Amb. Dimitris Rallis (Ambassador of Greece to Germany)

29.07.2010 - Interview conducted by Jessica Howells

Q1. Greece has recently been in the news about its difficult economic situation. How can nation branding and Cultural Diplomacy help Greece to improve its economy?

Nation branding will help tourism in Greece, which, in turn will boost the economy. As well as tourism, shipping is also a big industry in Greece. By making this known to the world, we can boost our economy using this industry. Cultural diplomacy is a two-way relationship, and by building bonds with other countries, they will be more inclined to support us and we will also support them, helping the economy of all countries in this difficult economic climate.

Q2. Greece has a wealth of historical heritage to draw upon in promoting its identity.  How can Greece use its rich history to improve its relations with other European countries, including Germany?

For many centuries, Greece has had a close relationship with Germany. There are many Greek institutions here in Germany. So, we have this history with Germany; something that both countries value and both countries want to preserve. Of course, our rich history attracts tourists, which, in turn, strengthens relations with the visiting countries.

Q3. Tourism is an important sector to Greece and its economy. What role does nation branding change play in attracting tourists to the country?

Branding a country will attract the tourists, but the only way someone will get to know the reality of the brand is if they visit and see the country for themselves. We get a lot of tourists who come here for the climate and for the all-inclusive hotels. We are trying to brand ourselves with our culture. We want to see a rise in cultural tourism, which will attract different types of tourists. We do want to also keep the 'all inclusive' tourists, but we would like to see a rise in cultural tourism so that people can really get to know Greece.

Q4. Has Greece's Nation Branding project improved its cultural diplomatic relations?

Yes, by branding ourselves as a place of culture, we are letting the world know our roots and who we are. If they know who we are, then we can build relationships. Our Nation Branding project has acted as a platform to help other countries see us, hear us and want to get to know us. They see that we have so much to offer, and they want to be a part of that. We are also a very open and friendly country, something we try to portray in our 'brand', and we hope that this will help other countries want to become involved with Greece and help them see that we also want to become involved with them.