Sui Hui, commercial councilor in Greece for China’s embassy here, last month told delegates to the seminar “From Athens to Beijing: The Olympic Bridge” that they had best get ready for Chinese visitors, “but first you must get prepared.”
Ms Hui said that for the past three years we have been promoting tourism to Greece through the use of our common country traits, which include our countries having two of the world’s oldest civilizations and that China holds the Olympic Games after Athens.
But, she said, many Greek tourism enterprises are not ready for the Chinese tourist. “The Chinese are cultural tourists, they prefer all periods except the peak hot summer period, and they want to take advantage of every available minute with well-organized, all-inclusive day tours.”
She stressed the absolute need for punctuality, precise organization and non-stop visits. She also said that Chinese tourists expect to find slippers, tooth paste and tooth brushes in their hotel rooms.
“The Chinese will travel anywhere in Greece where there is history, but they refuse to waste precious time waiting or sitting in coffee shops,” she said.
Ms Hui added that she was confident that the problems with obtaining visas for Greece would be solved soon. Greece has Approved Destination Status from Chinese authorities.
Deputy Minister for Tourism Anastassios Liaskos, who also addressed the Sino-Greek forum organized by the International Herald Tribune, said his ministry would soon ensure that Hellenic Tourism Organization offices would be set up in both Beijing and Shanghai. As well, Mr. Liaskos said the ministry is targeting the Chinese market through a broad and ambitious program aimed at Greece becoming the top choice in Europe for Chinese tourists in the next few years. He invited the Greek and Chinese entrepreneurs at the forum to cooperate on tourism, assuring them that Athens will do all it can to serve the common aim.