Greece – Albania Agree to Work Together for Sustainable Future in Tourism
Boosting tourism flows between Greece and Albania and exchanging best practices and knowhow for the sector’s sustainable future were at the center of Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki‘s presentation in this year’s FESTA (Future of Environmentally Sustainable Tourism in Albania) forum held in Tirana.
“Building on the success of last year’s record-breaking year, we are strengthening Greek-Albanian tourism relations for even stronger performance,” said Zacharaki, adding that travel receipts generated by Albanian tourists to Greece increased by 157 percent in 2022 compared to 2021 and by 33 percent over pre-Covid 2019.
During a panel of tourism ministers from South Eastern Europe, Zacharaki presented Greece’s sustainability goals, initiatives and projects as well as training programs in this direction. FESTA Forum host United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili commended Greece on its forward-looking actions.
Zacharaki also joined a meeting of tourism ministers chaired by Pololikashvili where issues of cooperation, utilizing EU funds for tourism and sustainability goals were discussed.
On the sidelines of FESTA, Zacharaki met with her counterpart Vilma Bello, Lithuania’s Deputy Tourism Minister Ieva Valeškaitė, local government officials and media.
“Our presence in Tirana had two goals. First, the further development of Greek-Albanian ties in tourism on the back of the great success of 2022,” said Zacharaki.
Referring to a joint action plan agreed to in February, the minister went on to add that “secondly, together with fellow ministers and tourism stakeholders in Albania, we discussed and agreed on ways to develop bilateral cooperation, especially in ecotourism, culinary, mountain, religious and cultural tourism, and achieve better results to the benefit of both countries”.
“Greece is recognized as a strong and growing power in tourism after the pandemic, while our initiatives especially in the fields of alternative tourism and education serve as a guide for neighboring countries seeking cooperation and the exchange of know-how,” said Zacharaki.