The First Greek-Serbian Tourism Forum to strengthen tourism flow between the two countries throughout the year and develop specialty tourism was held in Thessaloniki on Friday.
A total of 97 tourist agencies and organizations attended from Serbia and 135 from Greece, including Chambers of Commerce and representatives of Thessaloniki International Fair-Helexpo. The Forum is being held on the sidelines of the 34th International Tourism Exhibition “Philoxenia”.
Greek Secretary General for Tourism Evrydiki Kourneta said that Greece remains the most popular holiday destination for Serbs, exceeding 1 million visitors in 2017, an increase of 29.1% over 2016 (856,000), while Serbian Consul General in Thessaloniki Sinisa Pavic said the two countries shared similar ways of thinking and character.
Serbian participants presented information on tourism destinations beyond Belgrade, which Greek visitors usually focus on. Kostas Georgakos, president of the Greek-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Northern Greece, said that when highway E10 is completed in 2019, it will shorten the route from Thessaloniki to points north in Serbia, with the drive to the borders taking 2.5 hours and to Belgrade 5.5 hours, along with shorter drives to other Serbian cities.
The Forum was also attended by tourism agencies of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Greek-Serbian chamber signed a memorandum on cooperation with the Free Zone Pirot (FZP), a free trade zone in southern Serbia, to promote trade and industry and expand economic relations between the two countries. The FZP has been ranked as the best in Europe and the third best in the world, Georgakos said.
He added that the Greek-Serbian Chamber also signed Memorandums of Cooperation with the Tourism Organization to improve the economic relations between the two countries.