Direct flights between Lisbon and Beijing herald arrival of one million Chinese

With the first flight “successfully completed”, and bookings for the next few weeks at bursting point, the moment when Chinese tourists can start arriving in Portugal in earnest has arrived.

According to ambassador Jorge Torres-Pereira, the country should see a 35% increase in the number of visitors starting this year, with numbers increasing to as many as a million Chinese visitors per year.

“The sky is the limit”, he said this week as the first flight took off from Beijing airport at 1.10 this morning (Chinese time).

The new service will run three return flights a week, starting in the busy city of Hangzhou, touching down in Beijing and then going directly on to Lisbon.

Torres-Pereira said the direct connection was “important for maintaining the dynamics of a bilateral relationship that is effectively in expansion” and added that it also connects Chinese people with flights to Africa and Brazil.