If Mecca is the gathering place of all Muslims in the world, than for Christian Orthodox that place has to be Greece. The Greek officials are aware of their religious heritage and its importance to orthodox people around the world and that’s why they have decided to make a more aggressive push of their religious tourism.
The current Minister of Tourism in Greece, Olga Kefaloyianni met with the Chairman of the Holy Synod Pilgrimage Tours Bureau of the Church of Greece and the Metropolitan of Dodoni. The aim of this meeting was the signing of a cooperation protocol over the development of religious tourism.
This means that the Greek government will start investing more in religious tourism but also will cooperate better with the Orthodox Church in an effort to increase the promotion of religious destinations in order to attract larger numbers of tourists and thus increase tourism income. This would be a sorely needed income as Greece is currently struggling with the economic crisis affecting all of Europe to a certain degree.
It has been noticed that while the number of tourists coming to Greece has dropped, the number of religious tourists has been steadily increasing. It is hoped by both the Greek government and the heads of the church that this cooperation protocol will also help in the decrease in the number of unemployed people in the tourism sector by creating new jobs for them.
Though most of your know Greece as a place for family vacations, for sunny beaches and warm azure waves, Greece has a thriving and continuous religious traditions in regions such as Meteora where the monasteries perched up on solitary cliffs draw many religious enthusiasts for pilgrimages.