Salonika Mayor Yannis Boutaris is visiting Israel to learn how to bring more Israeli tourists to Greece’s second largest city.
The mayor is participating Thursday and Friday in the 17th International Mediterranean Tourism Market in Tel Aviv. He was accompanied by his vice mayor for economic management, Hasdai Capon, the first Jewish person to be elected to office in a major city since before World War II, and the president of the Hotel Association of Salonika.
Boutari was set to meet with the president of the Tel Aviv port as well as with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.
On Thursday, he was scheduled to visit the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theofillo in Jerusalem and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, and on Friday he will meet with the board of a Greek Jewish Holocaust survivors’ organization.
Boutaris met Wednesday in Greece with representatives of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations who are in his country as part of an annual trip to Israel by the group. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou had invited the group to his country.
After the meeting with the visiting Americans, Boutari said that “one of our goals is to make Salonika the Jerusalem of the Balkans.”
He added that one way of financial development of Salonika is its history, “and one of its most important components is the long presence of the multitudinous Jewish element.”