Concluding talks that began in January, Greece inked an agreement with Chinese carrier Juneyao Air for direct flights from Shanghai to Athens as of July 2020, the Greek tourism ministry announced on Monday.
The deal was signed during Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ three-day visit to China, by Secretary General for Tourism Konstantinos Loulis and Juneyao Air Co Ltd President and Director Zhao Hong Liang on the back of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed last week between Greece and China for the increase in the number of flights connecting the two countries to 35 weekly from the current 14.
“The direct air connection between Athens and Shanghai will play a vital role in boosting the number of Chinese travelers to Greece,” said Loulis.
“Of the more than 140 million Chinese tourists who traveled abroad in 2018, only 125,000 visited Greece. Our goal is to quadruple that number immediately to 500,000 Chinese tourists coming to Greece, and in the second year attract at least 1 percent of all Chinese who travel abroad,” he added, noting that only 9 percent of Chinese nationals currently hold a passport.
At the same time, Chinese shoppers accounted for 31 percent of all tax free shopping in the January-September 2019 period, and investors from China accounted for two in three golden visas granted through to September this year.