The agreement was signed last week at the Royal Horseguards Hotel in London in front of industry guests.
Speaking at the event, Wendy Wu, founder of the operator, said the partnership would lead to new tours being developed in the coming 18 months, including itineraries focusing on traditional Chinese medicine and an exclusive historical visit to the Qianling Mausoleum – previously not open to the public.
“We hope that this will be the beginning of a great partnership and we are very proud to be the first,” she said. “We will do everything we can to develop this relationship.”
Wu also revealed that the operator would be the first to gain access to the world’s largest panda reserve (as yet unnamed) – which is currently under construction and expected to open in three years.
It will be “seven times the size” of the US’s Yellowstone national park, according to Wu, and part of it will lie within Shaanxi.
She added that the company’s top 1,000 clients would be invited to a ceremony on September 12 in the provincial capital of Xi’an.
A Tianjin Airlines route between Gatwick and Xi’an is due to launch soon, adding to the service to Chongqing currently in operation.
Robert Chen, general manager UK, Tianjin Airlines, said: “This route is significant as Xi’an has served as the capital for 13 dynasties. In 2018 we want to make this ancient city more accessible than ever.”
In 2017 the Shaanxi Province welcomed 3.8 million arrivals including 154,000 UK visitors.