Workshop in Thessaloniki: “Cooperation between Turkey and Greece in the Tourism sector in practice”
Wednesday, 29 April, 2014: The workshop “Turkish Tourism Destinations and Turkish & Greek Alliance in Tourism” was held with great success at The Met Hotel in Thessaloniki on Tuesday, 28 April. More than 150 tourism industry representatives from Northern Greece and Turkey participated in the workshop. The event was organized by the Culture and Tourism Office 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 between the tourism agencies representatives during the proceedings of the event as well as at the B2Β meetings, concerned the possibilities of expanding their cooperation. The presentation of tourism 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 the Turkish Embassy in Athens, in her opening speech. “The arrival of visitors from Greece to Turkey and vice versa has been constantly increasing during the 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 countries and this is attested by the constant rise of Turkish visitors to the city. Besides that, Thessaloniki hosts also the Ataturk Museum, 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 between the two countries with the aim to increase 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. From our part as Municipal Authority of the city, we make every effort 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 of our city and we have also taken initiatives which will contribute to the increase of visitors from both 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 the enhancement of the tourism product both in Greece and Turkey.
The journalist-TV presenter, Christos Nezos, expressed his enthusiasm for Cappadocia as a tourism destination, following his recent visit to the region as part of his TV show “Traveling”.
Upon the completion of the event’s proceedings, various meetings were held, giving the opportunity to the representatives from 40 travel agencies from Turkey and Northern Greece to discuss and exchange proposals on increasing the arrival of tourists.
Photo 1-(From left) Berna Akar TÜRSAB Corporate Affairs, Yannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki, Tuğrul Bıltekin, Turkish Consul-general in Thessaloniki, Aslı Gündoğdu Aksungur, Culture and Tourism Attaché of Turkish Embassy in Athens, Kemal Tuzun Commercial Attaché of Turkey in Thessaloniki, Gülberk Aşyapar TÜRSAB Corporate Affairs
Photo 2-(From left) 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
Photo 6- Aslı Gündoğdu Aksungur, the Culture and Tourism Attaché of Turkish Embassy in Athens, Christos Nezos, Journalist-TV presenter