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Greece expects 30 million visitors in 2017, Chinese tourist arrivals on rise

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-07-07 11:09

ATHENS — Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday that his country is expected to break through for first time the 30 million visitors barrier this year, said an e-mailed press release from his office.

Tourism, a traditional pillar of Greek economy, which withstood the debt crisis in the past seven years, is performing well and the aim is to extend the tourist season and increase tourism's added value, the Greek prime minister said in a meeting with the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE).

Chinese tourists arrivals, among the growing number of foreign visitors to Greece, are on the rise in recent years with prospects to further increase, according to the Greek-Chinese Economic Council.

Chinese tourists in Greece during 2017 will exceed 170,000, increasing by 10-15 percent compared to last year, the Council noted in an e-mailed press release, citing official data from Greek consulates in China and estimates by tourism industry representatives.

Since 2010 the number of visas issued in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou has grown six fold, the Greek-Chinese Economic Council noted.

The gradual increase of the number of flights from China by the end of this year and the new profile of Piraeus as a home port for cruise liners are highlighted among the factors which can help further increase the number of Chinese visitors to Greece up to 1.5 million annually within the next five years, the Council added.

An analysis of the data regarding visas issued in the past two years in China by Greek consulates showed that tourism is the top reason Chinese choose to visit Greece.

For example, out of the 23,903 Chinese who received a visa from Beijing in 2016 to travel to Greece, 20,618 opted to do so as tourists, while 2,515 visited Greece for business, the Greek-Chinese Economic Council stressed.

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