In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, the twin sisters Marianna and Sofia Erotokritou, who received the official title of “Greek Tourism Ambassadors”, in January this year, from the Greek Ministry of Tourism, talk about the promotion of Greece. in digital media and China's crowded market.
Hailing from Limassol, the 25-year-old twin sisters chose a path unusual for their age when in 2013 they decided to move to China to first learn the language and then study for a bachelor's and master's degree at the University of International Business and Economics. of Beijing. There, they started uploading short videos on Chinese social media on their own media, with topics related to the culture, tourism and gastronomy of Greece and Cyprus.
“From the first day we arrived in the country, we realized that there is a huge knowledge gap for Greece and Cyprus. At our first University in Nanjing in southwest China, we were the first Greek women to ever enroll. So we decided to create some videos so that the Chinese can learn about Greece and Cyprus. “The videos were in Chinese, because very few speak English,” the two sisters said, speaking to the Cyprus News Agency.
Gradually, their work on Chinese social media began to gain significant popularity and recognition, and the “Greek twins” – as they are known to their audience – became “influencers” on the Internet. With their videos dedicated to Athens and Santorini exceeding one (1) million views, the Greek Ministry of Tourism decided to award them the title “Ambassadors of Greek Tourism”. “In the modern world of social networks, @greek_twins as influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media in China, will have a decisive role, by creating authentic videos with moments of everyday life from Greece and the lifestyle of its inhabitants, as well as themes videos from top Greek destinations, something that EOT is already utilizing “, the Ministry of Tourism noted in the relevant Press Release.
Speaking about the strong impact of their work on Chinese social networks, the Erotokritou sisters explain: “In general, the Chinese really like to see foreigners speak Chinese – they find it very interesting – let alone twins, as they consider it a great fortune and blessing to is a twin “. So, they add, “first of all they liked that we spoke their language and secondly that we introduced them to some places they did not know. The videos also contained some historical and cultural issues that they had never heard of. “
Sofia and Marianna Erotokritou also deliver online Greek language courses which have been attended by dozens of Chinese.
Referring to the common elements between the two cultures, Sofia and Marianna Erotokritou emphasize the spirit of hospitality as a dominant element in both cultures. “There are great similarities in the way the two cultures approach, the visitors and the tourists who come to their country. For example, we who were foreigners in China were treated very hospitably and we have made very good Chinese friends. “
“This also happens in Greece and Cyprus: when a foreigner comes to our country, we treat him as if he were our brother, our friend. We believe this is because both countries have a huge culture, the ancient civilizations. “Greece is the cradle of western civilization and China of eastern civilization”, they note in KYPE.
Prior to their distinction as “Ambassadors of Greek Tourism”, the Erotokritos sisters had already collaborated with the Cypriot and Greek Tourism Organizations, while in 2017 at an event held in Greece they received a distinction for the promotion of Hellenism in China, an award which The President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiadis delivered a speech at the event.
Speaking about their previous collaboration with the Cyprus Tourism Organization of Cyprus, they note: “It was our great pleasure to work with the CTO in 2017, and made a video about the places one can visit in Cyprus. We went to almost all the cities and famous destinations and this video is taken advantage of by the Embassy in China and the CTO “. Their most recent work on Cyprus includes a video on the invasion, entitled “The Wounds Remain Open”.
“We uploaded this video last year and in it we explained the historical events and the conditions that prevail today with the separation and the pseudo-state,” they report.
What we saw, they add, “is that there is an ignorance in China about the Cyprus problem – they were very impressed by what is happening and we saw a huge support for Cyprus, with many comments we received. “In the first hour, 43,000 Chinese saw it with 700 supportive comments about our fair fight.”
“And through our work we wanted this issue to become more and more known, because as we have seen on Chinese social media there is an alteration of information in relation to the events in Cyprus”, say the Erotokritou sisters.
Regarding their distinction as “Ambassadors of Greek Tourism”, with a duration of two years and the possibility of renewal, they emphasize that as this year is the Year of Culture and Tourism of Greece – China, this distinction gives them the opportunity to officially represent Greece in a series events. “Now we will be able to participate in more events taking place in Greece, China and Cyprus. “Our videos will be used on the platforms of EOT and the Embassy in China, and they will also be able to promote them to individuals who want to use them to promote Greece”, the twins emphasize.
They continue on Chinese social media, saying that recently we participated with great success in the online campaign of EOT in China entitled “Weibo National Week” on the popular medium of Sina Weibo (Chinese fb). In this campaign, EOT chose to show our video entitled “Astypalea, the butterfly of the Aegean “ and the hashtag of the campaign had more than 210 million views and 211,000 notifications “.
“There are many millions of Chinese who leave the country every year, especially in October which is their national anniversary, which they usually want to spend abroad. “About 100,000 come to Greece every year and the truth is that the first destinations in their choices are France and Italy”, point out the Erotokritos sisters.
According to them, “there is significant room for increase in the number of Chinese visiting Greece and Cyprus, as in relation to the population of the country, the number of visitors is small.” “Generally, the Chinese want to visit a country to see sights, they are interested in the history of a place, but also to go shopping. It is not the kind of tourists who will sit in the sea to sunbathe “.
“Greece offers opportunities due to its archeological sites and museums”, conclude the Erotokritos sisters, referring to EOT's strategy to promote “high-end” tourism, which places more emphasis on the quality of tourists than in quantity”.