Intl travelers upsurge with booming open economy
At 17:30, on Dec 1, a French man Lionel Savin arrived at the Changsha Huanghua International Aiport via a Singaporean flight. It marked the 1.5 millionth international passengers received by the Central China airport in 2015.
According to Hunan's border control department, it is the first time for the Changsha airport's annual number of entry-exit passengers to reach 1.5 million and the figure is a 35 percent increase compared with the same period last year.
The local department also said that the number of international travelers through this airport has maintained high-speed growth for 10 consecutive years, ranking it in forefront among Central China airports.
Lionel Savin arrives at Changsha Huanghua International Airport at 5:30 pm, Dec 1 as the 1.5 millionth international passenger received by the airport in 2015. [Photo by Wang Zhiwei / Changsha Evening News]
In recent years, with the sustained development of an open economy, more and more locals have traveled abroad; the number of foreigners arriving to Hunan has also upsurged.
As for Lionel Savin, it's his first trip to Changsha. He has got a job offer from Hunan provincial capital.
"The favorite overseas destination of Hunan people is Thailand. While passengers from South Korea account for the most of inbound visitors to Hunan," says Cheng Jianping, deputy director of Hunan Port Office. The number of flights from Changsha to Thailand every week has been expanded from eight in 2014 to 32 this year, Cheng added.
More than 70 percent of Hunan's inbound visitors come from South Korea, followed by those from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Germany.
And with the implementation of 72-hour visa-free entry policy, the Changsha airport is expected to be more favored by international transit passengers. The air transport passengers throughput in Changsha airport has exceeded a historic high of 19 million this year.
At present, Changsha airport has opened 48 international air lines involving 20 countries of Asia, America and Europe. Li Zhiren, president of Hunan Airport Management Group says that 10 more intercontinental airlines including Africa, South America and Oceania destinations will be opened by 2020 to boost Changsha as an international aviation hub of Central China.
"International air lines are significant channels for Hunan province to live up to the nation's Belt and Road Initiative," says Liu. He believes that more international flights will help absorb foreign investment and propel more local enterprises to enter the overseas market.
"Our air lines will open to wherever Hunan enterprises can reach worldwide," he adds.
In 2015, Changsha has used 190 million yuan ($29.69 million) of its financial budget to subsidize international air lines. And to help more airport passengers, a low-speed maglev line connecting Changsha's high-speed railway station with the Huanghua Airport will go into trial operation soon.
By Zhang Qiong, edited by Shahnawaz Akhtar
Source: Changsha Evening News