With Turkey and Greece at odds over a number of issues, tourism can prove pivotal in efforts to improve bilateral relations, senior officials of the two countries said on Wednesday.
Ankara wants to improve ties with Athens in all domains, and tourism can help bring our societies closer and get to know each other better, the Turkish culture and tourism minister said at the 9th Turkish-Greek Tourism Forum held in the western city of Izmir.
“We see Greece as a partner, not a rival,” Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said.
He said visa-free travel to Greece for Turkish citizens is a priority for Ankara, along with the resumption of ferry services from coastal Turkish towns to Greek islands.
Turkey and Greece will work together to develop tour packages with destinations in both countries and promote them in major tourism markets such as the US, China, India, and Japan, Ersoy added.
His Greek counterpart Vassilis Kikilias agreed that tourism could enhance bilateral cooperation and relations between Ankara and Athens.
“We value Turkish people as our guests and will be happy to host them. I am convinced that personal ties and cordial relations between our people will help us overcome our differences,” he said.
Underlining that tourism is a primary source of income for both countries, he said Greece wants to increase the number of Greek and Turkish cities connected by sea.
*Writing by Ahmet GencturkAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.