Chinese tourists are eager to return to Greece for holidays and weddings, but the strict quarantine of at least three weeks they face upon getting back home is deterring them from fulfilling their dream, say two experts on China.
They are Marianna and Sofia Erotokritou, the 25-year-old identical twins who made Beijing their second home during their studies and now in Athens are looking forward to going back there once the pandemic subsides.
“All this suppressed demand for Greece in China will later be expressed with a great increase in arrivals, although Greece only accounts for a small fraction of outbound Chinese tourism,” says Marianna.
Born in Greece to a Greek mother from Central Macedonia and a Cypriot father from Limassol, they took the leap in the unknown upon finishing school in Athens to go and study in China.
Seven years and two degrees in Beijing later, the Erotokritou sisters, known in China as the “Greek Twins,” have captured the imagination of the Chinese world, becoming a window to Greece amid the pandemic for the world’s most populous nation. This is through their social media presence, videos and live sessions online followed by thousands of Chinese web users who want to catch a glimpse of the other major ancient civilization and its picturesque setting. The Beijing office of the Greek National Tourism Organization has rushed to their support.
Their work in promoting Greek tourism, culture, history, food and even music has earned them the acknowledgement of the Greek and Cypriot governments, with Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis appointing them to the informal post of Greek tourism ambassadors in China.
Last month they were also distinguished for their participation in the international video competition on Chinese Language Day.
They selflessly promote Greek destinations week in, week out on Chinese social media platforms and have a huge following that allows them to have a very good picture of Chinese tourism as far as Greece is concerned.
“It is mainly the middle incomes in China that visit Greece, have their wedding (or its photo set) on Greek islands, or acquire property in this country,” says Sofia. “The low threshold of 250,000 euros is particularly attractive for them,” she adds, referring to the Golden Visa requirement for a five-year residence permit.
As the lighting of the Olympic Flame for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is just a few months away, Marianna and Sofia would be the ideal torchbearers, given their unique status as promoters of Greek culture in the Chinese sphere.