The Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) will follow Greece's to-be historic completion of its last bailout program in August, Digital Information Minister Nikos Pappas, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce President Simos Anastasopoulos noted at an event on the fair in Athens on Thursday.
Pappas spoke of collaboration in the Balkans and the digital networks and connectivity necessary to promoting Greece as an investment hub, which the government is promoting, and of how TIF can contribute to the country's promotion.
Ambassador Pyatt referred to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' trip to the White House in October, highlighting the strategic context in the TIF participation of the United States, the honored country at this year's fair. There is wide support in the government and enthusiasm for the fair in Thessaloniki, he noted.
Pyatt also highlighted the significance of Greece's return to economic growth, and said the embassy would be focusing on the startup sector at the American pavilion, working with TEDx Athens for talks and events encouraging young entrepreneurs, "who are producing world-class products, leveraging the resources of this country."
He also said that there will be a senior-level political delegation visiting Greece at the time, as US President Donald Trump promised, along with a broad range of American companies. In addition, the US was partnering with the private sector for cultural events in Thessaloniki such as American Art Everywhere, a project to bring iconic American artwork across Thessaloniki, including on buses and buildings, with the support of local government.
These efforts are long-term, he said, to "address perceptions of U.S. disengagement in Northern Greece" and to "maintain the United States as a major partner for Northern Greece, just as we do here in Athens," Pyatt said.
Anastasopoulos provided data on the participation in TIF so far. The fair, which runs from September 8 to 16, will include 1,500 Greek and foreign exhibitors, with 52 of these from the US. Estimates foresee over 290,000 visitors, a rise from last year's 260,000.
"It's a huge opportunity for the country's post-memorandum path. American companies are placing emphasis on technology and innovation because they are the two pylons on which we want to base Greece's growth model, turning the country into a regional hub," he said.