VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 20 (UPI) -- China Eastern Airlines said it will add more Shanghai-Vancouver flights, as visits between the two countries have increased.
The number of Chinese visitors to Canada increased by 15.5 percent from 2011 to 2012, the Canadian Tourism Commission reported. The agency said 273,000 Chinese visited Canada last year.
Currently, there are 11 scheduled flights from Vancouver to Shanghai and flights are booked with 90 percent of the seats filled, said Margaret Meng, general manager of China Eastern Airlines in Canada.
The airline intends to bump that up to two flights per day, China's official Xinhua news agency reported Saturday.
"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 75 scheduled flights from Vancouver to mainland China each week, making Vancouver the top North American entry point to and from China, the newspaper said.
"So this is going to bring lots of benefits for our people, and also on the Chinese market too. With the increased flight we're also able to secure jobs, employment at home in China," said Liu Fei, the consul general for China in Vancouver.
Liu said her office processes about 500 visa applications daily for Canadians wanting to visit China.