(Greece) – Giorgos Stathakis, the Greek Economy Minister, has signed a deal with China to develop a relationship of tourism between the two countries. The deal, which was made with the official tourism administration in China, will last for three years and includes a regular schedule of direct flights between Beijing and Athens.
This tourism deal is to include more than just opening up flights between the two countries. It will also encourage a spirit of promotion where both countries will promote each other through media, film, and television. There will also be mutual language training for the tourism industry including comprehensive training course in Chinese for Greeks and vice versa. Mutual cooperation through organizations like the World Tourism Organization will also be encouraged with the two countries.
Greek government officials, including the Greek Economy Minister and Greek Prime Minister, have been in China for the past few days in an effort to encourage the Chinese to invest in Greece. Earlier in the week, Greece entered into a privatization deal with the Port of Piraeus where China now has a 65% majority stake at the port. The Chinese use Piraeus as their main port of entry for Europe and other places throughout the world. Greece is desirable because of its close proximity to places like the Suez Canal.
As part of the talks, Stathakakis gave a speech at the China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Forum to Fuel Growth. During his speech, he indicated that there were a lot of opportunities to assist the Greek economy by opening things up with China. One of the main ways to do that is through tourism and also through infrastructure deals. The Greek government believes that opportunities like this are what the struggling Greek economy needs in order to rebound. The Greek government also believes that tourism is one of the country’s greatest assets.