Croatia Aiming for Direct Flights from China in 2019

By 21 September 2018

Talks on establishing direct flights between Croatia and China are intensifying, reports ExYuAviation on September 20, 2018. 

Croatia's global connectivity has increased considerably in recent years, as its tourism industry seeks to expand into markets further afield. The arrival of Qatar Airways to Zagreb several years ago (now flying twice a day in season, 10 times a week the rest of the year) was the first scheduled inter-continental service to Croatia since the regional conflict in the 1990s. It has been followed by several more initiatives, including FlyDubai and Emirates from the Middle East, Transat and Air Canada Rouge from Canada, charter flights from Japan and, most recently, the first non-stop service with Korean Air from Seoul. Next year, after an absence of 30 years, the first direct flights from the USA to Dubrovnik are scheduled to take place. 

One market that Croatia has been trying to connect directly for several years now is China. Various initiatives to connect Chinese tourists directly to Zadar and Zagreb have so far proved unsuccessful, but confidence in growing that the first service will be introduced as early as next year, reports ExYuAviation. 

"This is primarily about simplifying and accelerating visa procedures, opening and introducing new nonstop flights from China, and adapting Croatian destinations to online payment services through Chinese mobile applications", Tourism Minister Gari Capelli said.

"We discussed the possibility of Hainan Airlines introducing nonstop flights from China to Croatia, most probably to Zagreb. The launch of this service would boost the number of Chinese tourists to Croatia", the Zagreb-based Chinese Southeast European Business Association, said.

The topic is currently being discussed at the two-day "16+1" cooperation conference in Dubrovnik, where 16 countries from Eastern and Central Europe are working with Chinese counterparts to improve tourism cooperation between China and the region. Croatia is seeking initial flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Zagreb and Dubrovnik. For more on this story, visit ExYuAviation.