The messages from the new agreements reached by the Minister of Tourism Vassilis Kikilias during the successive meetings he held in Bucharest with Romanian tour operators were optimistic and very promising.
In a statement, Mr. Kikilias stressed that there is a large increase in the places and destinations chosen by Romanian travelers, while their interest is in alternative tourism, in which our country has invested, with Pieria, its islands, the Ionian, Evia and Thassos being very high among their preferences. This seems to have facilitated the suspension of restrictive measures for the pandemic and road tourism has already begun.
The Minister of Tourism stated that in order to deal with the impact of the Ukrainian war on tourism, another roadshow has already been planned in the affected countries, such as Romania, as the ties of the Balkan countries with Greece are strong and this is reflected and in tourism.
In addition, Mr. Kikilias had a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Entrepreneurship and Tourism of Romania Rus Lucian Ioan, who pointed out the great interest that exists for many destinations and for all forms of tourism in Greece, not only for the summer months but also for next autumn, while he made special reference to religious tourism which is chosen by many Romanians who visit our country.
The following is the statement of Vassilis Kikilias:
“The Romanian market is very important to us. And for road tourism but also for the flights that now come from Bucharest, Cluj and other cities to Athens, Thessaloniki, to mainland destinations where there are airports and on our islands. I see a strong increase in both places and destinations.
Based on the strategy we have drawn up for the alternative destinations, which we are interested in supporting in the country, the Romanians come to Pieria, Thassos, Halkidiki, the Ionian Islands, Evia and of course to the branded destinations such as Crete, Rhodes and the Aegean islands.
We are very pleased because the airlines and tour operators are investing in our country and of course the adaptation of the protocol framework, so that they can come smoothly from our northern land borders, as it is a first country in alternative tourism, it helps.
Therefore, the image of the professionals here in Romania is very positive for our country at the moment.
Our main concern is to help and support financially through tourism the average Greek family, the Greek family tourism business, the primary sector that provides products. That is, the farmers, the health shops, the commercial world that is related to tourism and the hundreds of thousands of employees in the tourism sector. It is obvious that this can only be done through a multi-destination strategy in the country so that the dividend from the tourism profits goes to everyone.
And because a war is raging in the heart of Europe and this is creating a very important problem for us with the Russian and Ukrainian markets – a human tragedy is taking place in Ukraine – we decided to do another roadshow in the Balkans and beyond, so that we can support the areas that would possibly be affected by an existing, if perhaps insignificant issue. Romania is one such country. It is a country with strong relations and ties with Greece and Orthodoxy as well. That is, Romanians come to our country for our religious tourism but also for our gastronomy, they like the mountains, mountaineering, hiking and they also like to come to rent sailboats. And more massively, in our large islands and in such areas which are not first priorities of travelers from other countries. For example, Pieria is one of these places. So we will support this and strengthen it.
Today we will meet with all professionals in the field and the political leadership of Romania, as well as with Greek and Romanian professionals who are active in the travel and tourism industry. Tomorrow we will be having a “barrage” of interviews and we will have the opportunity to communicate directly with Romanian society about the opportunities that exist for Romanians in the Greek market.
The “opening” of Greece and the lifting of restrictive measures for the pandemic is something that they insisted on from Romania and also during the last time, about 2 months ago, when we were here with the Prime Minister. The health framework, following the recommendation of the Committee of Experts, further facilitates the arrival of these travelers to the country.
I want to emphasize that now they come earlier, that is, they have already started road tourism and the flights start in May – and early June. That is why they were asking today about the packages and the cooperation they can have with hoteliers and tour operators in Greece, so that they can extend the season in Greece, that is, in the fall. It is something that has not happened before and we are interested in it being done in a balanced way, throughout the country but, mainly in Northern Greece, which is closer and this is our goal. “