Helenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Message from the former Director General for International Economic Affairs, Hellenic Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Ambassador Michael B. Christides
It is widely accepted that one of the most important responsibilities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the successful implementation of Economic Diplomacy, in its wider sense, as well as the support of efforts, by all actors of the Greek Economy, to open up to the World. This parameter of the Ministry’s mission has lately grown in importance and value, because it decisively supports the Greek Economy, Entrepreneurship and Trade, all this within the framework of an ever globalizing World Economy.
There is no doubt that, when we refer to the Greek Economy, mentioning Tourism is almost unavoidable, since it is one of its most significant – and profitable – sectors. For reasons well known, such as History, Culture, natural beauty and diversity of the Greek landscape, our country attracts an ever increasing number of visitors from abroad. Yet global Tourism competition is fierce, thus the interest for our country can be maintained – and increased – only if we are in a position to offer new, innovative, forms of Tourism, only if we can escape from the narrow and already faded package of “sun and sea”. All we need to reinvigorate our touristic product is turn to ourselves, however strange this might seem: we need to showcase what we actually are, each of us in his special local, cultural and geographic environment. We need to invite our foreign visitors to relish the authentic tastes of the products of the Greek soil and sea, to admire the breathtaking landscape of the remote mountaintops in Epirus and Macedonia, to be stirred by the sunset and the austere life on the “forgotten” islands of the Aegean and the Ionian, to experience the customs and traditions of the locals, off the touristic beaten track in Greece.
If the pursuit of mere numbers, in order to underline the achievements of our Tourism, is perhaps understandable, even more pressing is the continuous effort to improve and enrich the touristic services we offer to our potential foreign visitors. This effort, although it has little to do with “extroversion” but mainly with “introversion”, for the improvement of the touristic product we wish to promote abroad, is firmly supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, because we believe it highlights Greek Culture and serves the long term interests of our Economy.
In this context we welcome the commendable effort of Geo Routes Cultural Heritage Journeys Institute, which aims to offer interesting routes to the least known corners of our beautiful country, during which the participants will have the opportunity to really “live Greek”. We welcome it also because it provides a unique chance to socially and financially support the Greek countryside and helps the population of specific areas to remain in their ancestral lands.
We are glad that, within the framework of the UNESCO Program “Culture – Tourism – Development”, the Greek National Commission for this International Organization placed the experiential and cultural “GEO ROUTES” and “AEGEAN ROUTES” under its auspices. On the part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs I can confirm that we will spare no effort in order to adequately promote abroad, as deserved, this multidimensional form of Tourism in Greece.
Ambassador Michael B. Christides,
Former Director General for International Economic Affairs,
Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs.