On Wednesday, 23 October 2019, the Minister of Transport of Latvia Mr Talis Linkaits addressed the 5th China and Central Eastern European Countries (CEEC) 17+1 High-Level Tourism Forum participants in Riga.
In his address at the Ministerial Round Table meeting, Mr Linkaits highlighted Latvia's work in developing direct flights and new routes to meet the growing tourism demand. The Minister highlighted that Riga International Airport is the largest air traffic hub in the Baltic States with 20 airlines operating at Riga International Airport, offering more than 80 destinations in the winter season and more than 100 in the summer season.
Mr Linkaits stressed that Latvia is actively participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the China-CEEC 17+1 cooperation format and expressed interest of Latvia to develop more charter and regular direct flights to/from CEEC countries and China.
Currently, Riga International Airport is connected by regular or charter flights to almost all 17+1 format countries, except Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. "This summer, Riga International Airport had 168 weekly flight frequency with 17+1 region destinations. For those CEEC countries and destinations that are not yet directly connected with Riga, we welcome to contact us to discuss potential cooperation” said Mr Linkaits.
The core theme of the 17+1 High-Level Tourism Forum in Riga is connectivity and closer communication, with an emphasis on three areas of cooperation - cultural contacts, digital collaboration (including marketing activities, promotion and related) and development of direct flights.
The China-CEEC 17+1 format is a cooperation format between China and the Central and Eastern European Countries that aims to promote China’s cooperation with 17 European countries - Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece.