Greek Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura believes that there is great potential to increase tourist arrivals from China to Greece.
“Last year, 150,000 Chinese tourists visited Greece and if, within the next two to three years, we manage for that figure to range from 500,000 to 1 million, I will be satisfied,” Ms Kountoura said while giving an interview on Thursday to Greek radio station Praktoreio 104.9 FM, adding that that success for Greek tourism will be to increase revenue in accordance to arrival growth.
According to the alternate tourism minister, some 100 million Chinese travel annually worldwide, almost all seasons of the year with 4-6 million opting to visit several European countries.
Citing data, Ms Kountoura said that last year Greece welcomed 150,000 tourists from China, while in the previous years annual arrivals from that market did not exceed 40,000.
“There is great potential to increase tourist arrivals from China, provided that the necessary promotion will take place”, she concluded.
China: Greece’s ‘strategic goal’
While speaking to journalists during a recent press conference in Athens, Minister Kountoura said that China is among the key target markets the ministry is aiming to promote Greece as a “unique tourism destination” and the most competitive in Europe.
“China is firmly our strategic goal… Our strategy in China is dynamic and concrete and includes the excellent political relations of our government, the reliable opening of investment opportunities and the promotion of thematic tourism”, she said, adding that the government is attempting to establish direct flights all year round from Greece to China.
“Greece can become an ideal destination for all 12 months of the year for Chinese travellers”, she said.
Greece signs tourism agreement with China
Ms Kountoura’s statements came after Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism Minister Giorgos Stathakis recently signed an agreement with China’s National Tourism Administration.
The scheme, which has a three-year duration, foresees among others bilateral support in tourism promotion; the exchange of expertise in alternative forms of tourism, including cultural, wedding, medical and wellness; the promotion of the two countries as film production destinations; intensive language courses for tourism professionals; the opening of investment programs and incentives for new investment opportunities in the tourism sector; launching direct flights between Athens and Beijing; and boosting cooperation within international organizations.