Tourism is certainly one of the most important parameters of Sino-Greek relations. Although an increasing number of Chinese tourists are yearly visiting Greece since 2013, there is certainly room for a further boost. Santorini is one of the places that many Chinese tourists want to visit in the future. Following the filming of part of ‘Beijing Love Story’ movie in Santorini, the beautiful island has been introduced to millions of Chinese people. In particular, the two protagonists, Tony Leung and Carina Lau, tried to revive their love after twenty years of marriage travelling to the romantic island. During the dinner for their wedding anniversary they had a marvelous view of the volcano while an orchestra was playing live Greek music. After the Santorini shot Carina Lau posted some photos on social media leading her followers to immediately respond by calling the Greek island a ‘paradise on earth’!
Attempting to outline the upward tendency of Chinese tourists to visit Santorini, chinaandgreece.com had a telephone conversation with its Mayor Anastasios-Nikolaos Zorzos. In the view of Mr Zorzos Chinese tourists largely contribute to the economy of Santorini while their preference in the island goes beyond the recently filmed movie. That is because ‘Santorini has not only based its tourism on the sun and sea model but also on its special characteristics including the archaeological sites, the architecture, the unique geo-environment as well as its agricultural products’. ‘Chinese tourists enjoy all this’, he says.
Mayor of Santorini Zorzos also explains on chinaandgreece.com that the island seeks to expand its tourism season beyond the overcrowded summer period. In that regard, Chinese tourists play a highly important role. During the winter period of last year approximately 20 to 25 thousand people from Asia visited Santorini and perspectives for this winter are good. One hundred hotels are open in December to cover their needs. ‘We cordially welcome Chinese tourists while several shops and hotels attempt to incorporate their own special preferences of the visitors but without ignoring the local culture’, he asserts. According to Mr Zorzos most Chinese tourists show a high respect for the Greek landscape and its history.