New travel route to Cuba opened with first direct flight from China

Posted: 08-Feb-16 13:11

More and more options are being opened for air travelers to visit Cuba. The first direct flight from China to Cuba recently took off, helping to open up the region to an influx of expected tourists in the future. At the same time, the move is expected to help promote the value of Chinese tourism to Latin American and Caribbean nations.

New travel route to Cuba opened with first direct flight from China

As the United States works to refine its travel options for visitors to Cuba, the country of China is already forging ahead by promoting Chinese tourism to the area. In late December 2015, the first direct flight from China to Cuba touched down, marking the very first Asian-operated route to open between China and Latin America. Before then, only foreign carriers operated flights from China to Brazil and Mexico.

China represents one of the largest economies in the world, and the move is seen as a way to help boost tourism between not only China and Cuba, but also between China and the rest of Latin America. While China is seen as one of the top countries when it comes to the number of originating tourists, most Chinese travellers choose to visit either Southeast Asia or Europe.

Despite a lack of tourists in the past from China, both the Asian and Latin American countries have traditionally maintained a good political and cultural relationship. As well, according to an executive from Air China, the Latin American nation was the first in the region to create a diplomatic relationship with the People’s Republic of China.

It’s expected that the first flight by state-owned Air China will continue to allow those relationships to flourish, drawing in additional Chinese businessmen and tourists to the island nation.

According to the Cuban Ambassador in China, in 2014 tourists visiting from China were up 27 percent. While traditionally a flight from China to Cuba would have required a transfer in either Mexico or Paris, a direct flight from Beijing to Havana not only means less travel time, but is more convenient for air passengers.

According to He Zhigan, Marketing Director of Air China International, there are other benefits as well. Mr Zhigan explained:

“The opening of the direct flight will also help more people learn about the beautiful scenery of Cuba and the Caribbean Sea, and attract more Chinese tourists.”

While the number of expected tourists for the future is high, preliminary numbers already show there is interest for the Chinese to travel to Cuba. By late 2015, the number of Chinese holidaymakers that visited the country had already surpassed 25,000 travellers.


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