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Seoul-Athens Direct Air Link a Priority for Greece, Says Tourism Ministry

Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura with Hanjin Travel President Park Inchai, KAL-PAK Vice President An Kyowook and KAL Tours General Manager Park Dongryong.

Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura with Hanjin Travel President Park Inchai, KAL-PAK Vice President An Kyowook and KAL Tours General Manager Park Dongryong.

Establishing a direct air connection between Athens and Seoul is among the priorities of the Greek Tourism Ministry, an announcement on Friday said.

During her recent visit to South Korea, Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura held a number of meetings with Korean government ministers, leading South Korean airlines and travel groups, aiming to strengthen the connectivity of the country with Greece.

Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura with Hong Young-pyo, the floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party.

Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura with Hong Young-pyo, the floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party.

Among others, Minister Kountoura met with South Korean Minister of Culture and Tourism Do Jong-hwan, Patriots and Veterans Affairs Minister Pi Woo-jin and the floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party and head of the Greco-Korean Parliamentary Friendship Group, Hong Young-pyo.

According to the ministry’s announcement, all parties have pledged to support Minister Kountoura’s initiative for the launch of a direct Athens-Seoul route.

Korean Air

The Greek tourism minister also met with senior executives of Korean Air and leading South Korean travel groups KAL and Hanjin Travel. Talks focused on boosting the tourist flow from South Korea to Greece through the launch of Seoul-Athens direct flights.

“All parties intend to work more closely with the Tourism Ministry and the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) to speed up the procedures leading to the launch of a new air link for the next summer tourism season in 2019,” the ministry said.

According to reports, Korean Air is considering the launch of scheduled flights to Athens from Seoul in the summer of 2019 with the support of KAL and Hanjin travel groups.

Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura with Korean Air Vice President Lee Jinho, Korean Air General Manager Hoon Jun and Ambassador of Greece to South Korea Ifigenia Kontoleontos.

Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura with Korean Air Vice President Lee Jinho, Korean Air General Manager Hoon Jun and Ambassador of Greece to South Korea Ifigenia Kontoleontos.

Ministry figures show that arrivals from South Korea to Greece have grown six times since 2014 – when only 11,000 Korean tourists visited Greece – to more than 50,000 visitors in 2017 and nearly 70,000 in 2018.

The ministry aims to attract 200,000 Korean tourists by 2020.

While in Seoul, Minister Kountoura also held meetings with leading Korean entertainment business stakeholders, aiming to promote Greece across Asia through cinema, TV, music and fashion.

The Greek tourism minister visited South Korea to participate in the 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism that took place between September 16-19 in Seoul.

At the summit Minister Kountoura presented Greece’s practices for the sustainable development of its tourism destinations.

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