tourism, he said.
“The goal is for those who seek to visit destinations to prefer Macedonia over other countries and thus for us to be able to further strengthen our economy, our society, our people, the average Greek family,” he said, adding that the goal is to attract visitors all year around and not only for the 60 days of the summer months.
Minister Kikilias said that he is convinced that tourism will continue to grow not only in quantity, but also in quality and revenue, and provide new jobs to Greece.
On his part, Central Macedonia Regional Governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas, who previously cooperated with Kikilias when he was the country’s health minister, said he is sure that their good cooperation will continue.
During their meeting, the governor and minister discussed about properly preparing so that Greece, including Central Macedonia, will be promoted as a top tourism destination for 2022 in all major international exhibitions.
They also agreed to strengthen various forms of tourism that to date have remain untapped such as cruise tourism, medical tourism and spa tourism.
It should be noted that for the last three years, Central Macedonia has welcomed the most tourist arrivals in Greece.