Air China to begin Greek flights in May
Friday 25 March 2011
Air China will in May begin flights from Beijing to Athens, Greek officials said Thursday, with the debt-hit eurozone country eager to tap tourism income from the vast Chinese market.
"In early May, Air China will begin flights from Beijing to Athens via Munich," Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis said after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Fu Ying.
Greece, grappling with massive debt of over 300 billion euros ($425 billion), is trying to shore up its finances by boosting a tourism industry which accounts for nearly a fifth of its economy.
Fu noted that out of 60 million Chinese who travelled abroad in 2010, only 10,000 came to Greece.
"Our two countries are working to simplify tourist visas to Greece," Kouvelis said.
Fu was in Athens to deliver a letter of thanks from Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to his counterpart George Papandreou for Greek assistance in evacuating over 13,000 Chinese workers from conflict-torn Libya via Crete.
Over 36,000 Chinese overall were pulled out of Libya, making their way home through Greece, Malta and other countries.
"This enormous operation would not have happened without Greek help," Fu said, adding: "It is in difficult circumstances where true friends are seen."
In turn, she noted that China intended to continue its financial support of Greece, which almost defaulted last year when concerns about the state of its deficit-ridden economy sent its borrowing costs to unmanageable levels.
During a visit in October, Prime Minister Wen promised to buy Greek bonds as soon as the debt-hit country returns to the long-term money markets.
"China keeps its promises," Fu said.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Hashima: Among the ruins on Japan's Battleship Island, the place that time forgot
Top 10 cheapest cities to visit, according to TripAdvisor
A commuter is getting revenge on First Capital Connect by Photoshopping its CEO's face every time his train is delayed
Simon Calder: Heathrow's Terminal 2, barely powered up and it's unfit for the job
48 Hours in: Hong Kong
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...
Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...
£33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...
£30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...