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Direct flights help inland tourism fly high

Tourism in some Chinese inland cities is seeing a boost as more nonstop international routes to the cities have opened up. Cities such as Xi'an, Chengdu and Wuhan have been added to some airlines' international route networks for their rich tourism resources. On Sept 3, Qatar Airways, one of the main airlines in the Middle East, launched its Chengdu-Doha route, the third international route in Chengdu added this year. Chengdu's tourism resources, especially its panda facility, which attracts foreign tourists, is one reason the carrier opened the new route, said Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways. Domestic airlines have also made efforts to connect the city to international routes. Earlier this year, Air China opened a route from Chengdu to Frankfurt, and Sichuan Airlines opened a route from Chengdu to Melbourne. "Chengdu will add three new international routes every year according to the local government's plan," said Chen Zhongwei, director of the Chengdu transport and logistics bureau. Moscow and San Francisco may be the next cities to connect to Chengdu in the next year.

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