The Aristotle Municipality, located in Halkidiki, recently presented its religious tourism offerings to travel agents in St Petersburg, aiming to increase flows of religious travelers from Russia.
The presentations were organized in collaboration with Mid-East, an organization offering VIP tourism services to Russian travelers in Greece. During its trip to Russia, the Greek mission visited Russian travel agencies and religious tourism organizations including Radonez, Kovceg, Council for Tourism, Pokrov and Cozy Visit.
According to Aristotle Mayor Stylianos Valianos, the Russian market is a major source of tourism income, especially for the region of Ouranoupoli, which is very close to Mount Athos, one of the world’s largest religious communities that attracts Russian-speaking tourists.
Mount Athos’ Orthodox religious element “is evident in many forms of tourism such as wine culture, pilgrimage tourism, the monastic diet, Byzantine jewellery, local primary production, religious festivals, thematic boat trips, trekking and many more,” he said.
During his visit to Russia, Valianos also met with Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly President Alexander Belsky and the First Vice President of the Foreign Affairs Committee Sergey Markov to discussed on ways to increase religious tourism flows between the two areas.
The Greek side invited Russian officials to a pilgrimage tourism conference to be organized by the Aristotle Municipality in the summer of 2022.
The two sides also agreed to promote the religious tourism offerings of Eastern Halkidiki to St Petersburg with the installation of banners on 68 info-kiosks around the Russian city.
Valianos concluded his trip to Russia with a visit to Kronstadt and Aristotle’s twin-municipality Sestroretsk.
Aiming to further promote its local religious tourism tours, Aristotle Municipality officials will present the same program in Kazakhstan in late November.
In addition, the Aristotle Municipality will host representatives of Lebanon’s religious community later this year, while in 2022, it will promote its religious tourism products to Cyprus and Ukraine.