Charter flights between Hualien in eastern Taiwan and Hong Kong were launched on Tuesday, providing more convenient air links and transit services for both sides, Hualien County government announced on Tuesday.
The flights operated by Hong Kong carrier Hong Kong Express will initially fly two round-trip flights per week in December, increasing to four starting in January, said Peng Wei-tsu (???), acting director of the county's tourism department.
Initial response to the new service was positive, with the first two round-trip flights fully booked and the remaining December flights currently 80 percent booked, he said.
The direct flight service could make Hualien a more attractive destination for tourists, while Hualien residents will also be able to travel to Hong Kong more easily and fly on to Tokyo, China or other Southeast Asian cities, said Peng.
Peng said the county government will continue working with travel agencies to sell more tour packages, adding that it was also trying to introduce subsidies to encourage charter flight use.
The service is part of ongoing efforts by Hualien government to attract more travelers following the sharp fall in Chinese tourists since the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took power in May.
The local government has also worked with the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to introduce 10 direct charter flights between Hong Kong and Hualien, operated by airlines including China Airlines and Hong Kong Dragon Airlines.
The new charter flight service will make Hualien the second Taiwanese destination for Hong Kong Express, which already operates scheduled daily flights between Hong Kong and Taichung in central Taiwan.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel