The Greek Minister of Tourism, Mr. Haris Theoharis and his Israeli counterpart, Mrs. Orit Farkash-Hacochen, have signed a Strategic Cooperation Agreement. That involves an expanded, closer and more systematic cooperation between the two countries – Greece and Israel – with regards to the tourism sector.
First of all, the Agreement covers the institutional cooperation between the two countries, the exchange of information and know-how, investment in tourism, promotion, innovation and digitalization, tourism education and vocational training as well as coordinated actions between Greece and Israel in their representation in international organizations.
The Agreement came as the crowning achievement of a noted mutual interest on the parts of both Greece and Israel to develop and enhance their bilateral relations further, in the field of tourism as well as in a broader spectrum.
The Agreement is automatically renewable, with a duration of five years. It specifically facilities the cooperation between the Greek and Israeli National Authorities of Tourism, as well as the exchange of information for promotion and advertising. It also encourages the direct cooperation between travel agencies and other tourism stakeholders, alongside the exchange of information regarding statistical data, tourism policy and legislation, research and development in the global tourist market. The Agreement further creates the conditions for a direct cooperation, through the exchange of know-how regarding thematic/alternative tourism, as well as through the exchange of information regarding tourism investments, investment opportunities and incentive programs in both countries. The Agreement provides for a coordinated participation of the National Authorities of Tourism of Greece and Israel in exhibitions, seminars and other promotional events. Furthermore, the Agreement provides for the entrepreneurial reinforcement of the tourism sector, for the exchange of information and best practices in the fields of innovation and digitalization that will benefit startups and small-to-medium enterprises (SME’s). Finally, the Agreement aims to strengthen the cooperation, as well as the exchange of information and practical experiences in the field of tourism education/vocational training between the two countries. The same goes for the coordinated representation of Greece and Israel in activities in the framework of the UNWTO as well as other international tourism organizations.
On the occasion of signing the Agreement, the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Haris Theoharis, stated that “it is with great pleasure that we are finalizing the Cooperation Agreement between Greece and Israel, especially regarding the tourism sector. This agreement is an integral part of the strategic plan of the Greek Government and aims to capitalize on significant alliances with countries in the wider Mediterranean region. Other than the friendly bonds with Israel, Greece shares the same conviction, namely that tourism constitutes a crucial growth driver in a contemporary, sustainable and profitable direction. Let us also not forget that for our country, the touristic market of Israel is of high importance. In 2019 we welcomed approximately 715,000 Israeli visitors. That number brings Israel in the 9th country with most tourist arrivals into Greece.”
“Signing an agreement on international tourism when the skies are closed and vacations seem far away is a beacon of hope: it is a reminder to those working in the entire industry that we are working to make sure they reopen as soon as possible,” Farkash-Hacohen said. “Like always, tourism is a two-way street. Any, and all agreement must be mutual, allowing the citizens of both countries the same positive experiences trips and vacations can provide.”
Farkash-Hacohen also addressed the strategic alliance between Israel and Greece, saying “agreement we are signing today is another landmark in the long-standing relationship between Greece and Israel, which is a strategic one for both of our countries. Israel and Greece are friends, and also allies – and our cooperation is something we greatly appreciate.”