|CSEBA to link Zagreb with Chinese cities this winter|
The Chinese Southeast Europe Business Association (CSEBA) has announced plans to link Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing with Zagreb through charter flights from this October. CSEBA President, Mario Rendulić, made the announcement in Chongqing where he held talks with local tour operators. At the meeting, Rendulić presented a possible ten day program for Chinese tourists which would include visits to Zadar, Šibenik, Plitvice, Zagreb, Kumrovec, Samobor, Osijek, the Kopački Rit National Park as well as Belgrade. "After landing in Zagreb or Zadar, we will be able to transport Chinese visitors to Dubrovnik, Pula or Venice in just twenty minutes", Mr. Rendulić said.
Charter flights between Croatia and China will run until June 2015 in cooperation with Chinese carriers after which CSEBA will launch its own airline and run scheduled flights between Croatia, China and Serbia, as well as countries in Central Asia such as Kazakhstan. “CSEBA and its partners plan to establish an airline with regular flights between China and countries in the region, as well as regional flights in South East Europe at low cost prices”, the Business Association said in a statement. However, Xu Qiang, Director General of the Chongqing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Commission, said, “Setting up an airline demands big finances. CSEBA and its partners should link up with other Chinese companies”.
The Chinese Southeast Europe Business Association has previously said its airline will connect Zagreb with Belgrade for the first time in 23 years and provide scheduled flights between Croatia and China which will primarily cater for Chinese tourists. Croatia has never had direct air links to China. Far off markets hold huge potential for Croatia's tourism industry. The number of Chinese tourists visiting Croatia has seen double digit growth for the past few years. In 2013, 43.000 Chinese tourists visited Croatia and spent 65.000 nights in the country, with numbers expected to rise even further this year. Late last month, CSEBA representatives held talks with SCAT Airlines from Kazakhstan to discuss the possibility of launching scheduled flights between Zagreb and Astana. CSEBA aims to boost cooperation between China and the countries of the former Yugoslavia.