|Croatia Airlines to assist with Chongqing - Zadar flights|
Croatia Airlines will cooperate with Chinese carriers and work together to bring Chinese tourists to the country. It comes as the Chinese Southeast Europe Business Association (CSEBA) moves forward with plans to establish charter flights between Chongqing and Zadar. Croatia Airlines’ CEO, Krešimir Kučko, recently presented the flag carrier to a Chinese business delegation from Chongqing, as well as the DC Travel agency, which will assist in setting up the charter service. Mr. Kučko expressed his desire for Croatia Airlines to get behind the flights and offer domestic connections to Chinese visitors. In turn, the airline aims to improve its loads on domestic flights throughout the year, as visitors from China will also be offered packages outside of the busy summer season.
The service from Chongqing, in China’s south-west, to Zadar, is planned to operate once every ten days. Chinese tourists will visit Zagreb and Dubrovnik, as well as Split, Plitvice, Rovinj and Kumrovec during their ten day stay in the country. Charters between China and Croatia would mark the first air link between the two countries. CSEBA hopes to eventually introduce scheduled yearlong services. The arrival of a Chinese airline at Zadar Airport would be a much welcomed addition during the slow winter months when Croatia Airlines is the airport’s sole customer, maintaining flights only to Zagreb and Pula. CSEBA says it will now determine possible launch dates with its partners and discuss the service with interested airlines. The next meeting between CSEBA, DC Travel and their Chinese partners will take place in Chongqing.
Meanwhile, Siniša Malus, CSEBA’s Communications Manager has criticised the Croatian Prime Minister, Zoran Milanović, for his failure to attend this week’s annual summit of Chinese and Central and Eastern European leaders in Belgrade, labelling the move as a “catastrophe”. Mr. Malus said, “Unfortunately, it is in the spirit of his government’s behaviour towards Chinese investors. The only exception is the Ministry for Tourism, which has shown initiative to cooperate on important projects, such as the introduction of charter flights between China and Croatia”. Mr. Milanović has previously said that “big business” is never done at such summits. The number of Chinese travellers visiting Croatia has seen double digit growth over the past few years.