Aiming to tap into one of the world’s largest markets, Greek authorities are seeking to make the visa process easier for Chinese nationals and to boost connectivity between Greece and China in efforts to bring in more visitors.
Alternate Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas met with online payment platform Alipay Europe (of Alibaba interests) representatives to discuss ways of facilitating visa procedures for Chinese nationals – a practice implemented last year for Russian travelers which paid off in numbers.
According to China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, Greece can expect to welcome more than 1.5 million Chinese travelers this year – 10 times more than last year – particularly due to their interest in ancient cultures.
Chinese holidaymakers will be able now to turn to Alibaba’s tourism platform Alitrip for their visit to Greece. More than 50 million Chinese users consult Alitrip and it’s operation in Greece is expected to bring in an additional 100,000 Chinese tourists.
According to Greek daily Kathimerini, Alipay – a main means of payment in China – will begin pilot operations in Greece in the coming months bringing on board some 20 Greek enterprises based on turnover. The Athens Traders Association will be working with Alitrip and Alipay providing info on shops, restaurants and sites of tourism and cultural interest.
In the same direction, the tourism ministry is making efforts to boost the number and frequency of flights via Singapore and Dubai.
In the meantime, 250 Chinese nationals traveled to Greece on board Celestyal Cruises’ “Celestyal Olympia” last week.