The possibility of launching a direct Athens-Beijing flight to boost tourism traffic between Greece and China was one of the main topics discussed between Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni and the chairman of China’s National Tourism Administration, Shao Qiwei, during the minister’s recent visit to China.
Mrs. Kefalogianni participated last week (15-19 May) in the Greek delegation to China headed by Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. The PM’s official visit to China was to boost bilateral trade, investments and tourist travel.
Greece is looking to attract more Chinese visitors than the some 60,000 that arrived last year and is working to open direct flights between the two countries and ease the visa procedures for Chinese travelers.
According to the latest developments on visa facilitation for Chinese travelers to Greece, the Greek Foreign Ministry had said it intended to increase the number of Greek visa centers in China, as, currently, there are only three to serve the entire country.
Language barrier – Chinese nationals to tour compatriots in Greece
One of the outcomes of the tourism minister’s discussions in China was that Greece has agreed to grant special permission to Chinese tour guides to give guided tours to compatriots vacationing in Greece.
(It has been mentioned on many occasions that the language barrier is also a factor that keeps the Chinese away, as no museum and archaeological sites have signs in Chinese nor do Greek tourism workers speak the language).
In addition, to makes things easier in this area, the Greek Tourism Ministry has released a Chinese version of an innovative smartphone application geared to promote the Greek capital as a destination.
During her stay in China, Mrs. Kefalogianni was applauded by Chinese officials when she presented the new smartphone app for mobile phones and tablets.
The app contains useful information for Chinese tourists visiting Athens.
Greece to star in Chinese motion picture
During her stay in China, Mrs. Kefalogianni also sealed a deal with China’s Wanda Media group for the motion picture “Beijing Love Story” to be shot in Greece.
Filming will begin this July in Athens and Santorini and the film is expected to be released in February 2014. The name of Greece and the Greek National Tourism Organization’s logo will appear in the film’s promo campaign.
“Glamorous Greece” on the air
The CCTV documentary was filmed exclusively in Greece in collaboration with Greece’s Public Broadcasting Corporation (ERT).
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras attended the premiere, during his visit in China, and said he hoped the documentary would enhance understanding and communication between Greece and China.