Come for the lobster, stay for the dark skies: Nova Scotians to see direct flights from China

Direct charter flights scheduled to bring in Chinese tourists to Nova Scotia
WATCH: Two direct charter flights are now scheduled for the fall of 2020 aiming to bring tens of thousands of Chinese tourists to Nova Scotia. Jeremy Keefe reports.

Chinese tourists will soon be able to arrive in Nova Scotia by direct charter flights.

The Nova Scotia government announced the news on Tuesday, touting Canada’s Ocean Playground as a draw for Chinese tourists who are on the hunt for “lobster, wine, dark skies/star viewing, marine life watching, coastal sightseeing and visiting World Heritage sites.”

China Southern Airlines will fly from the city of Guangzhou to Halifax and is set to arrive early in the fall of 2020.

“These flights are the first step in securing regular air access from Guangdong and other regions of China to Nova Scotia and the rest of our region,” said Premier Stephen McNeil.

“We look forward to welcoming even more Chinese visitors, students and business leaders as we continue to facilitate exchanges in tourism, education and culture.”

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READ MORE: Nova Scotia’s premier supports continuing economic, cultural ties with China

McNeil has repeatedly said he believes more can be gained by developing economic and cultural ties to China than by treating the country as an adversary, despite ongoing civil unrest and the continued detention of two Canadians.

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were detained on espionage allegations last December, shortly after Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on an extradition request from the United States.

McNeil has recently returned from his eighth trip to China as the province’s premier.

“We need to continue to build the relationship so as we move past solving those issues, we continue to still build a vibrant economy for both of our countries,” McNeil said on Friday.

The two-week-long delegation also made stops in South Korea and Japan.

Premier Stephen McNeil travelling to China for 8th time as tensions rise
Premier Stephen McNeil travelling to China for 8th time as tensions rise

Nova Scotia says the flights will bring hundreds more Chinese tourists to Atlantic Canada.

The move was welcomed by the CEO of Tourism Nova Scotia on Thursday.

“China is a priority tourism market for Canada and Nova Scotia. Last year, more than 737,000 high-spending Chinese travellers visited Canada,” said Michele Saran.

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“A direct flight, offering easy access to Nova Scotia, will make our province an even more appealing Canadian destination.”

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The province says its goal is to attract 50,000 Chinese visitors annually by 2024.