What might have been difficult to imagine a few years back, has become a reality. Thanks to tourism, China and Taiwan can now call themselves friends. As minuscule a step as this may be in terms of the whole spectrum of China-Taiwan relations, when an Air China flight from Beijing lands in Taiwan on July 4, the world will certainly appreciate its significance.
Years and years of bickering have strained the relations between China and Taiwan, but it is apparent that both sides are looking forward to the future through tourism, proving once again that the importance of tourism goes far beyond economic gains. The latest move by China and Taiwan is a clear manifestation that civilized nations can look past their differences and open up to each other through tourism.
Air China will commence regular direct flights from Beijing to Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The first flight, on an Airbus A330, will depart from Beijing Capital International Airport at 8:30 a.m. Beijing time and arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 1:00 p.m.
“Air China is proud to be a part of this historic moment for China,” said Zhang Chunzhi, Air China spokesperson and marketing department general manager. “This new bridge between Taipei, Kaohsiung and Beijing will help enhance China’s cultural and commercial ties.”
The Air China service is made possible by a momentous agreement between China and Taiwan. Officials from both sides met in Beijing on June 12 to clinch the deal that was in the making for almost 10 years. The two sides began formal discussions in 1999.
Air China said the new flights will allow Chinese travelers from both sides of the straits to travel more freely between mainland China and Taiwan. “This will open up business, cultural and travel opportunities between the cities,” Air China said. “The flights will also offer travelers from Taiwan a convenient gateway to connect with flights from Beijing to other cities and countries throughout the world.”
The July 4 flight will mark the first time in over 60 years that there have been regular direct flights between mainland China and Taiwan.