Yong Liang, president of the association, founded in February 2019, with the aim of promoting Portugal in China as a tourist destination, told Lusa that as operators around the world prepare for the return of tens of millions of Chinese to the market global, “the reopening of China is good and positive news for the tourism industry in Portugal”.

Alerting to the need to increase the frequency of air connections between the two countries, Liang believes that the number of tourists visiting Portugal will increase “month by month”.

The association previously established the objective of reaching one million Chinese tourists in 2025, but with the pandemic “it may take us a little longer, but we will continue to work towards that first objective, as well as to respond to the challenge presented to us of increasing the average stay of Chinese tourists in Portugal”, said Yong Liang.

Meanwhile, data provided to Lusa by Tiago Brito, the permanent representative of Turismo de Portugal in China, more than 385,000 Chinese visited Portugal in 2019, the last year before the pandemic. Tourists from China spent a total of 224 million euros in the country, an increase of 20% compared to 2018.

Beijing Capital Airlines, which operates the connection between Portugal and China, told Lusa that the replacement of the original frequency should be in place by the summer, pointing out that Chinese agencies are not yet organizing trips to Portugal and Spain. Everything “will depend on the evolution of the market”, said a source from the company.