Cathay Pacific Airways takes its inaugural flight from Virginia’s Dulles International Airport to Hong Kong (HKG) today, marking the launch of the longest nonstop air route between Hong Kong and the Capital Region.
Travel from the Asia Pacific Region to Virginia is forecast to grow by roughly 100,000 visitors over the next decade, Gov. Ralph Northam said at ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
“Today, we celebrate the global connection this new route represents. Cathay Pacific’s new flights open the door for increased tourism, allowing us to extend a warm welcome to those visiting from Hong Kong and around the globe,” Northam said. “We look forward to introducing a new generation of travelers to our incredibly diverse tourism offerings, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to our 28 miles of warm sunny beaches. Combined with the added potential for increased business and trade investment, this new service is a big win for all involved.”
Cathay Pacific is the latest in a series of new airline services launching at IAD in 2018. In 2017, Dulles’ international passenger activity increased to a record 7.8 million.
International tourism is an important component of Virginia’s economic strategy. In 2017, Virginia hosted 1.1 million international visitors, who spent almost $2 billion in the Commonwealth. Of those visitors, 157,000 were from the Asia Pacific Region. China, India, South Korea, and Japan are all top 10 markets for Virginia visitation.