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Politics

With COVID Precautions, Greece Welcomes Chinese Tourists Again

Outbreaks of COVID-19 again in China isn’t keeping Greece from inviting Chinese tourists from coming, although they’ll have to show they aren’t infected among health restrictions.

Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias told China’s state news agency Xinhua that, “We are ready to greet our Chinese friends, travelers and tourists, in this new tourist season,” as Greece is trying to lure visitors year-round and looking ahead to the spring the summer season already.

The pandemic show numbers of Chinese dwindle to next to nothing after the Coronavirus broke out in that country and put the world on hold and essentially ceased international air travel.

In 2011, just 70,373 Chinese tourists visited Greece, according to official data from Athens International Airport but after the launch of the first direct flight between Athens and Beijing in 2019, it hit 217,600, the news agency noted.

On December 22, 2022 a second direct flight was launched by Air China between Athens and Shanghai, which is expected to further boost arrivals.

“For us, China and the Chinese market are very important in terms of tourism, but also culture, and we are very happy to have top-shelf relationships with the Chinese people,” Kikilias said.

He said that Greece and China are interested in ancient cultures, both countries going back eons. “They’re deeply involved in finding out about our culture and our civilization, since in both countries culture and civilization go many centuries back,” he also said.

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