Olympia Anastasopoulou: ‘Proud to be re-opening Greek National Tourism office in Australia’

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By Ilias Karagiannis.

The re-opening of an office of the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) in Australia was a declared goal of Greece’s General Secretary of Tourism Policy and Development, Olympia Anastasopoulou, when she first spoke exclusively to The Greek Herald in December 2022.

Since then, Greece’s Tourism Minister has confirmed that her goal has been realised. The GNTO will be opening in Melbourne, Victoria at the Greek Community of Melbourne’s (GCM) landmark Greek Centre on Lonsdale Street.

Ms Anastasopoulou proved to be the driving force behind the ambitious effort to re-establish the GNTO in Melbourne, which ended with the passing of a parliamentary bill in March this year.

Today, in an exclusive statement to The Greek Herald and only a few days after the grandiose vision of the re-opening of the GNTO office came to fruition, Ms Anastasopoulou refers to the personal bet she made from the first day of her term of the benefits that Greece and Australia will have from this move.

Ms Anastasopoulou also thanks the President of the GCM, Bill Papastergiadis, for granting the appropriate space to house the office in Melbourne.

“From the first moment I took over as General Secretary of Tourism Policy and Development, I placed a personal bet: the reopening of the GNTO in Australia,” Ms Anastasopoulou said.

“After personal and continuous effort, I am particularly proud because during our tenure at the Ministry of Tourism we managed to overcome the bureaucratic and legal obstacles for the re-opening of the office in Australia.

Ms Anastasopoulou stressed the re-opening was made possible in cooperation with the Greek Prime Minister’s office and the competent Secretary General of the Greek Government, Stelios Koutnatzis, as well as the important contribution of Mr Papastergiadis.

Ms Anastasopoulou with Bill Papastergiadis.

“With Law 5039/3-4-2023, which has immediate effect from its publication, the Greek Government proceeded with a historic initiative for the country, a move with particular symbolism, as in the second largest city of Australia [Melbourne] there is also the largest Greek community of expatriates, whose constant demand for eight years has been the re-establishment of a GNTO office in Australia.

“This is, therefore, a positive development both for Greece, as well as for the Diaspora and Hellenism, from which we expect a tightening of relations between the two countries and of course, a further increase in tourist flows from Australian visitors.

“After all, the relations between Greece and Australia are characterised by cordiality, which is based on historical and homogenous ties.

“As is known, expatriation in Australia is the stable base, the bridge for the development and strengthening of the ties, not only of friendship but also of mutual understanding, between Greece and Australia.”

Ms Anastasopoulou.

Ms Anastasopoulou added that a significant number of Greek expatriates maintain strong emotional ties with Greece, have a willingness to visit Greece often, and invest in the renovation of their ancestral homes.

“This makes the Greek Australian community a loyal and stable audience that always supports Greece in difficult times,” she said.

“At the same time, the established presence of the Greek Australian community within Australian society, as well as its intense business activity, is a vehicle for transmitting and promoting the Greek brand.

“A typical example is the established presence of the Greek diaspora and the satisfactory penetration of Greek products into the Australian market, which opens up new opportunities to promote gastronomic tourism, but also wine tourism in our country.

“So it’s a win-win situation for all of us. After all, it is more than obvious that when we try something together, when there is a team effort, the result is always the best possible.”

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