Ignatios Kaitezidis: Let’s open the door of cooperation with China more.

 

Costas Christidis, 6th of August 2016

- Mr. Mayor first of all we thank you for the interview you offer us. We’d like to tell us your opinion about the Chinese-Greek relations as they are formed lately. Which is by your opinion the geo-strategic direction of the two countries?

- Mr. Christidis I want to thank you also for the possibility you give me for contacting with the people of China, our friends, and to congratulate you for this important effort you’re doing with Greece – China Gate between the two countries. The two countries which have always a significant role in the evolution of the global history and they had and have something in common: They respect each other.

I believe that even Greece has the recent economic problems is always a stability pillar in a critical area of S.E. Europe. Talking about China we know well the geo-strategic advantages it has. In an area with many problems and tensions, the “Chinese giant” becomes more and more extrovert, gets bigger and searches for allies. Greece can be one of the reliable and faithful partners in Europe and worldwide.

 - In which fields do you believe they can grow more?

- The field of Culture is one of the most favorable field for bringing the two countries closer. I know that China and the Chinese people have a deep respect for the offer of Greece to Civilization. What is better than developing this positive ground, proceeding into bilateral cooperation between the Institutions of the two countries.

In a wide level the cooperation in the shipping field – where we have already big progress with the presence of COSCO in Piraeus port – can improve more the good “chemistry” between the two countries.

Greece and China can also develop entrepreneurship cooperation in the level of small – middle companies, where Greeks have a big success. By a start up of business activity of Greeks in Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere, but also by the reception of Chinese entrepreneurs in Athens, Thessaloniki and our islands too, this development can be achieved fast.

As an end, I underline Tourism, which is our big advantage in the Greek Economy. Many things can be done in this field. From the reinforcement of the tourism flow of the Chinese to Greece until the development of the Conference Tourism between the two countries are some examples. Our Municipality, with the modern and sophisticated facilities it has can be the leader in amplification of this route.

(We shall mention that the Municipality is really closer to the Airport than Thessaloniki and a 15 minutes distance from the City of Thessaloniki)

By these ways we will open more the door of cooperation between Greece and China.

- The incoming tourists from P.R. China in Northern Greece are leniently disappointing according to recent data. What you would do for developing a strong touristic – and not only – flow?  

- The communicational support of the product “Greece” in the colossal Chinese market shall be definitely invigorated. By the classic ways such as through N.T.O.G. but also by new media, which are attractive to young people, such as the Social Media of China.

Thessaloniki and our Municipality can be ideal destinations for the young Chinese tourist who will come and combine entertainment with a wonderful city-break, will watch the city’s sights but also will visit the big Malls of our Municipality.

Also, the voice of you and your “good testimony” about our country to your compatriots who live permanently in or often visit Greece, can help effectively to the promotion of our country in China.

-The Municipality of Pylea – Hortiatis (we have visited it with the Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of P.R. of China in Greece, when you offered us extraordinary hospitality) is a Municipality-example of quality of life. Which are the specific points which make it an ideal place for residency of the Chinese people who would like to inhabit here?

- Our Municipality has many advantages. It is in a central location in the urban tissue of Thessaloniki, being close to the Airport, has sea front, a very significant mountain area, tradition, history and lately excellent infrastructures. We’re also proud about the services to the citizen we offer. So we are absolutely attractive to the Chinese citizen who will decide to inhabit here and have business. They can also choose our Municipality as a permanent residence – our territory is the most luxury and high-leveled area of Thessaloniki and many foreigners are living here already.

I will insist in the field of Conference tourism and the excellent Municipal infrastructures. Our sophisticated halls can hospitalize conferences and meetings of a great range. We have the technology, the connections, the know-how, the right personnel and the right places for big tourist events, with Greek-Chinese color, but athletic and cultural events too.

- A few months ago the Chinese tourist flow to our country reduced essentially, mostly because of the terrorist actions in Europe. Which are, as you believe, the necessary actions for diverting the whole “climate”?

- The consequences of the terrorist actions to the Chinese tourist flow is a matter that needs time to be faced. We shall mention here that Greece is counted as a very safe country in comparison with other countries. This shall be known with a campaign in China, for diverting the wrong impressions. Of course this kind of issues can be solved by additional cooperation: As many meetings of Greek and Chinese officials would be as more tourists will come. Also the bridges between the two countries will be built. I insist that the image of Greece in the eyes of our Chinese friends shall be a definitely safe country, because we don’t have any examples of terrorist actions through history in our peaceful and hospital country.

- As far as we know you promote the sister-city relation between the Municipality and a Chinese city. How do you believe this relation must work?

- Firstly by the exchange of the knowing – how, which is a field that helps both sides. Culture and Civilization is the second level, where the two sides can be closer. We, here in our Municipality, have a huge love for Cinema – we have open air and winter municipal theaters in every area of the Municipality. The open-air cinema where anybody can watch a movie under the stars, is something that will make our Chinese friends excited. The idea of tributes to Chinese Cinema is something we can see. I personally find it very attractive!

- (smile) Would you learn Chinese?

- If I could have time why not? But free time is something rare according to the obligations I have for the Municipality! If our cooperation with a city of China will go on or your project I’m bounded to learn some words… It’s surely very interesting to communicate directly with a nation which has this history and global presence – and this communication to be in its own language.

- What is your opinion about the Chinese Cinema? Do you have any favorite movie?

- Although he is not very known in Greece I personally like him because he is lyric especially. We showed in our Municipality movies of Zhang Yimou and Ang Lee. One of my favorites is “Flying Daggers”. I can hardly forget that extraordinary dance of the “blind” actress (Zhang Ziyi), which wrote history in the global cinema.

- Our proposal for organizing a series of events under the Auspices of the Cultural Office of the Embassy of P.R. of China (Chinese Cinema Tribute, photo exhibitions, Chinese kitchen, athletic events, etc) will be welcome?

- Whatever comes from our friend the Chinese nation is well approved. It helps to the development of the relations between the two countries and to the understanding of the value of diversity. It opens the range of the ideas of our citizens too. We congratulate you again for the initiative which should be for covering a blank space in the specific field.

- Knowing your work for the Municipality of Pylea-Hortiatis (without any exaggeration will, just saying the truth) we would like to know if you’d be an energetic participant of the Organizing of the Year of China in Greece, which is proposed by our “Gate” from 2008.

- After what I already said it is obvious. And replying to your own language: 是的,当然!

- Mayor, Sir, we thank you a lot for the time you offered us, we are by your side in every action you make and we are sure that we will meet again very soon.

 

CV of the Mayor on Wiki (translate from Google in English): bit.ly/2aAStEn

 

We wish to thank the "Panorama" Hotel for its excellent hospitality

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