The Belt & Road Initiative will create greater growth momentum for major business sectors, particularly tourism and investment, in countries like China and Greece, says Executive of a London based multinational property investment and development company.

“The Belt & Road Initiative has given us the opportunity to plan an extension for our Crystal Waters brand to Istanbul, Sofia, Vietnam, and across some regions in China,” Pantazis Therianos, Chief Executive Officer of Euroterra Capital.

Therianos, who founded Crystal Waters, a sister company of Euroterra Capital, to develop serviced luxury villas and apartments globally, said Greece is surrounded by three seas, making the shipping and export industries key sectors for the country, and the waters form the backbone of the Greek economy.

The Greek government approved a 600-million-euro ($660 million) investment plan by China COSCO Shipping Corp in the country’s largest port, Piraeus earlier, this month

Therianos said China’s strategic investments in Piraeus will transform it into one of the leading container ports in the Mediterranean.

“This will result in modernisation of the Port’s infrastructure, which will include new facilities for cruise ships and warehouses, as well as new residential units and hotels, that offer excellent opportunities for us to expand our Crystal Waters brand,” he said.

Euroterra Capital is liaising with the Greek authorities to discuss how Crystal Waters could add significant value to the project.

The number of Chinese tourists to Greece has been on the rise in recent years. Three leading Chinese tour operators are expected to lift the number of Chinese travellers to Greece by up to 40 percent this year, according to the Greek National Tourism Organisation.

Therianos said Chinese investors and vacationers are particularly interested in the Greek islands, fuelled by multi-cultural exchanges and events between the two countries.

BRI Driven Cooperation

Greece is among the first European Union countries to sign an intergovernmental cooperation document with China to jointly advance BRI cooperation. As the relationship between the two nations is strengthened through cultural exchanges and cooperation in various sectors, BRI has sparked an increasing number of cross-cultural business opportunities, Therianos said.

He believed that language will always be a fundamental tool in uniting different cultures. Euroterra Capital has been supporting the Maritime Silk Road School, a Chinese school that teaches Mandarin to the Greek community.

Since its opening in 2018, the school has been conducting regular classes for adults and children and has encouraged a growing number of Lefkada locals to learn Mandarin, according to Therianos.

“We’re excited to see the first students taking their exams with the possibility of participating in an internship program at Euroterra,” he added.

Therianos said Euroterra’s objective is to open similar educational institutes across other islands and cities in Greece, considering the increasing interest among the local community.

Cultural Currency

Early last year, Euroterra hosted a friendly basketball match between China and the Greek island of Lefkada, which was supported by the Greek ambassador to China and other Greek government officials, to celebrate the opening of Crystal Waters.

The company has been exploring and supporting new initiatives to strengthen Chinese-Greek links by sponsoring a couple of “China and Greece Meet Culture” events in both countries.

“Our latest cross-cultural project is the sponsorship of the first China and Greece co-production movie, which will be released in 2020, featuring Chinese and Greek actors,” Therianos said.