Armenian News spoke with Greek Ambassador Ioannis Taghis, who is completing his diplomatic mission in Armenia next month.
Mr. Ambassador, what is the current state of the Greek economy, particularly in the tourism sector? Is the [economic] crisis behind? What development dynamics is being observed today?
Tourism became a stimulus so that the Greek economy develops after the years of the crisis. The crisis created a very difficult situation for the country’s economy, but tourism contributed so that the economy fills in some gaps and restores quite quickly and effectively.
The tourism appeal of Greece is growing every year, and the country's economy is directly dependent on investments in the tourism sector. In this sense, the year 2015 was unprecedented in terms of tourism business income, plus the opening of new jobs.
In which domains does Greece cooperate with Armenia? Will there be new cooperation platforms and domains in the future?
Cooperation is carried out in the tourism sector itself. There are several Armenian travel agencies that organize trips to Greece. They mostly travel to Greece, but through various [travel] agencies, tourists also come from Greece to Armenia. The flow of tourists from Armenia to Greece is growing every year. The number of Armenian citizens applying to the embassy of this country to get a visa is also increasing. It is noteworthy that Armenia likewise has started to enjoy popularity among Greek tourists, as an ancient Christian country.
I should add that there is collaboration on other domains, too. For example, aluminum is imported from Greece to Armenia.
Since we mentioned tourism, which sights have you visited in Armenia?
I was in Erebuni Museum, which I liked very much. I think that the ancient temples here can attract not only me, but Greek tourists visiting Armenia. Given that the two peoples are very close to each other with history, spirit, it will be very interesting for the Greeks to interact with Armenians, along with sightseeing.
Can some works of art from Greece, let’s say from the new museum in Acropolis, be brought to Armenia for display?
The works of art are not limited to the Acropolis Museum alone; many works are in other museums. But it is difficult to relocate such works of art, which have great historical value; this is connected with quite expensive insurance services. But I can say that an archaeologist-lecturer from Greece is scheduled to visit Armenia soon, for two-day lectures at the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. I should also note that Armenia likewise has a lot of things to display from the viewpoint of arts, which are of great historical value.
The term of your diplomatic mission [in Armenia] will end next month. What will you remember from Armenia? What will you take with you? And will you come back later, at least as a tourist?
I will remember that my work here went very smoothly. We have implemented numerous cooperation projects with Armenians. I will come back, if I can, to cooperate again. And if there is no such opportunity, [I will return] also as a tourist. It is easy to work with Armenians because they have a lot in common with Greeks. First of all, we have a similar history. We are also alike in the way of living, some traditions.