China Eastern Airlines Resumes Operations to Maldives, Expected to Increase Chinese Tourist Influx

China Eastern Airlines, the second-largest Chinese airline, resumes flights between China and The Maldives. The inaugural Kunming-Malé flight landed at Velana International Airport (VIA) on Wednesday, reinstating vital air connectivity between the two countries.




China Eastern Airlines, the second-largest airline in China, has resumed flight operations between China and The Maldives. The inaugural flight from Kunming, Yunnan province’s capital and primary transportation hub, landed at Velana International Airport (VIA) in Malé on Wednesday evening.


The revival of this vital route follows its suspension due to stringent travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. The reinstatement of these flights marks a significant milestone in the normalization of international travel and tourism.


A ceremony was held at VIA to mark the resumption of flights, attended by Ibrahim Faisal, the Minister of Tourism, and Wang Lixin, the Chinese Ambassador to The Maldives. Ambassador Wang expressed her pleasure at the flight’s resumption, noting its role in enhancing people-to-people exchanges and tourism cooperation between China and The Maldives.


China Eastern Airlines plays a crucial role in The Maldives’ tourism sector, attracting a substantial number of Chinese tourists. With daily services now operational between the two destinations, the airline is poised to further bolster tourism ties.


Historically, China has been The Maldives’ top tourism source market. Despite temporary setbacks due to pandemic-related restrictions, China has reclaimed its position as the leading source market in 2024, driving significant tourist arrivals.


According to tourism ministry data, as of 27 February, The Maldives has welcomed 52,995 Chinese visitors this year, constituting 13.3 percent of the total tourist arrivals.


As The Maldives targets over two million tourist arrivals in 2024, Tourism Minister Faisal aims to increase Chinese tourist arrivals by 60 percent. Other Chinese airlines serving The Maldives include Xiamen Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Szechuan Air, and Beijing Capital Airlines.


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