An article by Vokya D, added on 14 December 2023 4 min. reading

Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport becomes the second airport in the world, after Istanbul, to welcome Chinese tourists with a dedicated ceremony and specific facilities.

On December 4, 2023, a inaugural ceremony of “China Tourist – Friendly Airport” took place at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport to celebrate the 60e anniversary of Sino-French diplomatic relations et the Sino-French Year of Cultural Tourism. Minister Chen Dong of the Chinese Embassy in France, Augustin de Romannet, CEO of the Paris Airport Authority, as well as the famous pianist Lang Lang, the erhu player Kokang and the host Julian were present during the 'event.

Under the leadership of Charles de Gaulle: an exceptional diplomatic history

It was under the presidency of Charles de Gaulle that France wrote a page of history in 1964, by becoming the first Western country to establish diplomatic relations with China. Sixty years later, Charles de Gaulle Airport is committed to perpetuating this heritage by transforming itself into a welcoming place, specially adapted to the needs of Chinese travelers.

A thought-out and adapted transformation

This metamorphosis is not without challenges. She demanded a close collaboration with Chinese airports. From now on, at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, Each sign and signage displays information in Chinese. From flight details to real-time travel announcements to and from China. Even such minute details as the availability of hot water are taken into account, thus meeting the preferences of Chinese tourists. The airport's official website, terminal information videos, tax refunds, check-in, vending machines, everything now sports a Chinese interface.

A practical and economical necessity

The initiative “China Tourist – Friendly Airport” meets a practical necessity, particularly in consideration of the central role of Charles de Gaulle airport as the main entry point for Chinese tourists into France and Europe. In 2019, the number of Chinese tourists in France reached a record of 2,2 million, generating substantial revenue of 3,5 billion euros ($3,76 billion). However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, these numbers have dropped to only a third of their previous level.

A new Sino-French era with the 2024 Olympic Games

On November 24, 2023, China took a significant step by allowing ordinary passport holders from six countries, including France, to enter China without a visa from 1er December 2023 to November 30, 2024, for business tourism, leisure, family visits or in transit for a maximum period of 15 days. This decision should help restore normality to Sino-French tourism. The 2024 Olympic Games in Paris represent a major opportunity for the rebirth of bilateral tourism between China and France. With the anticipation of a million international visitors to Paris during the Games, Chinese tourists become an essential clientele for French tourism. China remains the largest source of tourists from the Asian continent to France 

A cultural, tourist and historical rapprochement

Sixty years ago, French tourists in China were almost non-existent, but today, France has become one of the most important sources of tourists traveling to China. The “China Tourist – Friendly Airport” initiative at Paris CDG is intended to catalyze a new wave of fruitful cultural and tourism exchanges between China and France, thereby further cementing ties between these two nations. CDG, much more than a simple airport, it is witness to a constantly evolving relationship and a lasting friendship between the two great nations.