The annual World Routes forum has officially been handed over to next year’s host city, Guangzhou, at a ceremony in Barcelona.
World Routes brings together airlines, airports and destinations to plan and negotiate future air services.
Guangzhou, an economic hub on the Pearl River in Guangdong Province, South China, will provide the perfect platform for the event in 2018.
Guangzhou has been an important trade centre for 2,000 years due to its strategic position near the South China Sea.
Its economic strength has helped Guangdong to maintain its status as the richest province in China for the last three decades.
The colourful Canton Tower and Cantonese cuisine has made Guangzhou a popular choice with international tourists.
World Routes 2018 will be hosted by Guangdong Airport Authority, the owner of Baiyun International Airport.
Baiyun is China’s third busiest airport and the 15th busiest in the world, handling nearly 60 million passengers in 2016.
A second terminal will be able to handle up to 80 million passengers a year when it opens in early 2018.
Steven Small, brand director of Routes, said: “Baiyun International Airport’s development plans reflect Guangzhou’s economic strength.
“China is due to become the world’s largest aviation market in the next seven years and Baiyun will take a leading role in this growth.
International route development professionals from 270 airlines, 600 airports and 80 tourism authorities attended World Routes 2017 in Barcelona, and Guangzhou can expect similar numbers next year.
Kejian Zhang, chairman of the board of Guangdong Airport Authority, said: “It’s a great honour to win the right to host World Routes 2018.
“I believe it will be an excellent opportunity to showcase Guangzhou City and Guangdong Province to the world.
“We’re looking forward to meeting all of the friends of this great event. We’ll be meeting them with our best service and full enthusiasm.”