How is the Minister of Tourism relevant to an Agribusiness Forum, dedicated to advancing knowledge digital transformation of the agrifood value chain?

In a very ambitious manner, apparently.

Hit by the coronavirus crisis, that took down its once undisputed economic might, Greece is looking for ways to revive its tourism industry.

Agritourism could be an answer, according to the Greek Minister of Tourism.

Harris Theoharris took part in the AgriBusiness Forum 2020.

He presented a new plan to diversify the tourist product Greece offers.

At its core, there is agritourism, a “mild form” of tourism that can contribute to a sustainable high end tourist growth.

It is a global trend. On September, 27, the 2020 edition of World Tourism Day, under the auspices of the World Tourism Organization, celebrated “the unique role that tourism plays in providing opportunities outside of big cities and preserving cultural and natural heritage all around the world.”

Through the development and promotion of agritourism, emerges a different tourist side of our country, far and beyond sun and sea. Greek nature, Greek tradition and culture are highlighted. The products of our land as well” said H. Theoharis.

The ministry’s action plan emphases on gastronomy tourism for which a special working group has been set up. The aim is to upgrade gastronomy offered in Greece and include it in the national tourist marketing plan.

AgriBusiness Forum 3rd international edition, was held in Athens-Greece on 7 October 2020 highlighting “Food Safety, Security & Resilience: pressing challenges in the COVID-19 era and beyond”.

26 renowned speakers took part along with a limited pre-accredited audience of leading businesses, financial services, innovative farmers.

Participants addressed the severe shortcomings on globalized (agrifood) supply chains revealed by the Covid-19 pandemic and discussed security, safety, risk management and resilience of farm-to-fork food chains.

The pandemic put the entire supply chain to test” noted the Greek Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Food, Makis Voridis. When European demand for specific products (especially fruits) rose and production was challenged by lack of workers, certain EU member states considered imposing export bans to secure internal supplies Voridis said.

The EU Commission and other member states prevented such an unprecedented decision. Furthermore, EU introduced “green lanes” to ensure continuous flood of goods after lockdowns were imposed. It also secured deals with non-European trade partners to safeguard adequate supply of vital goods.

EU countries managed to deal with the crisis preventing shortages and maintaining food safety. We need to learn from the lessons of the COVID-19 crisis and build sustainable chain systems” the Greek Agriculture Minister said.

He also stressed that the pandemic was proven a “golden opportunity” for Greek producers: “In Greece we have witnessed a significant rise in exports mainly of fruits like cherries, oranges, kiwis, hitting decade- long highs. Prices rose for grain and rice. In general, fruits and vegetables had a very, very good performance. In my view, this shows the dynamics of specific Greek products and the value of investing in the primary sector” Voridis said.

Georges Kremlis, Chair of the Espoo Convention Bureau and advisor to the Greek Prime Minister highlighted the advantages of cyclical economy in every stage of the food supply chain especially in reducing chemicals, pesticides and waste and presented the different funding programs available to farmers.

The famous Greek chef, Dimitris Skarmoutsos, talked about the dramatic food waste in modern restaurants and households and stressed the need to make food production more fair and sustainable.