Greece offers major comparative advantages as a trade hub and tourism destination, both through its geostrategic position and through its cultural heritage and natural beauty, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis noted in an interview with the Chinese network CGTN on Tuesday.
«Greece is ‘open for business’. We are attracting Chinese, European, American and Japanese investments. I would like, however, to point out that the Chinese invested in the port of Piraeus when few other countries were considering direct investments in Greece’s infrastructure. This is, therefore, a project that will move forward. This is a commitment that we have made and I sincerely believe it is a win-win project for all involved,» Mitsotakis said.
The Greek prime minister pointed out that ships carrying goods from Asia to Europe could save between seven and 10 days if they sailed to the port of Piraeus, which is a natural gateway for goods, instead of the ports of northern Europe. He also stressed that Greece’s ultimate goal is to make Piraeus the biggest port in the Mediterranean and that the Greek government has approved a new cycle of investments in two months that will significantly upgrade the port.
Greek exports to China
Mitsotakis noted the government’s determination to open up the massive Chinese market to Greek goods, in a bid to boost growth through exports. He said that Greece wants to focus on the agri-food products market, through its high-quality wines, cheeses and olive oil, at a time when a growing Chinese middle class is exploring new gastronomic choices.
«It is our intention to make our presence felt in China,» Mitsotakis said, noting that Greek products could benefit from the EU-China agreement for protecting geographic origin indication products, such as feta cheese.
Tourism, cultural exchanges
Regarding tourism, the Greek PM repeated that Greece’s goal is to attract 500,000 Chinese tourists by 2021. He pointed out that Greece was the first country on the route from China to Europe, while its rich history offered a unique experience for visitors.
«If you are Chinese and come to Europe, you must come to Greece,» Mitsotakis said, highlighting the «cultural connection» between the two ancient civilisations, both of which have had a profound impact on the world.
He said that Greece has a strategy for boosting cultural exchanges and tourism, and Athens is planning a Year of Culture and Tourism for 2021.
Highlighting the introduction of a second direct flight between Greece and China, from Shanghai to Athens, Mitsotakis said the Greek side hoped to see even more direct air connections.
He also expressed hopes for a more intense promotion of Greek services in major electronic travel platforms.
Mitsotakis also underlined that Greece wants to attract Chinese audiovisual productions to Greece, thus deepening the the familiarity of the Chinese with Greece.