Parliament President Nikos Voutsis highlighted the importance of the direct Athens-Shanghai air link for tourism and business during his meeting on Friday with the city's mayor, Ying Yong.

"Today, Shanghai is a centre of major economic goals and activities, in finance, trade and shipping, and can become a focal point for cultural exchanges and relations, as well as for tourist development" said Voutsis, who is paying an official visit to China.

On his part, Ying congratulated Voutsis on the efforts and contribution made by Greece and its people to address the economic crisis. Referring to Shanghai he underlined "that it is the greatest economic centre of China but also a window and a front of China's reform and opening to the world".

Voutsis was given a tour of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower where he saw "the 21st century and the 22nd century future of China, the East and the world," adding that it is also a wonderful bridge to the past of a proud nation that is now building the present.