HAVANA – China will establish its first air connection with Cuba with direct flights to the communist island from Dec. 27, official media reported on Monday.
An Air China Boeing 777 will fly the new route, linking Beijing with Havana three times a week, with a stopover in Montreal in Canada.
Chinese flights until now have passed through Spain, Germany, France and Mexico.
Experts say the new connection is likely to increase Chinese tourism in the region reported state agency Prensa Latina.
Chinese citizens do not require visas to travel to Caribbean countries including Jamaica, the Bahamas, Grenada and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Between January and September 2015, 20,404 Chinese tourists traveled to Cuba, according to the Cuban National Office of Statistics and Information.
Tourism, an important source of income for the Cuban economy, recorded a turnover of more than $1.7 billion in the first half of 2015, according to official figures.
In 2014, the island for the first time recorded a footfall of more than three million foreign tourists, while forecasts for the current year expect to surpass that record.