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Distinguish  guest,  it  is  truly  a  pleasure  to  address  ASTA's  audience  for  its  Annual  Global
                      Convention for 2020.
                      As we are navigating through unusual circumstances due to a pandemic of universal scale,
                      participants to this convention gather to exchange views on the travel and tourism industry's
                      recovery and collect information needed to set future professional goals.
                      So I'm happy to take this opportunity, in order to share with you my insights on Greek – U.S.
                      relations with particular emphasis on Greek Tourism. It is only fair to say at the start that Greece
                      and the United States have a long standing, strong relationship, dating back to the beginnings of
                      both countries history, as modern states, some 200 years ago. In the last couple of years, this
                      relationship has reached unprecedented levels of understanding into cooperation, which has
                      culminated into the passing of The East Med Act, by the U.S. Congress last year, the signing of the
                      new MDSA last October and the visit by the Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis to Washington, in
                      January 2020.
                      The Greek – U.S. strategic dialog, launched in 2018 as a platform of enhanced cooperation in 7
                      areas of common interest, covers a variety of elds; energy being a top priority. In this process
                      and in the framework of trade and investment working group, tourism is also included.
                      Regarding this last topic, Greece, a universal top tourism destination, suffers signicantly from the
                      impact of the corona virus, engulng the world. Our economy does rely heavily on its Tourism
                      Sector; however, it was a rm political decision, backed by the entirety of the Greek society and
                      the  Greek  political  system,  to  prioritize  the  public  health  and  safety,  during  the  crisis  and
                      therefore,  formulate  a  prompt  and  decisive  response,  through  aggressive  containment
                      measures, combined with a far reaching awareness campaign.
                      The results, fully justied the chosen course and Greece achieved international acclaim, for its
                      low  infection  and  death  rates.  Consequently,  Greece  was  able  to  gradually  reopen  its
                      economy, starting from tourism. The country reopened its boarders to foreign visitors as of the 1
                      of  July,  as  a  safe  destination,  under  a  national  action  plan,  combining  the  Greek  touristic
                      product with its unique physical and cultural content and appeal, with an unwavering focus on
                      safety, by means of enforced hygiene and health protocols.
                      As a matter of fact, Destination Greece Health First, doubling as a website, providing relevant
                      travel and tourism information, is our latest international campaign, for safely restarting the
                      Greek tourism, this summer 2020.
                      With tourism ows from the United States to Greece improving, over the last few years on yearly
                      basis by 7,4% in 2018 for example, we expect that the American tourists will resume their travels to
                      Greece, even at an increased pace, as soon as the current circumstances allow. Regardless of
                      the present temporary travel restrictions for American tourists, where shouldn't visit Schengen
                      countries,  including  Greece,  please  keep  in  mind  that  Greek  hospitality  extends  in  the
                      transensed time. Even post covid, Greece will continue to be, for the discerning traveler, a
                      destination that is worth visiting and enjoying on so many levels, not only during the endless
                      Greek summer, but year round.
                      In this respect, I would like to congratulate the Greek Federation of Associations of Tourism and
                      Travel Agencies and the American Society of Travel advisors, for their continuing collaboration
                      over the years and their efforts to increase bilateral tourist ows.
                      I wish all parties participating in ASTA's Global Convention, the best of success in their endeavors.
                      The difcult times will pass; we have to make sure that better times will come soon; resilience and
                      hope are guidelines for the future.
                      Thank you,

                      Alexandra Papadopoulou
                      Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to the U.S.A.
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