Kikilias: Greece eager to host Chinese tourists again

Kikilias: Greece eager to host Chinese tourists again

Greece is ready to welcome back Chinese travelers after China’s Covid-19 reopening, Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias told Xinhua.

“We are ready to greet our Chinese friends, travelers and tourists, in this new tourist season,” he said on Thursday.

The outbreak of the pandemic put the brakes on an impressive increase in Chinese arrivals in Greece in recent years.

In 2011, just 70,373 Chinese tourists visited Greece, according to official data from Athens International Airport.

However, following the launch of the first direct flight between Athens and Beijing in 2019, this number reached 217,600.

On December 22 a second direct flight was launched by Air China between Athens and Shanghai, which is expected to further boost arrivals.

“For us, China and the Chinese market are very important in terms of tourism, but also culture, and we are very happy to have top-shelf relationships with the Chinese people,” Kikilias said.

The Chinese hold a special place in the hearts of Greek people, and play an important role for Greek tourism stakeholders due to their unique characteristics compared to other visitors. They tend to travel off-season, and appreciate culture, Kikilias stated.

“They’re deeply involved in finding out about our culture and our civilization, since in both countries culture and civilization go many centuries back,” he said. [Xinhua]

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