Greek culture and tourism minister Pavlos Geroulanos undertook initiatives to promote cooperation in the tourism sector between Greece and Israel, during his visit to the latter, accompanying President Karolos Papoulias.
Geroulanos held a series of important contacts for promoting bilateral relations in the crucial sector of tourism during a business forum held in Tel Aviv.
Speaking to Greek and Israeli businessmen active in the tourism sector, Geroulanos noted that since Greek prime minister George Papandreou's meeting with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow last July, the two countries and peoples have come closer, adding that both prime ministers have put tourism at the top of their agenda.
Geroulanos also noted his close relationship with his Israeli counterpart Stas Misezhnikov and their vision for Greece and Israel working closely together to open up new markets, such as China, India, Latin America and the US, which he described as "markets of the future".
The Greek minister further underlined the huge 120 percent increase in visitors from Israel to Greece last year, and equally impressive increases of 180 percent in visitors from Turkey and 90 percent in visitors from Russia, adding that Greece's target is to rank among the 10 top destinations in the world in the coming years.
He also outlined all the measures that have been taken to make the investment environment in Greece more attractive, noting that "it is truly a big opportunity for the domestic and strategic investors of the Greece-Israel tourism industry to set out new, solid terms for investment opportunities of the future".
"We must convince all those who are hesitant to invest in Greece, we must create a new sense of confidence. The investment environment in Greece is changing, and the issue is who will make the first step. From our experience so far we know that there is great interest for investments in Greece. If the European Union ceases to be behind the developments and delaying, and quickly took decisions for the eurozone, it would be much better," Geroulanos added.
After the forum, Geroulanos had a one-hour meeting with Misezhnikov during which they discussed ways for even closer cooperation between the two countries in the tourism sector, while he also attended a dinner at the Greek embassy that was also attended by Israeli investors who took part in the forum.