|Mainland scenic sights among more cities added to weekly Taiwan-China flights
The number of direct flights between Taiwan and China will rise more than 10 percent this year to 616 flights per week amid warming relations, an official said.
The two sides have agreed to add 58 flights to the present 558 weekly flights, said Lee Wan-li, deputy director-general of Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration.
“It is fair to expect the new flights no later than April, but in the end it will be up to the carriers from the two sides which provide flight services on the routes,’’ he told AFP.
China will put eight more destinations on the map, including Lijiang, a popular scenic spot in the southwest, while Taiwan will add Chiayi city in the island’s south, Lee said.
Direct chartered flights began in 2008 and scheduled flights the following year, amid rapidly improving ties following the election of Taiwan's China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou five years ago. He was reelected last year for a last and second four-year term.
Travel between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland stopped at the end of a civil war in 1949. A ban on solo Chinese travelers was lifted in June 2011.
Previously, mainland tourists had been allowed to visit Taiwan only as part of official tour groups due to fears they might overstay their visas to work illegally on the island.
Mainland Chinese made a record 2.23 million visits to Taiwan in 2012, marking growth of nearly 50 percent from the year before, according to Taiwan's National Immigration Agency.