Greek Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos expressed confidence on Thursday that Greece and China will be the best tourist partners in the near future after the two governments managed to vigorously promote their cooperation in the tourism sector.
In an interview with Xinhua prior to his visit to China, Avramopoulos said that Greece and China, both of whom have a splendid civilization and a long history, are experiencing a new good opportunity to promote their bilateral ties due to the Olympic Games.
"In the course of time, Greece and China will be best partners,"the minister told Xinhua.
The minister, during his visit in China, is expected to hold talks with the head of China's Tourism Bureau and sign the cooperation agreement in the tourism sector.
He said that two tourism offices will be opened in Beijing and Shanghai respectively, in order to "facilitate Chinese tourists and help them get the visa."
The minister also promised to open more offices in big cities in China to encourage more Chinese tourists to Greece and to facilitate their visa application.
He will take part in the official inauguration ceremony of the Beijing tourism office.
Informed sources said that the minister will also explore the possibility of direct flight between Beijing and Athens when he meets Air China leadership in Beijing.
A direct flight link between the two countries will greatly enhance their tourism cooperation and bring more and more outgoingChinese tourists to Greece, which has become a catchword in ordinary Chinese people due to its outstanding mythology and successful Olympic Games.
In order to take advantage of Greece's good image after the Olympic Games, the Greek tourism ministry has earmarked a record 70 million euros for global publicity. Greece has proclaimed itself as a year-round tourism resort with package programs of SPAtourism, gulf tourism, agro-ecology tourism and even the religioustourism.
The Greek government plans to create 150,000 jobs in the tourism industry in 10-year's time, and to increase the ratio of tourism revenue in GDP from the current 17-20 percent up to 35-40 percent.