The first ever direct flight between Scotland and China has landed at Edinburgh Airport in a momentous day Scotland’s busiest airport.
The four-weekly, year-round service with Hainan Airlines from Beijing Capital International Airport is Scotland’s first connection to the Far East.
It is a major boost for tourism in Scotland and increases business links with the Far East, both of which will benefit the Scottish economy.
A piper from the world famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo welcomed passengers from Beijing to Scotland before piping them off on departure.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:“This first direct service from China to Edinburgh represents a gear change for Scottish tourism and further cements Scotland’s reputation as a world-class destination.
“As the Chinese market has grown over the years so too has the Scottish capital’s popularity with Chinese visitors and it continues to be the top destination outside of London.
“Through our ongoing work with key Chinese tour operators we have seen visitor itineraries extending over the years. Bringing visitors from China directly into the heart of Scotland will create greater opportunities for tourism businesses right across the country, as visitors stay longer and explore further.”
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport said: “This is a momentous day as we connect not only Edinburgh and Beijing for the first time, but Scotland and China too. It is a route which has immense opportunities for our countries, from tourism and business to culture, education and more.
“We know Edinburgh is second only to London for Chinese tourists and we are eager to welcome more people to our fantastic capital city, but it’s also about connecting people from Scotland to Beijing and wider China thanks to Hainan’s hub network.
“Hainan is one of the world’s most prestigious airlines and we are proud to be working with them. This is something the city has worked towards for a number of years and we are delighted to see this day finally arrive.”
Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “Securing direct links between Scotland and China is one of our key priorities for route development. This new direct Beijing-Edinburgh route is an exciting first chapter in direct air connectivity between Scotland and China. It will enable China and Scotland to become closer in partnership and in travel time, building upon existing strong links for business and tourism. The Scottish Government and our agencies look forward to working with Hainan Airlines and Edinburgh Airport to make this route a great success.”
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.”
Paul Lewis, managing director of Scottish Development International said: "We’re working hard to ensure that more Scottish companies can take advantage of trade and investment opportunities in China, while at the same time trying to attract more Chinese companies to base their European operations here. A direct air route is a significant enabler of both these goals and we welcome Hainan Airlines’ first ever route between Edinburgh Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport."
The route will be serviced by an Airbus A330-300 and includes a stopover in Dublin as part of an innovative flight model which links the three capital cities.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays the flight arrives into Edinburgh from Beijing at 0600 and departs for Dublin at 0800 and then on to Beijing.
On Thursdays and Sundays the flight arrives into Edinburgh from Dublin at 0910 before departing for Beijing at 1110.
Notes to Editors
- Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
- This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
- For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
- For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
- For information about business tourism in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
2018 Year of Young People
- The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
- Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
- Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
- The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
- Participation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
- Education – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
- Health and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
- Equality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
- Enterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
- Culture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
- Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website www.yoyp2018.scot or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.