Tourism cooperation between China and Greece is booming as the cradle of Western civilization is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Chinese travelers.
Between 150,000 and 200,000 Chinese tourists visited Greece last year, an increase of over 20 percent from the year before, according to the Beijing Office of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO).
During his recent visit to Shanghai, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said his country aims to raise that number to 500,000 by 2021.
Ioakim Tsimpidis, spokesman for Athens International Airport, said that traffic in 2018 – both direct and indirect – from the Chinese market to Greece’s biggest airport rose 65 percent, while incoming passengers flying directly from Beijing more than doubled in a year, with an increase of 161 percent from 2017.
The upward trend is continuing in 2019, Tsimpidis said in a recent interview with Xinhua, adding that the numbers “have been spectacular.”
In addition, direct flights from Shanghai to Athens are expected to be launched in 2020. The growing importance of the Chinese market is clearly reflected in comparative data.
“China last year entered our top 20 international markets, being number 20 in 2018, while in the first nine months of 2019, it reached the 16th position, demonstrating very fast and dynamic growth,” said Tsimpidis.
Nina Kalampogia of Athens Silk Road International Travel, one of the earliest Chinese travel agencies in Greece, said that the number of Chinese visitors is rising, and more and more Chinese are choosing to book their holiday through online platforms.