Greece Expects Increase in Chinese Tourism in 2019



Chinese visitors to Athens, Greece pose in front of the Parthenon. File photo

Greece foresees an even greater number of tourist arrivals from China in 2019, on top of the huge number of tourists already counted in the first eight months of this year, which represented a 22 percent increase over last year.

The new figures were projected and reported by both Greek and Chinese officials in an interview with the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua.

According to tourism industry officials, the number of Chinese individuals visiting Greece could actually be even higher, as many Chinese obtain visas issued by other European Union member states and visit more than one nation during their European holidays.

According to the European Tourism Commission, the number of Chinese tourists who visit the European Union has increased significantly, and is expected to rise even more over the next five years.

A total of 12.9 million Chinese nationals visited nations belonging to the E.U. in 2016, and the figure is projected to rise to 20 million people by the year 2022.

“At this stage, Greece is chosen by the Chinese particularly for city-break tourism, for weddings and honeymoons, and for luxury and culture tourism,” said Ioannis Plexousakis, head of the Greek National Tourism Organization office in Beijing.

Luxury and culture-based tourism, he added, is “one of the domains we are eager to place more emphasis on.”

The Greek Tourism Ministry’s strategy regarding the Chinese market is to strengthen the already-popular types of vacations. The Ministry also hopes to create new types of tourism for the Chinese market such as cruises, conferences, exhibitions, and health and sport activities.

In an effort to pique interest in these new types of travel, Greek authorities plan to hold various festivals in different Chinese cities which will celebrate Greek gastronomy, history and culture. The events will take place throughout 2019 in an effort to further strengthen the cultural and tourism connections which already exist between the two countries.