Α workshop, entitled "Turkish Tourism Destinations and Turkish & Greek Alliance in Tourism" in which more than 150 tourism industry representatives from Northern Greece and Turkey participated, was held with great success at The Met Hotel in Thessaloniki on Tuesday, 28 April. The event was organized by the Office of Culture and Tourism of the Turkish Embassy in Athens, with the support of: TÜRSAB, Turkish Airlines, The Met Hotel, as well as the Macedonia–Thrace Travel Agencies Association (MTTAA).
The issues discussed during the proceedings of the event as well as at B2Β meetings between representatives of tourist agencies concerned the possibilities of expanding their cooperation. Presentation of tourist destinations in Turkey, such as Edirne, Canakkale, Cappadocia, in addition to cultural and culinary destinations in Southeastern Turkey, attracted strong interest.
"Greece and Turkey are two neighbouring countries with numerous common cultural features and particularly good cooperation relations in the tourism sector,” stated Asli Aksungur, Culture and Tourism Attaché of Turkish Embassy in Athens, in her opening speech. “The arrival of visitors from Greece to Turkey and vice versa has been constantly increasing in recent years. This year, the number of Turkish visitors to Greece is expected to reach almost one (1) million. At the same time, the Greek visitors rose by 18% in 2014 and amounted to 830,841, ranking Greece 10th among the countries that visit Turkey.”
"Turkish citizens love Thessaloniki for the vivid Ottoman elements that the city possesses, but also for the common features shared by the two peoples, and this is attested by the constant rise in Turkish visitors to the city. Besides, Thessaloniki is also home to the Ataturk Museum, that is the house where the founder of the Republic of Turkey grew up. On our part, we will continue our efforts to improve the already good cooperation relations between the two countries with the aim to an even greater rise in visitors both in Northern Greece and Turkey”, stressed the Turkish Consul-general in Thessaloniki, Tuğrul Biltekin, during his speech.
“The relations of the two countries in the Tourism sector are very good and there is a particularly fruitful cooperation. As the Municipal Authority of the city, we make every effort so as to further promote this cooperation by highlighting the Ottoman element, which constitutes part of our city’s identity. Within this framework, we have initiated a program to restore and promote the historical monuments in our city, but also we have taken initiatives that will contribute to the increase in the arrival of even more visitors from the two counties,” pointed out the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yannis Boutaris.
In his address, the president of the Macedonia–Thrace Travel Agencies Association, Byron Theologis, stressed that initiatives similar to this event contribute significantly to enhancing the tourist product both in Greece and Turkey.
His personal viewpoint of Cappadocia as a tourist destination was put forward by journalist-TV presented, Christos Nezos, as he spoke enthusiastically about the region following his recent visit as part of his TV show “Traveling”.
Upon the completion of the event’s proceedings, various meetings were held, during which representatives from 40 travel agencies from Turkey and Northern Greece had the opportunity to discuss and exchange proposals on boosting the arrival of tourists from these regions.
Yannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki, Tuğrul Bıltekin, Turkish Consul-general in Thessaloniki, Dimitrios Symeonidis, President of the Greek-Turkish Chamber of Northern Greece, Kemal Tuzun, Commercial Attaché of Turkey in Thessaloniki, Utku Yazan, Turkish Airlines’ director in Thessaloniki, Ömer Çay, Manager of the Ziraat bank branch in Xanthi, Figen Akan, President for the GAP Region at TÜRSAB