Chengdu

Labourers work on the terminal as construction is underway at the new Hefei Xinqiao airport and its four runways, in Hefei, east China's Anhui province on March 14, 2012, which is schedule to be completed by end of this year.Given China’s increasing status as an economic power, it’s not surprising that more and more people are flying to the country. But it’s taken a while for new routes to open up, with much of the air traffic routed via the established centres of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. That seems to be changing.

British Airways announced on Wednesday that it will next year start flying from Heathrow to Chengdu – one of China’s growing inland centres, and Finnair announced on Thursday that it will be the first airline to connect Europe and Xi’an, another large interior city, flying three times per week from Helsinki. 

Further evidence of the PR savvy of the city of Chengdu.

Having courted western journalists in Beijing with fondue and foie gras, the city is now making a tourism push in London during the Olympics. How? With the iconic black cab, a panda motif, and a QR code. Of course. 

Last weekend while Beijing’s rubber-stamp congress was in full swing, one event stood out among the press conferences and endless speeches that characterise the annual confab. The Chengdu government hosted a champagne brunch – for foreign journalists.