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Madrid resumes 83 pct of direct flights to China

Xinhua| Updated: July 18, 2023 L M S

Eighty-three percent of the direct flights that had connected Spain's capital Madrid with China's major cities before the COVID-19 pandemic have already been resumed, Madrid City Council's Tourism Department said on Thursday.

At a cultural and tourist interchange event co-organized here by the department and China's Hebei Province, Almudena Maillo, Madrid City's councillor responsible for tourism, said that the department is working hard to fully restore air connectivity with China. A full resumption is expected by 2024.

Currently, direct flights connect four Chinese cities with Madrid: Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Hangzhou will be added to this list in August, he said.

According to the department, before the pandemic there were 12 direct flights per week: four to Beijing, three to Shanghai, two to Hong Kong and one to Chongqing. Ten of these are now back in operation.

"Chinese tourists are of strategic importance to us ... which is why we are working hard with Madrid's own tourism sector to improve their experience in terms of barriers, such as language or means of payment," Maillo said.

"We have a special Asia Plan that aims to help us improve and promote our services," he said.

Zhai Yuhu, vice director of culture and tourism of the Hebei provincial government, said that his province "welcomes friends from all over the world to boost tourism or to invest in this industry."

"China and Spain are both ancient civilizations, both have abundant tourism resources and are important markets, whether as a tourism destination or as an origin of tourists," Zhai added.

China is a key tourism market for Madrid. According to the department, Chinese visitors spend over five days in the city on average and spend around 370 euros (415 U.S. dollars) there per day.

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