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Greek - Israeli Cooperation in Tourism
Greek - Israeli Cooperation in Tourism

A Protocol was signed on touristic activities and investments between the two countries. A Protocol of Cooperation to increase tourist traffic between Greece and Israel signed on Monday the 25th of April by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Pavlos Geroulanos and the Israeli Minister of Tourism Mr. Stasi Miseznikof at the Acropolis Museum at the presence of representatives from both countries.

The cooperation protocol signed in the third Greek-Israeli Joint Committee for Tourism Cooperation, for actions that include the strengthening of the direct air link between the two countries, the cruise of religious and cultural tourism, the establishment of joint travel packages, and investments in tourism sector.

The increase of visitors from Israel is expected to be spectacular this year's season, as according to officials is estimated that the arrivals would rise up to 400.000. In 2010, arrivals werw increased by 57,36%, reaching 171.823 visitors, while in January 2011 was recorded an average rise of 18% and 33% in February.

Opportunities are also shown on the cruise industry since in 2010, 50.000 Israelis visited the country.
One of the objectives of the cooperation protocol is the support of the route in Tel Aviv - Thessaloniki, and it is estimated that about 200.000 Israelis will come to Greece via the company Flying Carpet. The airline from March 15th operates direct routes to Thessaloniki, which will rise from the Jewish Passover and after, while at the same time  flights to Rhodes and Crete begin, and in June are also included flights to Kos, Santorini, Corfu, Mykonos and possibly Skiathos.

On the cruise sector, which is the most growing sector in the Eastern Mediterranean, the two countries agreed to encourage the authorities and individuals that are active in this field, direct agreements with cruise lines are expected to be launched.

The two sides also agreed to establish a religious interest in routes of pilgrimage tourism and to facilitate their travel agents to be active in forms of tourism that have mutually demand. The agenda also includes cultural tourism, and was decided joint tour packages to be set up, that are targeted at emerging markets of China, Russia, U.S., India and Japan.

Emphasis is given to tourism and investment, and a close cooperation was agreed for updating in terms of investment opportunities in both countries, and as for national laws was decided to encourage and facilitate businessmen from both countries to engage in joint investment in the tourism sector.

"What we worked out is how we can work together to develop tourism not only between our two countries but also how we can bring visitors from other parts of the world such as China and India to Greece and Israel, "said Mr. Geroulanos after the signing of the Protocol.

The two ministers also pledged to announce the date for the fourth Greek-Israeli Joint Committee for Tourism Cooperation, the meeting which will take place in Israel. On May will be also held Joint Ministerial Council of Greece - Israel headed by the prime ministers of both countries to Jerusalem, where they will meet again the Joint Committee on Tourism.

The meeting was attended from the Greek side, by the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Mr. Nikitiadis, the General Secretary of EOT Mr. Koletsos, the president of the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers (POX) and the Vice-President of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE), Mr. A. Andreadis and the President of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) Mr. G. Telonis and as for its part, Israel among others present were Mr. Yaron Miller, president of Flying Carpet. Then the two ministers visited the Archbishop Ieronimos in the Archdiocese Hall of Athens.

Source: Christina Poutetsi, "Cooperation between Greece - Israel's tourism," Tribune, 11 April 2011, www.tovima.gr
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