SHANGHAI: Air travel between China and India will be made easier with a new direct flight between China's economic hub Shanghai and India's capital Delhi.
The direct flight, operated by Air India, the national carrier of the South Asian country, was launched over the weekend to meet increasing demand from business travelers and tourists from the two countries.
Passengers will be able to fly the route four times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The direct flight will cut flying time because previously the plane stopped in Bangkok.
"Each year, over 500,000 Indians travel to China and 100,000 Chinese tourists travel to India, but the figure is just the tip of the iceberg, compared with the huge outflow of Chinese tourists traveling abroad," Vishnu Prakash, Consul General of India in Shanghai, said.
About 5,000 Indians live in the Yangtze River Delta area, Prakash said. The Indian consulate opened a visa center in Shanghai three weeks ago to improve business and travel links between Shanghai and India.
China's outbound tourism sector has skyrocketed in recent years, with the number of Chinese traveling abroad reaching 34 million in 2006, up from the 12 million registered in 2001. The 2007 figure is expected to have risen a further 10 percent year-on-year to 37.4 million. The nation has surpassed Japan to become the biggest source of outbound tourists in Asia.