Relations between India and Greece are becoming more comprehensive following a military delegate visit to Crete and a meeting between Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias and the Ambassador of India to Greece Amrit Lugun.
Indian Lt Gen Manoj Kumar Mago and members of 62nd Course of the National Defence College in New Delhi visited the various Hellenic Armed Forces and Multinational establishments on Crete on June 9.
A highly constructive and targeted meeting between Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias and the Ambassador of India to Greece Amrit Lugun was held on Friday, according to an announcement.
Both sides expressed their satisfaction regarding the recent measures for the normalisation of visa issuance in India, something achieved due to decisions taken by Kikilias and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
Kikilias underlined the strong historic and cultural ties that bind the two peoples, noting that this fact reflects the interest in further enhancing bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism as well.
They also discussed further cooperation the audiovisual and film industry, as well as the strengthening of wedding and gastronomy tourism.
On his part, the Indian envoy pointed to the possibility now opening up for direct flights between India and Greece after the ratification, by both countries' parliaments, of the signature of an agreement on the provision of air services between the two countries.
In particular, reference was made to the possibility of connecting six cities on both sides by direct flights, based on the provisions of the relevant agreement.
The Greek tourism ministry is hoping to tap into the Indian market which is ranked first in the world in terms of money spent on holidays. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), expenditure is expected to increase by 122 percent compared to 2019.
Additionally, Indians abroad spend four times more money compared to the average tourist from Japan or China, 140 percent more than British travelers, and 71 percent more than Americans.
Key areas of interest for traveling Indians include luxury, gastronomy, cultural, conference, wedding and film tourism products.
Expanding to the Indian market has been a high ministry priority. Earlier this year during the 8th Session of the Greece-India Joint Economic Committee, the two countries signed a protocol of cooperation.
They also agreed to explore the potential of tourism exchange and of direct air connections between Greece and India, following the ratification in February by Greek parliament of the Greece-India air connection agreement signed in 2017.
“India is a huge tourism market with many travelers interested in alternative and theme tourism. In the strategy we have devised and are now implementing, we have invested a great deal in these forms of tourism,” said Kikilias at the time.
The minister went on to add that the benefits are multiple: attracting higher-spending travelers, extending the tourist season, and introducing lesser-known alternative destinations.
“In this way, we are optimistic that we will achieve our goal, which is always to boost the average Greek family in as many areas of the country as possible,” he said.