Taiwan and China set to add more flights

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The Independent Travel

Taiwan and China are planning to boost their cross-strait weekly flights by a third to 500 to meet ever growing demand, the island's authorities said Friday.

The two sides will meet next week in China to finalise the matter ahead of the scheduled beginning of individual Chinese tourism to the island in June, said an official at Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration.

Last year the number of weekly flights was raised to 370 from 270, reflecting booming trade and travel between the mainland and the island which are now linked by a sweeping economic accord.

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 three years ago.

More than 1.63 million Chinese visited Taiwan in 2010, a rise of 67 percent from a year before, making China the biggest source of visitors to the island.

Beijing still considers self-ruled Taiwan a part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the two sides have been governed separately since 1949 after a civil war.

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