Facing a 2020 summer season with vastly reduced tourism due to COVID, FedHATTA took the initiative to host two successive meetings to discuss ways for Greece and Cyprus to cooperate to restart their tourism industries.

An initial teleconference was held on Friday 8 May 2020 attended by: the Minister of Tourism of Greece Haris Theocharis, the Deputy Minister of Tourism of Cyprus Savvas Perdios, the President of FedHATTA Lysandros Tsilidis, the President of HATTA Nikolaos Kelaiditis and the President of ACTA, Mr. Stamataris.

The Associations jointly proposed the creation of incentive packages, to increase tourism flows between Greece and Cyprus. This is not likely to result in large numbers of tourists, due to the health and travel protocols, but the example of the two countries is intended as an example for other countries to turn to Greece and Cyprus as the first destinations after the resumption of European and world tourism.

In parallel, the Associations propose to design packages that will include alternatives to sun & sea tourism, such as sports, gastronomy, health and wellness, wine tours etc.

The Associations will work closely with each other and will remain in constant contact to develop the criteria for this effort, which they will then forward to the two Ministries responsible for their acceptance and support. This good cooperation will continue after the initial restart tourism in the current phase, and will seek to expand with the participation of other countries, for an even better overall result.

This meeting was followed up with a second meeting between the Greek and Cypriot Associations (FedHATTA, HATTA and ACTA) to further develop the proposals and cooperation. HATTA and ACTA also work closely with ECTAA, the Association of travel agencies and tour operators throughout Europe, which works closely with EU institutions on behalf of the European travel industry.

The two countries have strong ties of language, religion and history, while they are the closest neighboring destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean, with frequent flights and a short flying time between them. This gives them the advantage of being able to work together to promote their tourism product jointly.

Based on their existing cooperation through the EMTTAAS initiative (East Mediterranean Travel & Tourist Agents Associations Synergies), where tripartite agreements are in effect between Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Greece, Cyprus, Israel the Associations will seek to develop synergies and joint travel packages so that tourism in the Eastern Mediterranean region benefits all parties involved.

The ideas and proposals generated in the meeting are being forwarded to the Ministers of Tourism of the two countries for their support in the implementation. The participants in the discussion will continue the joint effort for the recovery of tourism in the region and for its return to pre-crisis levels, but also plan to build their cooperation beyond that point.

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