Classic Greece lures Chinese with beautiful scenery, breath of romance
Updated: 2014-06-20 07:19
By Zheng Xin (China Daily)
Santorini islands in Greece.This popular wedding destination in the southern Aegean Sea is a group of islands in the southernmost part of the Cyclades. The whole complex of Santorini islands is considered to be the most sought-after place for a romantic getaway.[Photo/IC]
Greece aims to attract more Chinese tourists this year, carving out a bigger share of a lucrative and ever-growing gold mine of outbound travelers.
About 100,000 Chinese tourists are expected to head to Greece in 2014, many of them young travelers on honeymoons or seeking exotic wedding photos, according to the Greek National Tourism Organization.
"About 40,000 Chinese applied for a visa to Greece in 2013," said Sun Yanan, publicity officer at the organization's Beijing office.
Taking into account that tourists might enter Greece from other Schengen countries in Europe, the total number of Chinese tourists visiting the country last year was estimated at 80,000, she said.
The number is expected to grow to 100,000 this year, Sun said.
Schengen countries in Europe are the 26 that allow passport-free movement across their common borders.
With more frequent and direct flights between Greece and China, it is believed the Greek islands will attract more Chinese visitors in the future, according to the economic and commercial counselor's office of the Chinese embassy in Greece.
Yang Jinsong, a China Tourism Academy professor, said mainland travelers are looking to destinations outside Southeast Asia after the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines flight in March from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.