Greece says Juneyao Air Co. to launch Athens-Shanghai flights in July

ATHENS, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Chinese airliner Juneyao Air Co. will launch direct flights connecting Shanghai to Athens in July, Greece’s tourism ministry said on Monday.

Juneyao and Greece have signed a deal on the new route during a three-day visit by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Shanghai.

Tourism accounts for about a quarter of economic output in the Mediterranean country, which saw a record number of about 33 million visitors last year.

About 125,000 Chinese tourists visited Greece in 2018 out of a total 140 million who travelled abroad. Athens wants Chinese tourist arrivals to quadruple to 500,000, the ministry said.

“The agreement for a direct Athens-Shanghai air connection will be crucial to achieve that goal,” Greece’s secretary general for tourism, Konstantinos Loulis, said in a statement. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, editing by Louise Heavens)