ECONOMY

Greece lands tourism prize in Shanghai

Greece has been chosen as the «Most Popular Travel Destination in Europe 2007-08» by China, proving that efforts to tap the Chinese tourism market are bearing fruit. Speaking at the opening of the World Travel Fair 2008 in Shanghai, where Greece is the honored country, Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos recognized the importance for Greece of the tourist market of Shanghai, as 600,000 of its citizens travel abroad every year. «Representing a country that organized the 2004 Olympic Games with absolute success,» Spiliotopoulos reiterated his certainty that China will be as successful in holding the 2008 Olympics. He also expressed his hope for the best possible cooperation between Greece and China «in the fields of economy and culture.» The WTF began on Thursday and ends tomorrow. It features 500 exhibitors from various countries and territories, while Greece’s kiosk by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) covers an area of 400 square meters. On Thursday, the WTF awards committee delivered an award to the Greek representation for the most popular destination in Europe. Yesterday, the signing of a protocol of cooperation between the GNTO and Shanghai was also due. Trade with HK Meanwhile, Greek exports to Hong Kong posted a 17.8 percent rise in 2007 compared with 2006, according to the president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Costas Michalos in Athens. Addressing an event titled «Hong Kong – A Trade Gateway to China,» Michalos said trade relations with the Asian territory are not yet at satisfactory levels but that business communities with the support of chambers could take even bolder steps to promote this cooperation. Exports to Hong Kong came to $47.3 million, while imports from HK grew a spectacular 60.1 percent year-on-year to $127.9 million.