Chinese President Xin Jinping’s visit to the Riviera could potentially be marked by another important announcement concerning the Nice-Beijing air connection.

There are only a few days left before the visit of the Chinese president, expected to arrive in the Principality on March 24th with a large delegation. Xi Jinping, who is on a European tour, will pay tribute to Prince Albert II after the official visit of the Monegasque sovereign to China in September 2018.

The presidential plane must land at Nice airport where Xi Jinping will be hosted by a French delegation before joining Monaco. Might China Eastern, a shareholder in the Air France KLM group, take the opportunity to announce the opening of a direct line between China and Nice as many suppose?

Strong ties between Monaco and China

Indeed, Monaco is a major shareholder in the French Riviera airport company that manages the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and the Cannes Mandelieu and Saint Tropez la Mole business airports.

This announcement would be an opportunity to erase the cancellation of the planned air link project for the summer of 2018, which was abandoned at the request of the Chinese government. It would especially strengthen the already strong connection between the Chinese giant and the micro-state of Monaco. The Chinese company Galaxy Entertainment Group, which operates casino resorts in Macao, holds 5% of the capital of Société des Bains de Mer (SBM). The two companies are also candidates, in partnership, for casino operations in Japan.

As a reminder, in 2010, the French Riviera had received the Chinese president at the time, Hu Jintao. His visit was a significant trigger for a Chinese tourist movement toward the Côte d’Azur. Whatever happens, this official visit is bound to have significant economic benefits.

*Article originally published on the French edition of the Monaco Tribune.