A direct air link between Portugal and China will be launched next June. The news came following the signing of a protocol between Chinese group HNA, which will run the route, and Turismo de Portugal.
The route will boast three to four weekly flights and is expected to help boost the number of Chinese tourists in Portugal.
According to data cited by Lusa news agency, the number of Chinese tourists who visited Portugal from January to July 2016 grew by 21.6% compared to 2015, rising from 87,000 to almost 106,000.
“This direct air link is strategic to the development of the tourism sector in Portugal,” said tourism boss Luís Araújo, who stressed how important it is to have Portugal directly linked to “one of the main tourist markets in the world”.
Lusa says that HNA – a shareholder of the Azul airline which is controlled by one of the owners of Portuguese airline TAP, David Neeleman – obtained authorisation to launch the route at the beginning of June this year.
Negotiations moved forward following a partnership between Turismo de Portugal, airport manager ANA and the Lisbon Tourism Association.