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Nova Scotia hopes to become the next ‘hotspot’ for Chinese tourists

Airline to connect China and Halifax directly next fall

3 min read
caption Premier Stephen McNeil says he'd like to have direct flights from China to be a regular thing.
Madeline Biso

Nova Scotia will have two direct flights from China next fall as the province tries to strengthen its tourism and economy.

Chinese Southern Airlines will run the two charter flights from Guangzhou, a city of almost 15 million, to Halifax. The flights will run late September and early October, known as Golden Week, a holiday that creates the biggest week of Chinese tourism. The planes will have 271 seats each.

This is the first direct air access from China to Atlantic Canada.

Premier Stephen McNeil made the announcement on Thursday.

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“We’re looking forward to testing this market,” McNeil said.

Michele Saran, CEO of Tourism Nova Scotia, said the flight will help the province meet its goal of  50,000 Chinese visitors by 2024. The province says in 2018, 5,000 Chinese tourists visited Nova Scotia.

“The Chinese visitors have seen Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver. We think Nova Scotia’s the next hotspot,” Saran said.

caption Michele Saran, CEO of Tourism NS, says they aim for Halifax to be a city that attracts Chinese tourists.
Madeline Biso

According to Destination Canada, Chinese visitors are Canada’s second-largest market in visitor spending, averaging $2,850 per trip.

China is Nova Scotia’s second-largest trading partner. In 2018, Nova Scotia had $792 million total exports to China.

Seafood is a main export, and McNeil said the Guangdong province, which Guangzhou is the capital of, imports almost 80 per cent of Nova Scotian seafood.

Cargo will also be part of the flights going back to China.

McNeil said continuing partnering with China will grow the “economic fortunes” of Nova Scotians.

He hopes regular direct air access will be available in the future. He said the goal is to have a seasonal service, biweekly, from spring to fall.

In November, McNeil went on his eighth visit to China as premier since 2013.

After the announcement, reporters asked the premier how this relates to the political events happening in China: two Canadians detained, protests in Hong Kong and the mass detention of Muslims.

“I believe the issue in Hong Kong is because those young people have seen a different type of democracy,” McNeil  said. “If you want to change the culture of China, bring more Chinese people here.

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About the author

Madeline Biso

Madeline Biso is a student journalist at University of King's College. Her main interests are investigative and data-driven stories. When not...

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