Greek tourism organisation office opens in Istanbul

Istanbul

A Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) office in Istanbul's historic neighbourhood of Pera was inaugurated on Wednesday by Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni.

Following a blessing ceremony, the minister noted that Greece and Turkey share a common goal and mutual benefit of a sustainable tourism that will extend through the entire year, developing all regions and respecting the environment and local communities.

She also referred to the joint Greek-Turkish declaration on tourism signed in Athens on December 7, in the context of the High-Level Cooperation Council, with Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy. The declaration includes the main axes of bilateral cooperation in the new chapter on Greek-Turkish tourism relations.

"Nearly ten years ago I had the privilege to inaugurate the then-new GNTO office in Istanbul. Much has changed since then in general, but especially in tourism," the minister said.

"The tourism flow between Greece and Turkey in both directions exploded from a few thousands in the 2000s to over a million from each side before the (coronavirus) pandemic put a break on tourism and tourism flows as in other sectors. Today we are here on the opportunity of a new start," she added.

Kefalogianni also referred to the new locally issued visas to be issued to Turkish citizens and their families for ten Greek islands in the East Aegean as of March, and she expressed the hope that this program would contribute substantially to increasing the flow of tourism from Turkey, to the benefit of both sides.

"Bilateral tourism with Turkey is of unique importance: not simply in its economic aspect, which is obviously important to both countries, but also because tourism also serves as a bridge of friendship and trust at the level of civil society, and thus contributes to creating a positive climate and good neighborly relations," she underlined.

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