The "halara" style of Thessaloniki, as he typically calls it, he aspires to make it famous to his home and around the world, an Indian student at the International University of Greece, who was fascinated by the rhythms of the city!
Only 26-year-old Kushal S Mehta from Jaisalmer, India, a city located in the Thar Desert, has already published an online magazine in English (https://www.sigmag.org) about Thessaloniki, which, according to him has, so far, been flipped about 5000 people from 62 different countries.
“I came to Thessaloniki about 2 years ago to do my Masters in Tourism at the International Hellenic University and I loved this city but found that, unfortunately, it is unknown to most foreigners, who only know Athens, Santorini and Mykonos from Greece.”, the young student tells ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ.
Impressed by the "beautiful and vibrant city, with its relaxed pace and people who are always eager to help others," he decided, with the help of friends and volunteers, to do something to promote it more widely.
"With a group of about 15 people from Greece and abroad, we set up the magazine trying to give a positive mark to Thessaloniki and inspire others to visit it. My goal is to make the city known in even more countries because it's really worth it, "Mr. Mehta said.
He also adds to the positive features that "it has a very good size so you can walk everywhere, especially in downtown and Ano Poli, it has good food, it is relatively clean and safe."
"And to counter the objections to cleanliness and safety, make comparisons not to other European cities but, for example, to Asian ones. As for security, when I talk to locals and they tell me they don't feel safe, I laugh, because they really don't know what it means to feel insecure about moving around to your place”, adds the 26-year-old.
The young man, who wants to build a "bridge between Greece and Asia", is preparing the second issue of his online magazine and invites those who wish to contribute, either to volunteer or to help through crowdfunding (www.sigmag.org / support). "Even help of 3 Euro," he urges, "as much as a coffee cost will help"
However, for the first issue of the magazine, he has reached an agreement with Travel Daily News to send it to 52,000 registered members and has closed a partnership with the Association of Social Political Reforms, which has a network of 10,000 people in India. At the same time, another initiative is underway entitled "1000 Reasons to Love Thessaloniki", where videos are collected, up to 45'', by people who state the reasons they love Thessaloniki.
"The goal is to gather statements of love for 1000 people and eventually make a movie," explains Mehta. "The joke is," he adds, "that locals, mainly because of unemployment, want to leave for other countries while foreigners coming to Thessaloniki want to stay forever."
"But the point is, even in such economic conditions, to be able to create your own working environment," he notes. Of course, although he loves Thessaloniki and will stay for a few more months to do his PhD, he always misses his home while he "belongs", as he says, "to the desert" ...
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