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Ranking of top destinations that have reactivated their connections with China for 2023 

Budapest, Lisbon and Warsaw lead the list of capitals by rate of recovery of air connectivity with China 

We have presented a new study based on air connectivity data from flights connecting the world’s main cities with China. This analysis takes place after three years of closed borders for China due to the pandemic. Finally the Asian giant has now lifted restrictions on travel to Europe and the United States – and many of the world’s main capitals are working to recover one of the most coveted tourist source markets. 

In this analysis, Mabrian has analyzed data updated on 23rd of January of the flight schedules for 2023 that connect European destinations with China via direct routes. 

One of the main conclusions drawn by the study is that the recovery of flights will be gradual and that given the recent opening of China, most of the destinations analyzed are still below the pre-pandemic volumes of 2019. But this is not the case for every destination, since there are three destinations that stand out for their prompt reactivation and that already exceed the number of flights in the pre-pandemic period: Budapest, Lisbon and Warsaw. Respectively, these three capitals have increased their air connectivity with China by 138%, 107% and 6% for this year compared to 2019. 

Next up when it comes to recovering connectivity, according to the study, are Athens, Minsk, Frankfurt, Munich, Khabarovsk, Brussels, Copenhagen and London, still with 38% below 2019 in the case of Athens, and between 50% and 63% of less flights  scheduled than 2019 for the rest. 

In the last group of European capitals that to date have reactivated their capacity the least from China, Mabrian discovers that they are some of the most traditionally visited European capitals such as Rome, Paris and Madrid. These three cities have volumes between 72% and 90% less than in the pre-pandemic period. An explanation for this might be the large volume of flights that they registered in 2019, and that thus they may take a while to recover. 

The recovery of the Chinese market will be gradual despite the high demand of its citizens to visit other countries. The reactivation of air connections is key in this process and it will require some time for airlines to reschedule and redistribute their capacity to respond to demand. 

As Carlos Cendra, Mabrian’s Director of Marketing and Sales explains, “in order to be competitive and recover the Chinese market more quickly, it is key to closely follow the evolution of connectivity, to know the possible change in the interests and preferences of travelers after the pandemic and benchmark competing destinations. For this, it is key to work hand in hand with tourism intelligence to be able to make better decisions regarding planning for this year”. 

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