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Newly appointed project manager leads bid to secure Edinburgh's first direct flight with China

Marketing Edinburgh, Edinburgh Airport and City of Edinburgh Council appoint Mandarin speaker to lead China Air Services Project

Yesterday marked the first day of a landmark project to lure the first Chinese carrier to Edinburgh as Mandarin speaking Fiona Hunter takes up the position of China Air Services Project Manager at Marketing Edinburgh. 
Joining the collaborative project from her post at VisitScotland as Market Manager for China, Fiona brings significant experience to the table in attracting Chinese visitors to Scotland and supporting the industry to become ‘China Ready’. 

With experience of working closely with industry partners to support air route development discussions between China and Scotland she holds strong relationships with Chinese airline partners and those already active and connecting China to Scotland via hub destinations, such as Qatar Hong Kong, Qatar China, and Etihad China.   

Fiona Hunter, Project Manager for China Air Services, said: “I am thrilled to be taking on this incredibly exciting role at such a pivotal time for Edinburgh.  The city has a huge amount to offer and is only continuing to build momentum as it touches and inspires visitors, businesses and investors across the globe, including China.  I can’t wait to be a part of making our relationship with this key market stronger and more accessible.”  

Born in Hong Kong, Fiona spent her formative years living there before moving to Scotland where she also graduated from Heriot Watt University with an MA Hons in Marketing and Management before going on to begin a progressive and internationally diverse career.  

Having lived and held a project management position in China’s Zhejiang province previously, she also brings a thorough understanding of Eastern Culture to the new post. These skills she applies regularly in delivery of seminars on China, offering professional market advice to industry via shows, including Destination Britain China and International Luxury Travel Market China. In her current role, she has also been responsible for recruiting Chinese travel buyers for Scotland’s travel trade show ‘VisitScotland Expo’, which will be held in Edinburgh in 2016.   

The post-holder will work closely with industry partners to implement what promises to be a robust and impactful project plan, with the aim of securing the ‘holy grail’ of aviation for Edinburgh within the next 12-18 months – a direct connection to the fastest growing economy in the world, and a first for the country.  

Fiona continued: “My understanding of cultural preferences in China paired with my strong industry relationships will enable me to showcase to this increasingly captive audience, the fantastic product we have waiting to be explored here in Edinburgh.  I look forward to applying this knowledge in the new role and bolstering a ground-swell of support from businesses and partners to make the project ambition a reality.”  

John Donnelly, Chief Executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said: “Fiona’s appointment is a significant milestone in the city’s ambition for economic growth. Her strong background and relationships in both the tourism and aviation industry, coupled with a commercial mindset and acute cultural awareness will make us well equipped to take on the task at hand.  

“In line with our strategy for improved global connectivity to emerging markets, a direct route to China will not only bring inbound tourism but will also nurture improved conditions for trade and investment between Edinburgh and China – this would be groundbreaking territory for not only our city but also our country.”  

Gordon Robertson, Director of Communications at Edinburgh Airport and Chairman of Marketing Edinburgh, says: “Securing a direct route from China has been a long-term ambition for us and we’ve made significant headway in the past two years, brokering stronger partnerships and in-bound routes with Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways.  We know that Chinese tourists are our highest spending visitors, expected to bring £30.8million of revenue to Scotland by 2021 – we would expect the new route to increase this already impressive figure considerably.”  

Councillor Frank Ross, Edinburgh’s Economy Convener, said: “We are delighted with Fiona Hunter's appointment to this important role which will draw private sector interests and benefits into the case for direct flight routes to and from China.  It is clear from our growing connections and interests from China that the time is right to demonstrate the opportunities that this will bring.”

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