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Greece woos high-end Chinese visitors with upscale attractions
Greece expects to have more Chinese tourists visiting their country, as China now has become an important new tourist market, said Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura at a press conference during her visit to Shanghai on May 17.
Kountoura addressed Greece's tourism promotional strategy, which is focused on turning the country into a world-renowned tourist destination, the dynamic emergence of new Greek destinations and thematic tourism packages offered by Greece, as well presenting new investment opportunities in the tourism sector, including recreation and wellness tourism, thermal spas and hotels.
Greece first started targeting the Chinese market three years ago and soon saw a rise in the number of Chinese visitors from 2015 to 2017. Kountoura said that, for the past three years, the tourism ministry has been working in three ways to promote Greece tourism to Chinese visitors. These methods include preparing the local private sector for Chinese tourists to make them feel at home and improving the connectivity between the two countries. In September 2017, Greece and China opened a direct airline from Beijing to Athens. Operated by Air China three times a week, it cuts travel time to just ten hours. 
"China is a major important market for us. The Athens-Beijing nonstop flight launched in September 2017 has been a huge success. Arrivals from China increased by 35 percent in 2017 and is expected to increase 50 percent for 2018," said Kountoura.
High-end tourism
According to statistics from the Consulate General of Greece in Shanghai, Greece expects to see over 150,000 Chinese visitors in 2018; a majority of Chinese tourists visiting Greece are from the upper class. 
Statistics from 2017 show that two out of every three Chinese travelers to Greek have a high income and spend an average of 5,679 euros (42,664 yuan) during their trip.
Kountoura said Greece has full capacity to receive this large number of visitors and plans to promote new sites and tourist destinations other than the two most well-known destinations - Athens and Santorini. 
"Greece is an open museum. I would say we can spoil you with a lot of choices," said Kountoura, adding that their tourism industry also aims to extend the summer season and develop more winter season tourism projects, making Greece a 365-day destination.
"We expanded the summer tourist period by about two months, which led to a 30-percent increase in international tourist arrivals from March to November, and we also increased winter tourism by 20 percent per year," said Kountoura.
Kountoura attended the opening of the Hellas House, a unique Greek Culture & Lifestyle Center in the heart of Shanghai. The center aspires to become a landmark hub in Shanghai to showcase Greek culture, gastronomy and hospitality, while enticing Chinese travelers to visit Greece.
  Source: Global Times

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