ECONOMY

Greece featured in Beijing

BEIJING – Greece is focusing on its cultural attributes at this year’s Beijing International Tourism Exhibition (BITE) to tap at least a small part of the increasing number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad. «No trip of Chinese visitors to Europe can be considered complete if it does not include Greece or if it does not start from it,» Tourism Development Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia said at the opening of BITE yesterday. Greece is the honored country at BITE for a second year running, and its presence is especially marked, with a huge pavilion and giant billboards in Beijing airport and the exhibition’s surrounding area. Accompanying events yesterday included a performance by Greek artists of the works of famous composer Mikis Theodorakis at the Zhong Shan music theater, inside the Chinese capital’s Forbidden City. Petralia, who is heading a cross-party delegation, is due to sign a memorandum for cooperation in tourism with the Chinese government today. Yesterday she met with the Chinese ministers of sports and culture, as well as with senior officials of Air China, with a view to exploring ways of improving air transport between the two countries. She also visited Greek-owned shops in a recently opened mall. An estimated 6 million Chinese tourists traveled abroad last year, of whom 2 million visited one or more of the 25 European Union member states.