Last year's Danish-Chinese Tourism Year saw extraordinary efforts to market Denmark in China in order to tell Chinese people why they should come to Denmark, what they can experience as tourists in Denmark and that Denmark is more than just Copenhagen.
These efforts are now starting to show concrete results in the form of significantly improved flight connections, enabling even more Chinese tourists to choose to travel to Denmark.
It was therefore an optimistic Brian Mikkelsen, the Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, who cut the ribbon at Wednesday's official opening of Air China's new route between Beijing and Copenhagen Airport.
"The new Air China route brings Denmark and China closer together and improves direct access to Denmark for both business travellers and tourists," says Brian Mikkelsen.
Andy Hao, General Manager of Air China Denmark, also sees great potential for the new connection:
"We're proud to inaugurate Air China's first direct connection to the Danish capital. We believe that this new route from Beijing to Copenhagen will give tourists and business travellers better opportunities and strengthen the cooperation between our two nations," says Andy Hao.
Now 11 weekly flights to Beijing
More than 110,000 Chinese came to Denmark via Copenhagen Airport in 2017. And with an initial four weekly departures on Air China's new route, there should be even more in the future.
"Air China's new Copenhagen-Beijing route will give Chinese passengers even more convenient access to Denmark as a tourist destination. The new route is therefore helping to pave the way for - hopefully - even more Chinese hotel nights in Denmark in the years ahead," says Brian Mikkelsen.
Together with Star Alliance partner SAS, Air China's new route means there are now a total of 11 weekly flights between the two capitals. SAS also flies to Shanghai, while Cathay Pacific has just opened a route from Hong Kong to Copenhagen.
Mikkel Aarø-Hansen, CEO of Wonderful Copenhagen, the organisation responsible for the route development programme Global Connected, emphasises that a lot of hard work has gone into attracting new routes to and from China in connection with last year's Danish-Chinese Tourism Year.
"Air China's new route is yet another result of the concerted efforts of ministries, organisations and Copenhagen Airport," says Mikkel Aarø-Hansen.
Thomas Woldbye, CEO of Copenhagen Airports, says the airport is fully ready to welcome even more Chinese travellers.
"As well as having Chinese guides and signs in the airport, and a Chinese version of our app, we're collaborating with DianPing, China's answer to TripAdvisor. And our stores are working with payment provider Nets to offer Chinese passengers the opportunity to pay via Alipay, a payment app used by more than 500 million Chinese," Thomas Woldbye explains.
- The flight to Beijing on Air China's Airbus A330-200, which carries 237 passengers, takes just under 10 hours.
- Flights leave Beijing at 02.55 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving at Copenhagen Airport at 06.45 local time on the same day.
- Flights leave CPH at 13.15 on the same days, arriving in Beijing at 04.10 the following morning.
- The state-owned airline Air China was formed in 1988, when the government split the then CAAC Airlines into several independent companies.
- The company has more than 50,000 employees, a fleet of around 400 aircraft and an extensive route network within China and internationally. Like SAS, Air China is a member of Star Alliance.