Edinburgh is today celebrating the economic potential of a new air-link with one of the world’s fastest growing emerging markets, as the first ever direct flight from China to Scotland touches down in the capital.
Two Hainan Airlines flights per week will now travel Edinburgh. As one of the most valuable tourism markets worldwide, which has already contributed £26.5m to Edinburgh’s economy pre-flight, the new route from China will bring increased spending across the board, with shops, restaurants, attractions and hotels directly benefiting from a starting capacity of an additional 29,000 Chinese visitors in the city.
The impact of Chinese visitors is well-recognised by the local business community, with independent jewellery retailer Laings, signing up as the lead sponsor for the Edinburgh-China project and The Edinburgh Hotels Association also backing the successful venture.
Looking at the bigger picture, the direct connection presents a major marketing opportunity for the Capital, with promotion of the new route seeing Edinburgh profiled across the travel trade.
Additionally, the new direct air route brings immediate rewards for Scottish businesses; without the need to stopover in London or elsewhere fresh produce can gain up to an extra 2-3 days shelf life in market, while the duration and cost of business trips will significantly reduce.
The Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh Frank Ross said: “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a number of organisations and it is fantastic for all of us to see the new flight schedule up and running. As the only Scottish city with a direct flight to China, the new route will provide Edinburgh with substantial outreach to Asia for tourism, business travel and investment opportunities. This will be supported by many across the retail, hotel and restaurant sectors through the city’s innovative ‘China Ready’ campaign and I’m sure it will also be welcomed by Edinburgh’s many business travellers and holiday-makers.”
Fiona Hunter, Edinburgh-China Air-link Project Manager said: “Securing a global flight connection on this scale is hugely encouraging of the Capital’s position as an outstanding place to visit, live, work, study and invest.
“The flight path is the result of many years of hard work and is really just the start of the opportunity for Edinburgh. Based on our research we expect to see the number of flights increase quite significantly over the next few years, bringing with it even more investment and economic influence.”
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