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Coronavirus’ Impact on Greek Tourism Seen to be Minimal

Chinese tourists wearing masks recently on their Santorini vacation

Greece’s Tourism Minister said on Thursday that the coronavirus epidemic will have a limited impact on the country’s tourism, since Chinese tourists constitute a small minority of visitors to the country.

Speaking on state broadcaster ERT, Haris Theocharis added that the target of attracting half a million Chinese visitors next year to Greece still remains unchanged.

Although he acknowledged that some “60 to 70 percent of bookings from China have been canceled to date,” he hastened to add he believes that the outbreak’s impact on Greek tourism will likely be very small.

“Out of the 31.35 million tourists we had last year, not including the 5.5 million cruise passengers, only 200,000 were Chinese. Therefore, we are only talking about a delay in the growth of a market that is still opening up, so it won’t have such a negative impact on the Greek tourism product,” Theoharis said.

The World Health Organization said on Friday that coronavirus cases are not rising dramatically outside China despite a spike recorded in Hubei province. The latest figures from China’s National Health Commission show 121 new deaths in the country, bringing the total to 1,380.

According to Chinese figures, the total number of coronavirus infections in the country jumped by 5,090, to 63,851, cases on February 13.

Related: Santorini Mayor ‘Not Particularly Concerned’ About Coronavirus Spread

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