Direct flight to bring more prosperity to U.K. & Central China
"To mark the first flight, I am going to fly back to the U.K. just before it, then travel back on this very first London to Wuhan flight. I will bring a delegation of around 10 British companies from the Northern Powerhouse." Nick Whittingham, Consul General of British Consulate General in Wuhan said in an interview with our reporter.
Such exchange activities between China and Britain have now become the norm. In May this year, the 2018 U.K.-Hubei Music Festival and the U.K.Wuhan Design Month were successively staged to showcase the artistic achievements of the two countries in the exchange of music and design.
"All these exchanges have drawn more people and activities that weren't happening before." These pioneering activities Mr. Whittingham mentioned include some exchange visits focusing on folk culture, art, economics and trade, during the "WuhanManchester Week," the "WuhanWelsh Week," and the "British Creativity Week," to name a few. There have also been visits by respected guests from the U.K. to Wuhan, such as Princess Anne, the British Prime Minister Theresa May, the U.K.'s Minister for Trade and Export Promotion Rona Fairhead, and football star David Beckham, to witness the increasing number of activities.
Mr. Whittingham said that it was the rapidly increasing number of visits that made both countries decide to open up the new direct flight.
"Making a decision for a new flight is based on passenger numbers, and I guess that actually, the actions of the Consulate General have contributed to boosting the number of people travelling in both directions to Wuhan, Hubei and the U.K.Numbers of people visiting from the U.K. are increasing, and we have more and more businesses coming to explore opportunities in Wuhan. We had more cultural events and I think these all contributed to the decision."
"I hope this will help to make people in Wuhan become more familiar with the U.K. After the opening of the direct flight, and more British people coming to Wuhan, we will offer more activities to promote Wuhan to U.K. people, as well as promoting the U.K. to Wuhan." Mr. Whittingham added that he is an outdoor sports enthusiast and often goes cycling on the East Lake Greenway. After following his recommendation, a lot of his British friends were greatly impressed by the area. Old buildings in Hankou and Tanhualin in Wuchang are also on his recommendation list. After visiting these places themselves, many British people developed an interest in the history of Wuhan.
For tourists travelling to the U.K. for the first time, Mr. Whittingham recommended three distinctive tourist routes: Visit London to feel its internationalization, go to Cambridge to experience the history of humanities, and then go hiking in the South Downs and the Northern Lakes to enjoy the unique countryside of the U.K.
More importantly, he hopes that through the direct flight more people can be inspired to further deepen cooperation between the two countries. "We would be continuing or organizing more events which promote people-topeople, and business-to-business links. I think the new direct flight is going to make it easier to get more people to come and take part in the activities. More people going in both directions will bring about not only understanding, but also more prosperity between the U.K. and Central China."