On August 3, 2018, the first-ever nonstop charter flights between Pittsburgh and Shanghai landed at Pittsburgh International Airport with more than 300 Chinese tourists, many of them visiting the U.S. for the first time.
This flight is the culmination of years of hard work between partners: VisitPittsburgh, the Pittsburgh International Airport, Idea Foundry, and our Chinese partners CAISSA Touristic and China Eastern Airlines.
Behind the scenes, Pittsburgh had been preparing to welcome these as well as other Chinese visitors to Pittsburgh. Earlier in 2018, FriendlyPittsburgh worked with VisitPittsburgh and Guest Service Solutions to provide "101" and "202" levels of training on Chinese culture and best practices to members of the service and hospitality industries. The eagerness to learn and enthusiasm of the participants and other representatives of these industries to be respectful of cultural differences was present among all the participants.
FriendlyPittsburgh also assisted the airport and VisitPittsburgh in preparing for the arrival and departure celebrations, welcome dinner, gift bags, and signage translation. We also recruited volunteers from the Chinese community to help interpret at the airport and at the attractions. In addition, FriendlyPittsburgh arranged and coordinated group tours in the Oakland area with VisitPittsburgh for the Chinese tourists.
Openness to learning about different cultures goes a long way to make visitors feel welcome, whether it be the Chinese travelers on the charter flight or anyone else. Between the coordination of the partners in making sure visitors see the best that Pittsburgh has to offer and the eagerness of Pittsburghers across the board to be welcoming, we can truly say that Pittsburgh did a wonderful job hosting and welcoming guests from China.