After three years of closed borders due to the pandemic, China has finally lifted restrictions on travel to Europe and the United States. Many of the world’s main capitals are now working to recover the tourist source market, including thorough the reactivation of direct air connections to China.
Tourism intelligence company Mabrian has analysed these connections and, based on data updated on 23 January of the flight schedules for 2023 that connect European destinations with China via direct routes, found that the recovery of flights will be gradual and that given the recent opening of China, most of the destinations analysed are still below the pre-pandemic volumes of 2019.
However, this is not the case for every destination, since there are three destinations that stand out for their prompt reactivation and that already exceed the number of flights in the pre-pandemic period: Budapest, Lisbon and Warsaw. Respectively, these three capitals have increased their air connectivity with China by 138%, 107% and 6% for this year compared to 2019.
To be competitive and recover the Chinese market more quickly, it is key to closely follow the evolution of connectivity.Carlos Cendra, Mabrian’s Director of Marketing and Sales
At the next level down when it comes to recovering connectivity, the study places Athens, Minsk, Frankfurt, Munich, Khabarovsk, Brussels, Copenhagen and London, still with 38% below 2019 in the case of Athens, and between 50% and 63% less flights scheduled than in 2019 for the rest.
In the last group are European capitals that have reactivated their capacity the least from China. The study shows that the most traditionally visited European capitals, such as Rome, Paris and Madrid, are in this category. These four cities have volumes between 72% and 90% less than in the pre-pandemic period. An explanation for this might be the large volume of flights that they registered in 2019, thus they may take a while to recover.
The recovery of the Chinese market will be gradual despite the high demand of its citizens to visit other countries, Mabrian emphasizes. “The reactivation of air connections is key in this process and it will require some time for airlines to reschedule and redistribute their capacity to respond to demand.”