IZMIR – “We are living in a sensitive, sometimes difficult period, but we must all agree that tourism and travel are the framework in which we can and will be able to work even better together and cooperate,” Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias said on Wednesday. . , while addressing the 9th Turkey-Greece Tourism Forum and 4th Joint Tourism Committee taking place in the Turkish city of Izmir on November 17-18.
He welcomed the fact that the Joint Committee and the Forum were meeting again constructively after 10 years and said Greece’s goal was to increase the number of towns and islands connected by ferries. .
“If I were to prioritize our goals based on the pandemic and adherence to health and hygiene protocols – where both countries have made significant progress in this direction by strengthening their national health systems – it would be to reduce bureaucracy. and facilitate travel from Turkey to Greece. but also from Greece to Turkey, ”said Kikilias.
He said Turkish visitors were “welcome and quality tourists” and that Greece wanted to increase the tourist flow from Turkey.
Kikilias referred to the delegation accompanying him to Izmir, noting that he was a “practical person” and had brought technocrats, professionals and airline executives to cooperate with the Turkish side “so that we have a quantifiable result. “.
The Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, spoke of the importance of developing cooperation between the two countries in tourism and the benefits that this will bring for their relations, as well as the importance of a temporary visa and its usefulness for Turkish travelers to the Greek Islands.
He also expressed the wish to increase the sea and air links between the two countries, adding that the two shores of the Aegean Sea lend themselves to cooperation and development of the cruise industry, as well as joint tourist packages, in answer to the modern trend where travelers from distant countries wish to combine destinations.
Yalcim Lokmanhekim, Director General of Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA), spoke about the prospects for cooperation in cruises and special forms of tourism in the Mediterranean, noting that tourism builds bridges of friendship for both countries.
The Secretary General of the Greek Ministry of Health, Marios Themistokleous, spoke about Greece’s response to the pandemic, its vaccination program as an EU country and the focus on tourist destinations, predicting that the Next year will see greater freedom of movement and significant prospects for the development of medical tourism.
The head of the Chamber of Hoteliers of Greece, Alexandros Vasilikos, said tourism is holding up because it is at the service of values and stressed that cooperation is a tool that must be used. He stressed the need to invest and create technologies to promote and market tourism products.
The president of the Izmir Chamber of Commerce, Mahmut Ozgener, proposed to emphasize the gastronomy of the two countries through the use of technology.
The event ended with the signing of a tourism cooperation protocol between the two countries.
(ANA / N. Kazantzidou)