Direct service to the Bahamas is not an option today, but the flag carrier of China plans more flights to hubs in North America and in parallel initiating partnerships with local companies to channel more connections from there to the Caribbean, said a senior executive of Air China .
Zhihang Chi, vice president of Air China and general manager for North America, revealed that the airline has orders for new aircraft for about 10.7 billion dollars, which will allow, among other growths, to raise the traffic to North America and achieve greater connectivity with the Caribbean region.
“We still do not have an aircraft to fly directly to the Caribbean,” said the executive, speaking at the conference Routes Americas 2012, ended on Tuesday in Nassau.
They held a series of meetings as part of the continued expansion of his company, which has experienced annual growth of between 10 and 12% in recent years. “The links to the Caribbean will be based on partnerships across North America and traffic connections,” he said.
In this regard, said “the only way to get flights to the Caribbean to work is to fly to big cities or hubs input as Miami, Atlanta or New York, and from there transferred to the Chinese passengers on flights from companies such as JetBlue, Southwest or American Eagle to Caribbean destinations. “
In recent years, besides the economic power of China and its growing weight in the global tourism industry as a key source market, an increasing interest in expanding relations in this and other sectors from the Giant Asia and the Caribbean thanks to the credit and increasing Chinese investments in the Caribbean islands . Specifically highlights the Bahamas mega Baha Mar hotel project on Cable Beach, Nassau, worth over 2.5 billion dollars and started building in early 2011.
According to recent statistics from China Business, about 100 million Chinese will travel abroad by 2015 (in 1999 there were ten million and 65 million in 2011).
The Bahamian authorities are working towards an electronic system to streamline the visa process for Chinese tourists, something that Chi considered key to stimulating passenger traffic from Asia to the Caribbean country.
At the same time, said the Chinese know other havens in the world, it would be more valuable presence and promotion of the Bahamas and the Caribbean in China.
The average Chinese tourist spends $ 6,500 on a trip, among other reasons, like buying in foreign establishments, said the executive of Air China, noting that in recent years doubled the traffic between your country and North America. “Chinese tourists are here, and many more will come, “he said.
Other senior Chinese executives, including Adam Wu, Chief Operating Officer of China Business Network, have indicated that given the increasing level of relations, the Caribbean should get ready to attract more Chinese tourism , which would also help to raise levels of investment.
China, which overtook Japan in 2010 as the second largest economy, must become the main destination in the world in 2015 according to forecasts by the WTO.
According to data from specialized organizations, the Asian country will issue 80 million tourists in 2012 , after reaching 70 million in 2011.
Figures from the China Tourism Academy, CTA, suggest that tourism expenditure of Chinese travelers was 69 billion dollars in 2011, more than 55 billion recorded in 2010.
From Manuel Canales