“Air China links Beijing with Athens, China with Greece and aspires to bring China closer to Europe through Greece.” This was the central message of the “Discover China” event organised on Thursday by Air China and Tourism Generis, with a view to informing select partners on the development of tourism between the two countries.
Fan Heyun, Air China Chief Executive Officer in Athens, said Air China is facilitating tourism flows, which are particularly important for Greece and which will become even more important as the middle class in China, which now corresponds to 30 pct of the population from just 3 pct twenty years ago, continues to enlarge. The momentum is great, as the income of the Chinese is growing, along with their spending on travel. Over the past 25 years, he noted, China’s passenger numbers have risen at an average annual rate of about 14 pct, which is 1.5 times the growth rate of China’s GDP.
Air China, which recently added a third direct flight a week, aspires to help the Chinese to discover Greece and to make it easy for those Greeks to learn more about China. George Drakopoulos from Tourism Generis presented the characteristics of outgoing tourism from China, with particular reference to understanding the specific preferences of Chinese tourists, the segmentation of the Chinese market, the adjustment of the supply of Greek tourism businesses, and communication and sales promotion methods in China.
He then stressed that Greece has so far failed to gain the market share it could aspire to, based on surveys of its popularity among Chinese travelers, for a number of reasons. China’s market should be made a priority on the basis of a three-year plan based on market research and ongoing marketing actions to generate sufficient demand, he said, which will allow the addition of more direct flights.