PRESS RELEASE

«Greece – Serbia: 12 Months Tourist Destination»

With 97 participations of tourist agents and tourist organizations from Serbia and 135 from Greece, the     1st Greek-Serbian Tourism Forum was organized in Thessaloniki on Friday, November 9, 2018. At the center of the Forum were found the opportunities for increasing the tourist flows between the two countries throughout the year and the development of cooperation in different forms of tourism, such as educational, scientific, religious and athletic.

The 1st Greek – Serbian Tourism Forum was organized by the Greek – Serbian Commercial, Industrial, Tourism and SMEs Chamber of N. Greece and by the Greece – Serbia Chamber of Commerce and Industry supported by T.I.F. Helexpo, in the framework of the 34th International Tourism Exhibition “Philoxenia”.

The aim of the Forum was to promote Greece as a tourist destination for Serbians 12 months a year and not only in the summer and to increase visits of Greeks in whole Serbia.

The Forum was welcomed by the General Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. Evridiki Kourneta, the General Consul of the Republic of Serbia in Thessaloniki, Mr. Sinisa Pavic, the CEO of T.I.F. Helexpo, Mr. Kyriakos Pozrikidis, the representative of the Greek – Serbian Chamber of N. Greece in Serbia, Mr. Milivoje Miletic, the President of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vojvodina, Mr. Bosko Vucurevic and the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Republika Srpska, Mr Borko Djuric.

The General Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. Evridiki Kourneta, announcing the opening of the Forum, referred to the dynamic opening of Greece in recent years in Serbia with the aim of strengthening tourist cooperation. She mentioned that „Serbia is a dynamic market, as well as a favorite destination for Greeks. In the past two years there has been a double-digit increase in tourist arrivals from Serbia to Greece, which remains the most popular holiday destination for Serbian tourists. Serbian arrivals in Greece exceeded 1 million in 2017, an increase of 29.1% compared to 2016, which was 856.000. The strong dynamic continues in 2018 with an increase of more than 15%. „

In his greeting, the President of the Greek – Serbian Chamber of N. Greece, Mr. Konstantinos Georgakos, said „We need and want Greece to become a destination for 12 months for the Serbians. We need and want Serbian visitors to experience the other beauties of Greece. We also want Serbia to become the most visited place for Greeks and Greek tourists traveling to Serbian destinations to reach and exceed the 100,000 (from around 67,000 today). We show you the way of starting cooperation through our actions“.

The General Consul of the Republic of Serbia in Thessaloniki, Mr. Sinisa Pavic, mentioned that „The points we list and repeat when we talk about the relations between Greece and Serbia are proximity, kindness, similarity to character, in thinking, in the view of life. We present Serbian tourism to our Greek friends and our goal is to start collaborations by assuring that the same atmosphere, the same feeling that we Serbians have when coming to Greece, awaits the Greeks when they visit Serbia. All those who came from Serbia to participate in the Forum to work on it, as it will be the fundamental basis for continuing further cooperation so that we can talk about good results. „

Representatives of tourist organizations of Serbian regions and municipalities presented tourist destinations such as Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Nis, Belgrade, Cukarica and Savski Venac, and the representative of the Greek – Serbian Chamber of N. Greece in Serbia, Mr. Milivoje Miletic and the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vojvodina, Mr. Bosko Vucurevic, spoke about the bilateral cooperation.

In the Forum, also, participated representatives of Chambers and Tourism Organizations Republika Srpska. President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Republika Srpska, Mr. Borko Djuric, said that this that make difficult the bilateral co-operation is the lack of a regular air connection between Athens and Thessaloniki with Banja Luka and generally the lack of organized transport.

Helexpo CEO, Mr. Kyriakos Pozrikidis, said that Serbia is a close destination for Greeks, as well as Greece, which is being presented at Philoxenia’s halls, is just two minutes from the Congress Center I. Vellidis, where the Forum was held. We want to have a wave of tourists from Greece to Serbia, but also to increase numbers of Serbian tourists coming to our country all year, he said.

The participants in the Forum presented a different Serbia and they give the opportunity to Greeks to see that Serbia is not only Belgrade but also that it is a very close destination, said the President of the Greek -Serbian Chamber of N. Greece, Mr. Konstantinos Georgakos and he added „In 2019, when the E10 highway is completed, within 2.5 hours of Thessaloniki by car, we will reach the borders, 3 hours in the central square of Vranje, 3.5 hours in Leskovac, 4 hours in Nis, 5.5 hours in Belgrade and 6 hours and 1/4 in Novi Sad».

During the Forum a memorandum was signed between the Greek – Serbian Commercial, Industrial, Tourism and SMEs Chamber of N. Greece with the Free Zone Pirot (Free Trade Zone in Southern Serbia).

„This agreement is particularly important, as the Free Zone Pirot was ranked best in Europe and the third best in the world. The Port of Thessaloniki, ThPA SA is a member of the Chamber and President of ThPA, one of the member of the Board of Directors and wants to grow in Serbia. We are making moves that will help increase transport through the Thessaloniki Port. One of these moves is the signing of memorandum with the Free Zone Pirot, „said Mr. Georgakos.

Also, a memorandum was signed between the Greek – Serbian Commercial, Industrial, Tourism and SMEs Chamber of N. Greece and the Tourist Organization of Savski Venac and Cukarica.

After the greetings and the presentations followed B2B meetings, which were completed with great success, as more than 147 appointments took place.

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