New flights connecting Haikou, Chengdu and Urumqi, operated by China Southern Airlines, were launched on Tuesday, according to China Southern Airlines.

The new flights will build a new airline route network linking Hainan with countries including Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan via Urumqi International Airport.

The move comes amid the growing number of tourists from countries in central Asia, western Asia and Europe.

In 2012, the number of inbound tourists visiting Hainan passed 80,000, of which more than 25% were from central Asia, Western Asia and Europe.

In the first half of 2013, the number of inbound tourists visiting China suffered a 4% decline, while the figures for Hainan bucked the trend with an increase of 3.4% thanks to the launch of a number of new flights and airline routes.

Local officials have said that chartered flights from Busan in South Korea are also to be launched in the second half of the year.

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