Might there soon be Chinese tourists arriving in Palma on direct flights? | Made Nagi

Rosana Morillo, Spain's secretary of state for tourism and a former Balearic government director-general for tourism, is working on enhancing air routes between Asia and the main Spanish airports, including Palma and Ibiza.

The first objective is direct flights with China, which is expected to recover over 90% of pre-pandemic connections during this low season. Madrid and Barcelona would be the principal destinations but the intention is to explore the possibilities of flights to the Balearics.

The interest in strengthening tourist ties with long-haul markets is not limited to China, as there are also ambitions for Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

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Morillo explains that at the most recent meetings organised by the UN World Tourism Organization in Riyadh and Samarkand, there were discussions with Saudi and Qatari authorities. "We began to talk about direct connections with Mallorca and Ibiza. The islands' brands are recognised by them, and they feel that it would be important to have direct connections in the high season as well as in the low season."

An element of this strategy for long-haul markets would be inter-island packages to take advantage of visitors who typically stay for longer than most tourists and also have higher spending capacity. "There are many possibilities because of the ease of movement between the islands and the strong brands that each of them has."

The Balearic government's Aetib tourism strategy agency recently announced that it is exploring the possibility of direct flights from China to Mallorca. Its director, Pere Joan Planas, says that this is in the embryonic phase. Airlines with which there have been talks are studying the feasibility.

As with efforts to expand connections with North America, the main focus is the low season, but it is clear that there is also great interest in the Balearic high season.