Greece and the US are expanding their ties in tourism ahead of the season after Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt, at the Acropolis Museum in Athens on Monday.
The five-year agreement comes three decades after the previous MoU and foresees the enhancement of bilateral cooperation in tourism aimed at boosting trade in travel services between the two countries.
Under the deal, Greece and the US will exchange best practices in travel & tourism and tourism promotion, in innovation and digitization of provided tourism services, as well as information on investment opportunities, tourism statistics, data research, tourism policy and developments in the global tourism market, including new tourism products and services, know-how for the development of specific forms of tourism and for upgraded tourism education and training.
“Today’s agreement with a duration of five years is another example of the seamless cooperation between our two countries in the field of tourism. It is at the same time, an essential step to make this cooperation even more targeted and efficient in specific areas, especially at this given time,” said the minister.
Kikilias went on to add that through the MoU, Greece hopes to boost bilateral trade in travel services. He underlined that cooperation between the two countries was already very strong as demonstrated by the record number of direct flights from the US – nine daily flights and more than 460,000 available airline seats.
Cooperation, said Kikilias not only concerns visitors but also investors, who have expressed interest in doing business in Greece “and we want to further strengthen the momentum between the two countries”.
“We are moving forward with sound steps towards the development of a sustainable tourism model with solid collaborations and care to address daily issues with the ultimate goal of creating added value for the Greek economy and for every household,” said Kikilias.
Referring to the “updated” US-Greece MoU on tourism, Ambassador Pyatt said it “solidifies the outstanding relationship that we have with Greece as a tourism partner”.
“We saw Greece’s tourism economy rebound in unexpected ways last summer. Americans, I am glad to say, flocked to Greece, thanks in part to the nine direct flights from Athens that American carriers added to their schedules,” he said.
“This year, there will be a total of 14 direct flights from the United States to Athens. Many of these will continue as late as October, ensuring that visitors have plenty of opportunity to take a well-deserved vacation and to enjoy the unique pleasures of this country,” said Pyatt.
The ambassador went on to add that cooperation in tourism between Greece and the US “go beyond just our airline carriers. US cruise companies, like Royal Caribbean and Disney, are ready to embrace the Greek summer… US hotel brands, including Best Western, Wyndham, Regency, Starwood, Conrad/Hilton and Marriott, have been present in Greece and are growing ready to open their doors for visitors from around the world… US firms linked to the tourism industry like Uber, Airbnb, VBRO, all contribute to the tourism economy creating jobs, bringing in revenue and providing an array of different experiences for visitors”.
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