Beijing: China has permitted more direct flights to Sri Lanka and Maldives to facilitate its tourists to visit the two South Asian countries, which have emerged as Beijing`s strategic allies in recent years.
Sri Lankan Airlines has launched a non-stop flight linking south China`s Chongqing City with Colombo to meet the rising demand from Chinese tourists.
Chongqing is the fifth Chinese city or region to have a direct air link with Colombo.
Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong are the other cities that have a direct air link with Colombo.
Sri Lanka attracted over 50,000 Chinese visitors between January and April and the number is expected to surpass 120,000 by the end of this year.
A direct air route between Wuhan, the capital of central China`s Hubei Province, and the Maldivian capital Male was also opened today and an an Airbus A320 was operated on the route.
Wuhan is the seventh Chinese city to open a direct air route with the Maldives after Hong Kong, Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Guangzhou and Beijing.
Chinese citizens are eligible for visa-exempt visits to the Maldives for 30 days.
Sri Lanka and Maldives are trying to woo a chunk of over 90 million Chinese tourists who went abroad last year.