The first flight from Hangzhou, with a stopover in Beijing, landed on Wednesday at Lisbon airport, a link that the Portuguese Minister of Planning and Infrastructure, Pedro Marques, described as “very strategic” in economic terms and in terms of tourism.
Minister Pedro Marques said the first direct flight between China and Portugal was “historic” and stressed that “this link is the true air route of the 21st century silk road,” and is “a great feat for Portugal.”
China’s ambassador to Portugal, Cai Run, said at the time that the establishment of a direct air link between the two countries had great significance for the development of the economy, trade, investment and tourism.
Portugal received around 200,000 Chinese tourists in 2016, and Portugal’s ambassador to China, Jorge Torres-Pereira, said recently that the country could aim to reach 1 million Chinese tourists a year.
These flights are being carried out by Beijing Capital Airlines, of the HNA group, currently three times a week, with more flights due to be added next winter.
The HNA group, based on the island of Hainan, has an indirect stake in Portuguese air carrier TAP-Portugal, through Brazilian airline Azul, which controls 23.7% of the share capital.
The Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, said Portugal’s goal for this year is for total tourism to grow by 10% compared to 2016, to more than 21 million tourists. (macauhub)