“We are focused, with our partners – [the Directorate of Tourism Services (DST)] in Macau, Turismo de Portugal – to try to make this a reality by 2025”, the leader of APAVT told Lusa.

Before the start of the 11th Macau International Tourism (Industry) Expo (MITE), taking place until Sunday, Costa Ferreira said that APAVT admitted that it will be necessary to “be patient for the time it takes” to establish long-haul flights.

The director of DST Macau also described the launch of direct flights with Portugal as “a dream”, but underlined that airlines are still recovering from “a very difficult period” due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Although she recognized that “there is always interest in bringing direct flights to Macau”, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes recalled that it is also possible to work with the neighbouring airports of Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

“Our biggest ambition would be to make this air travel easier. At the moment, for us to land in Macau [from Portugal] we have to do three stages”, said Pedro Costa Ferreira.

“All markets with a willingness to travel more, when we add direct flights, they explode. I have not the slightest doubt that this would be what would happen to the flows between our two countries if we managed to create easier air transport ”, he considered.

In 2019, more than 385,000 Chinese visited Portugal, according to data provided to Lusa by the permanent representative of Turismo de Portugal in China.

Tourists from China spent a total of 224 million euros in the country, an increase of 20% compared to 2018.