At least 130,000 citizens who visited Pavilion 1 at the 84th Thessaloniki International Fair had the opportunity to see the social and operational face of the Armed Forces, exceeding all expectations.
This year's presence of the Ministry of National Defence was a total success and was characterised by a new, innovative perception and aim, focusing on extroversion. The public showed great interest in the impressive exhibits and the multifaceted activities presented at the Pavilion of the Armed Forces from 7 to 15 September 2019, marking an all-time visitor high.
A great boost to the promotion of the Pavilion of the Armed Forces, already from the first day, was given by the presence of the Prime Minister, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was given a tour of the Armed Forces exhibits and briefed extensively on the entire range of activities. Officials and the public attended with great interest the opening by the Minister of National Defence, Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos.
During the above period, the Pavilion was visited by the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Panagiotis Pikrammenos, Cabinet members, MPs, representatives of various entities and chambers, state officials, representatives of the Church and foreign diplomatic delegations, as well as Defence Attachés from Allied and partner states.
For its great contribution to the success and promotion of the Fair, the President of "TIF – Helexpo" SA, Mr. Anastasios Tzikas and its Managing Director, Mr. Kyriakos Pozrikidis, together with the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Mr. Konstantinos Zervas, gave a special honorary award to the Ministry of National Defence, which was received by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Information, Mr. Haris Lazaropoulos, on behalf of the Ministry, and the Director of Public Relations, Commodore Ioannis Pattas HN, on behalf of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff.
With the motto "Together, Always", this year's participation of the Ministry of National Defence in the Thessaloniki International Fair focused on promoting the Armed Forces Social Contribution Year, presenting a new strategy for communication, promotion, and staying in touch with society through a broad range of actions and initiatives.
The initiatives introduced by the Ministry of National Defence included the first live broadcasting of the Armed Forces TV show "With Virtue and Boldness", which made quite an impression. Furthermore, nine information workshops were held at a special area in the pavilion of the Ministry of National Defence, capturing the public's interest.
Inside the Pavilion, visitors had the opportunity, using virtual reality, to pilot fighters and helicopters, feel the adrenalin rush of freefalling with a parachute, feel like tank gunners for a while, and participate in a Search and Rescue operation on a warship. At the same time, they had the opportunity to see the "Indians of the Aegean", the Kiowa helicopters, attend an impressive explosives disposal demonstration by the Land Minefield Clearance Battalion, and look at the impressive models of an F-16 and a Mirage-2000 aircraft.
The young friends of the Armed Forces had their own corner in the Pavilion, living the experience of the combat course, the climbing – rappelling tower, and face painting.