The new Greek Minister of Culture and Tourism Olga Kefalogianni gave her first ever interview to Turkish daily Hürriyet Daily News supporting the strengthening of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in terms of tourism.
Tourism is one of the key economic sources for Greece and the crisis has delivered a severe blow to it. The new Minister claimed that Turkey is not seen as a competitor but as a partner and both countries must join forces to attract visitors from other countries. Moreover, Kefalogianni noted that joint campaigns and reciprocal visits are also included in the tourism development agenda.
As underscored by Kefalogianni in her interview, the number one priority for Greece is to facilitate the acquisition of visas with less bureaucracy and as fast as possible. Visa regulations so far have boosted travel from Turkey to Greece by 180% in 2010 which is estimated to further increase in the future.
Kefalogianni commented on the good relations between the two countries and the mutual efforts the two countries must make to promote tourism. Tourism can bring the two countries closer in terms of cooperation, such as in the case of the new marina on Lesbos operated by a joint Turkish and a Greek company.
Kefalogianni also underlined that the Turkish media have not added to build up a negative picture of the country during the turmoil past year unlike other international media.