China Eastern Airlines is expanding its Shanghai-Vancouver run to two flights daily beginning Saturday in response to a growing demand for seats.
The Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines currently offered 11 flights weekly to Vancouver, said Margaret Meng, general manager of the carrier's Canadian operations. The route was currently running at 90 percent seat occupancy despite that it was only started three years ago, she added. Since June 2010 when Canada was awarded Approved Destination Status by China, the North American country has experienced a boom in Chinese visitors who now account for its fifth largest source of tourists. Last year, according to the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), more than 273,000 Chinese visited the country, up 15.5 percent from a year earlier. "Now we have more and more Chinese students studying in Vancouver. Their parents and relatives are also traveling between Vancouver and the Chinese mainland. Besides, with more tourism visas issued, there are an increasing number of tourists traveling to Vancouver. All these factors have led to the increasing demand for more flights," Meng said. There are now 75 flights out of Vancouver each week servicing the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong markets, the most among all North American airports. The increased flights will also further economic ties between China and British Columbia (BC), Canada's western-most province, which pitches itself as Canada's Asia-Pacific gateway, said Province Premier Christy Clark. Last year, trade between resource-rich BC and China hit 15.8 billion Canadian dollars (15.24 billion U.S. dollars), up 11.6 percent from 2011. Clark also noted the province had experience a 50 percent increase in travelers from the Chinese mainland in the past 12 months and the impact on BC's economy was huge. "That matters for us because it creates jobs immediately here," she said. Another person welcoming the increased flights was Liu Fei. The consul general for China in Vancouver said her office was currently processing 400 to 600 visa applications daily for Canadians wanting to visit China.Source: China Daily, Photo Credit: Xinhau News Agency Photo
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