China further opens up aviation; Asian nations mull broader travel bubbles | Daily Brief
06/11/2020|10:45:13 PM|ChinaTravelNews

TravelFlan buys an international travel agency, raising $12 million

>> Hong Kong-based TravelFlan, a travel and lifestyle AI solution startup, is in the midst of raising USD 12 million to expand across Asia after its USD 7 million late last year. TravelFlan has acquired an international travel agency in Beijing, called Beijing JueXingZiZai International Travels Ltd, and is in talks to buy an OTA in South Korea.

China to increase international flights amid rising demand

>> China's top civil aviation regulator said it would increase the number of flights from certain countries that meet specific anti-viral requirements and related criteria, as the demand for business and other travel back to China is skyrocketing. Foreign businesses from the US to Europe that operate in the Chinese market are seeking to open more channels such as chartered flights for their employees to return to China. Flights between China and the US will be increased.

China further opens up its southern province for international flights

>> China has decided to introduce the Seventh Freedom of the Air on a trial basis in the Hainan Free Trade Port which is a new zone pushed forward within the southernmost tropical island province. The move allows foreign carriers to operate flights between two other countries, without the need to touch down in the airline's home country. 

For example, under the Seventh Freedom, the US could operate flights directly from Haikou, the capital city of Hainan Province, to Tokyo, Japan, and Air France could transport passengers from Sanya, Hainan to Los Angeles, US.

China drops Shanghai as a first port of entry for Beijing-bound flights

>> China dropped Shanghai as one of the first ports of entry for international flights bound for the capital, Beijing, while four new cities were added to the list and Wuhan will be a “backup”. Incoming international flights to Beijing have to land at one of 16 designated airports, where passengers are screened. Passengers who test negative for the virus are then permitted to reboard the plane to Beijing.

Thailand says China, Japan are interested in travel bubbles

>> Thailand said a number of countries, including China and Japan, are interested in discussions about travel bubbles, as the nation considers protocols for the eventual return of foreign tourists. Pacts to make travel easier during the COVID-19 era are due to be discussed at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting due June 26. Morgan Stanley wrote in a June 10 note that it expects a slow cyclical recovery in tourism for Thailand from the second half of 2020, led by intra-Asian travel. It forecasts a 4% contraction in the nation’s economy this year.

China plans £59million panda-themed resort

>> China is planning a colossal panda-themed resort dwarfing Disneyland in size. The panda theme park, situated in the city of Chengdu, will occupy 13.8 square miles (35.7 square kilometres), 28 times the size of Hong Kong Disneyland or nine times the size of Shanghai Disneyland when it is complete.

CDFG parent acquires 51% stake in Hainan Duty Free

>> China Duty Free Group (CDFG) parent company, China International Travel Service Corporation (CITS), has acquired a 51% stake in Hainan Duty Free Company Ltd (HNDF). Hainan Duty Free, which has operations at Haikou Meilan International Airport on Hainan Island, is part of HNA Group, the influential and ambitious Chinese aviation-to-hospitality company. The annual offshore duty free allowance for shoppers visiting Hainan Island is to be raised from RMB 30,000 (USD 4,215) to RMB 100,000 (USD 14,050) as part of sweeping government plans announced this month for the creation of Hainan Free Trade Port.