“From next summer, the world’s seventh largest airline, China Eastern, will we launching a new, direct air passenger route that is expected to fly four times-a-week between Budapest and Shanghai”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement to public media following talks in Shanghai on Monday.

“China has become the country that sends the most tourists, and according to five-year forecasts, Chinese tourism to Europe will be increasing by 70 percent, in addition to which Chinese tourists spend the most”, the Minister explained.

“For this reason, there is major global competition between countries and regions to see who can attract the most Chinese tourists”, he said.

Mr. Szijjártó highlighted the fact that the most important question with relation to developing tourism is the existence of direct air passenger links. However, only one Chinese city, Beijing, is currently directly accessible from Budapest by air.

“Despite this, Chinese tourism traffic to Hungary increased significantly, by 14 percent, during the fist eight months of this year, and according to forecasts more than 250 thousand tourists are expected to come to Hungary from China before the end of this year”, the Minister said.

He pointed out, however, that this index exceeds half a million in the case of the Czech Republic, the reason for the difference being that people can fly to Prague from three Chinese cities, but from only one in the case of Budapest.

“This situation will improve significantly thanks to China Eastern’s new Shanghai-Budapest route, because it will significantly increase tourist traffic from China to Hungary, in addition to which by enabling further goods shipment capacities, it will create an opportunity to further increase trade flow between the two countries”, Mr. Szijjártó said.

The Minister also mentioned the fact that this year, the Great Wall Hungarian-Chinese Friendship Association presented its award for people and organisations who have done much for Chinese-Hungarian friendship and to further cooperation between the two countries to China Eastern airlines.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)