SHANGHAI, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of visitors came to the Greek national exhibition Wednesday, the first day of extended country exhibitions at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, to experience authentic Greek culture.
The extended exhibitions, open to the public from Nov. 13 to 20, saw around 50,000 visitors register online per day.
Those who missed the expo need not be upset, as they can experience the Greek lifestyle in Hellas House, a Greek culture hub in Shanghai.
Founded by Greek entrepreneur Pavlos Kontomichalos, Hellas House features pure white marble, Greek sculptures and Mediterranean food and wine, providing a venue for Greece-related events such as Greek themed weddings, art exhibitions and wine tasting events.
"In Hellas House, we provide venue rental and catering services for high-end business banquets and private parties, and we are dedicated to becoming a hub for communication between China and Greece," said Li Xiaoting, director of marketing and sales of Hellas Group.
The success of Hellas House in Shanghai offers a glimpse of the increasingly close ties between China and Greece. At this year's CIIE, Greece was one of the 15 guest countries of honor. Nearly 70 Greek companies participated in the second CIIE, with the total turnover climbing by 2.5 times from a year ago.
Bilateral trade value between China and Greece in 2018 jumped 36.3 percent year on year to around 7.06 billion U.S. dollars.
Of all the sectors, tourism has always been a focus of China-Greece economic cooperation, as Greece has become a popular destination for Chinese tourists.
"Shortly after we launched our Greece travel packages for the winter holiday and Chinese lunar new year, which are usually low seasons for Greek tourism, we received many calls for information, and some have already booked tours," said Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager of Spring Tour, one of the leading travel companies in China.
Earlier this month, Juneyao Airlines, a Shanghai-based airline, has announced the launch of a direct air route linking Shanghai and Athens in June 2020 to further facilitate tourism between the two countries.
China's burgeoning outbound tourism market provides new opportunities for Greek companies including Hellas Group.
"Our travel company 'My Odyssey' saw an increasing number of Chinese tourists traveling to Greece over the past two years, " said Li. "We plan to launch more tailor-made trips to Greece in the future, offering travel packages focusing on education and business activities."