Over the past 6 to 7 years the number of Chinese tourists to Greece has increased an impressive 10 times, reaching 150,000 from only 15-20,000, with the prospects looking even brighter over the next decade. The number of direct flights from Beijing to the international airport of Athens has substantially increased since Air China introduced direct flights at the end of September.
The promising figures were presented during talks at the 33rd Philoxenia International Tourism Expo that is taking place in Thessaloniki (Nov. 10-12) which focused on Asian tourism and the position of Greece in the European market as an entry point to Europe for the Asian visitors.
General Secretary of Tourism Policy and Development, Mr. Giorgos Tziallas, noted that the Chinese market is particularly important for Europe and Greece and referred to the Ministry of Tourism’s efforts to reach Asia as part of its strategy for opening up new markets. He also stressed that in 2017 our country will achieve record tourists, with visitors estimated to reach 30 million.
On his part, Ivy Alliance Tourism Consulting Vice President David Tang said the number of Chinese travellers had reached its peak in 1998, when it was only 9 million, to 122 million in 2016, while outgoing flows are constantly rising. He focused on the Chinese preference for shopping, noting that the Chinese tourist spends about $ 2,000 on average, while he said China has 4,000 travel agencies dealing with outbound tourism.