Following a dedicated effort in China and having worked closely with several Chinese tour operators, Copenhagen Airport has for the first time succeeded in making Copenhagen a direct destination for Chinese charter tourists.
This September and October, Beijing Capital Airlines will carry almost 3,500 Chinese charter tourists on the initial flights from Beijing and Hangzhou. If these tours are a success, it is hoped that more will follow.
“Like the Danes often fly SAS to China because they know the airline, Chinese people prefer even more so to use a Chinese carrier.
We have now successfully achieved a breakthrough to the Chinese package tour market, and this will hopefully lead to even more business,” said Chief Commercial Officer Peter Krogsgaard of Copenhagen Airports A/S.
According to VisitDenmark's calculation models, Chinese tourists and business travellers spend two to three times as much money as the average tourist in Denmark.
This is one of the reasons why European countries are fighting so hard to attract travellers from China, as they typically visit several countries while in Europe.
“The potential is really great for Denmark, but it is necessary that we cooperate to make even more Chinese tourists choose Denmark as one of the countries they want to visit – and preferably, of course, to be the country they arrive in and fly back from,” Mr. Krogsgaard points out.
When the new Chinese package tour tourists visit Denmark for two to three days this autumn, they will typically spend around DKK 2,000 per day, which adds up to revenues of around DKK 15 million.
More to come
If this autumn's flights from Beijing and Hangzhou become a success, Beijing Capital Airlines will likely have more flights in its pipeline.
“Our main focus is on the tourism market, so we plan to open more overseas routes,” said Xu Xin, CEO of Beijing Capital Airlines, who also says that the airline is going to buy at least 30 long-haul aircraft over the coming five years.
Copenhagen Airport has worked closely with, among others, Caissa, one of China's leading tour operators. At Wonderful Copenhagen, Signe Jungersted, Director of New Markets, sees great perspectives.
“We have strong expectations for the new Chinese charter segment. The route opens up a new geographical area of China for Copenhagen and Denmark, i.e. the megacity of Hangzhou in the wealthy province of Zhejiang.
Moreover, we have attracted an additional connection out of Beijing during a period with a lot of travel activity in China due to the Golden Week national holiday week which begins on China's national day, 1 October” said Signe Jungersted
China is today the world's biggest outbound travel market, and according to Wonderful Copenhagen, more air services from China help strengthen Denmark's position as an attractive travel destination for Chinese consumers eager to travel.
“The market has remained positive in 2015; during the first quarter of the year, the number of Chinese bed nights in our Capital Region grew by almost 30%, ” said Signe Jungersted.
• Beijing Capital Airlines was founded in 2010 as a subsidiary of Hainan Airlines, China's biggest privately owned airline, and the country's fourth biggest carrier with 140 aircraft and serving more than 90 destinations, primarily in China and Asia.
• Beijing Capital Airlines operates close to 200 domestic routes in China, but the airline is currently expanding into international services, including to Europe.
• In September and October, Beijing Capital Airlines will fly from Beijing and Hangzhou to Copenhagen once a week using an Airbus A330-200. The airliner has 222 seats, of which 36 are in business class and 186 in economy. The new route will be the airline's first to Europe.
• The Chinese megacity of Hangzhou is located south of Shanghai and has 6.5 million inhabitants.
• The city currently has only two air services to Europe: KLM to Amsterdam and Hainan Airlines to Paris Charles de Gaulle