MONTREAL, Canada – Tourisme Montreal is very pleased to highlight today’s inaugural Air China flight connecting Montreal and Beijing. This direct flight has been long-awaited by Montreal’s tourism industry and local business circles.
“We’re thrilled to finally see this connection happen between Montreal and Beijing. We’re looking forward to opening up our city to Chinese travellers and we’ll be working with our partners to develop special strategies for attracting this market to Montreal,” said Yves Lalumière, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tourisme Montreal.
Establishing the new flight route involved years of negotiations between various stakeholders in Montreal, Quebec and Canada.
Aeroports de Montreal, Quebec’s Ministry of Tourism, Air Canada and Air China worked together with Tourisme Montreal to see this project through to completion. Their combined effort shows just how important it is to have a direct link between the two cities.
“Nonstop flights are about to begin between Montreal, a leading international crossroads and metropolis, with one of the world’s top economic powers. This new business and tourism link will generate huge returns for us and our Chinese partners, along with stronger bonds of friendship,” said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre.
China: a promising market with outstanding tourism potential
The parties who worked on this project didn’t go into it blindly. Studies have shown that the number of Chinese tourists is steadily growing and there is already enough travel between the two cities to fill seats on the new direct flight.
In 2013, China recorded 97.3 million departures from the country, marking an 833% increase since 2000. About 15 million of these outbound travellers left on long-distance trips, with 275,000 tourists—2% of the market—coming to Canada.
The Chinese market has skyrocketed since 2010, when Canada was added as an authorized destination. In fact, the number of tourists coming to Canada from that country has increased 24% per year between 2009 and 2012. And even though there hasn’t been a direct flight between China and Montreal until today, the number of Chinese tourists visiting our city has jumped 60% per year over the same period. Growth is projected to increase another 16% over the next three years.
Montreal: A choice destination within Canada
Tourisme Montreal intends on increasing its share of the massive Chinese market, which will in turn ensure that the new flight route becomes a boon to Montreal’s tourism industry. A series of promotional initiatives targeting the Chinese market will be implemented this fall.
Strengthening economic and trade ties
Not only good news for leisure tourism, this new flight will also strengthen business ties—and bolster economic trade—between Quebec and China. In 2013, Quebec’s exports to China were valued at $2.6 billion, representing 12% of all Canadian exports to China. That same year, China was Quebec’s largest Asian trade partner, coming ahead of Japan, and second-largest trade partner worldwide, coming just behind the United States. The new direct flight will make it easier for Quebec and China to do business together.