“Greece is the fourth exporter of Italy. Cretans play a leading role, having managed to create business units on food production based on the uniqueness of Cretan raw materials. Indeed, agro tourism has been developed in Crete which can be included in the export sector, not merely as an export product but due to the fact that through it “Greece itself and its culture are exported», underlined in an interview to “In –On” magazine, John Tsamichas, chairman of the Greek- Italian Chamber.
Question: What is the role of the Chamber in the business partnerships between Cretans and Italians?
Answer: One of the basic services provided by the Greek-Italian Chamber of Athens is to facilitate in every way the search of business partners’ abroad and also primarily, through detailed information, the promotion of the Greek products so as to find the position they deserve in the exportation framework.
Through the organization of business missions in Italy, the realization of business meetings at the headquarters of the Chamber, the participation in programs and events that presented products, the exploration of export opportunities and generally through a series of initiatives taken in the areas of production, a way out opens.
Furthermore, the other members of the Chamber are informed, which facilitates partnerships, the internal reception of useful information and the exchange of viewpoints and suggestions so as to enhance competitiveness under conditions of better quality and overcoming difficulties.
Question: Tell us about the Cretan products that are significant for the Italian market
Answer: Both primary and secondary production which is related to processing agricultural products in collaboration with the tertiary sector of tourism have already started to play a key role in the new development model that our country can adopt in order the Greek economy to be led to a sustainable and stable growth course.
Thus, a strategic choice for the Greek agriculture would be a shift from a low cost agriculture to a quality one.
Crete can play an important role by actively participating in this developmental model because it certainly has a wide variety of products and also tourism with great potentials of further development.
In fact, Cretan olive oil in bulk is exported in huge quantities to Italy. More particularly, according to the data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority, 68% of the exported Cretan olive oil goes to the neighboring country.
Also, there is great demand for the hard, non milled wheat since Greece in general is the fourth exporter of Italy.
However, it is my view that the Cretans have played a leading role, since they have managed to create business units on food production which are based on the uniqueness of Cretan raw materials. In Crete, of course, agro tourism has also been developed which can be included in the export sector, not merely as an export product but due to the fact that through it «Greece itself and its culture are exported»!
Question: What is the role of the historical-religious monuments for Tourism?
Answer: Crete, in its long history, has always been a place with intense spirituality and this is naturally witnessed in the numerous places of worship, the ruins of temples of various time periods, the shrines and chapels as well as the monasteries with the precious heirlooms.
So, to my way of thinking the visitor who comes to Crete, which is an island with a unique character and identity, can experience Greek hospitality and also devote as much time as he/she wants to religious or pilgrimage tourism, in the wider sense of the term.
As a paradigm, the foreigners that arrive in Crete, in the context of scientific programs related to religious tourism, get informed on issues that deal with energy saving by visiting monasteries and having the ability to see bioclimatic architecture, the application of renewable energy sources and the utilization of water recourses.
Then, even when we are not talking about theme tourism, the historical and religious monuments of a region define its character and demonstrate the relevance of cultures, the plenty common features that Greece and Italy share, the “parallel routes”, which were strongly emphasized in a recent conference in Herakleion.
John Tsamichas is the chairman of the board of the Greek- Italian Chamber in Athens since 2010. He is a graduate of the Law School of Federico II University of Naples and holds an MA from the University of Naples and specialized in International Law.
He is also a lawyer in Athens and a solicitor of the following firms: Generalli Hellas, Ansaldo STS, Finmeccanica Spa, and a solicitor and representative of Ansaldo Breda Spa in Greece. He served as a legal counselor of Calcestruzzi Spa and Heracles cement on issues that dealt with free and unfair competition. He is also a member of the Board of Italtel Sistemi Hellas SA.
Since 2011, he leads the program «We export more Greece in 52 countries through 74 Italian Chambers of Commerce». He actively participates in international fora on Greek extroversion as those of the International Chamber of Commerce in Milan, Alcide de Gasperi and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.
After a decision of the President of the Italian Republic Mr. Giorgio Napolitano and a proposal of the Cabinet of the Italian government when Mario Monti was the prime minister, on June 2nd 2012, he was declared ‘Knight of the Order of Virtue of the Italian Republic (Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana). In 2012, he was awarded the prize Bartolo Longo alla Carità.