If Singapore's citizens are in any doubt about the regional changes being driven by China, all they have to do is look skywards. Fuelled by rising demand, Chinese airlines are increasing flights to the Lion City, bringing tens of thousands of businesspeople and tourists. Over the past year, three new airlines - Hainan Air, Xiamen Airlines and Air Macau - have joined the roster of those linking the island-state and China. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore says Chinese and Singaporean carriers offer 115 weekly services between the two countries. While the city-state's tourist board has courted the growing market, more Singaporeans are also heading for China, most in search of commercial opportunities. 'The Shanghai flights are always full, even though there are now two more of them a day,' said Jessie Lee, a travel agent at B&L Travel. In the first 11 months of last year, 611,000 people from the mainland arrived in Singapore, a 36 per cent rise on the previous period in 2001. Administrative reforms have made it easier for people to visit Singapore. There has also been a big campaign to attract tourists to the island-state. Last year, Singapore reduced the time for processing business visas for mainland executives from two weeks to three working days. The permitted length of stay for businesspeople was extended to two years or longer, from the previous limit of one year. Visitors from the mainland can now get multi-entry passes for two weeks, instead of four days. A Singapore minister told an investment conference this month: 'The region can expect to see an exponential rise in Chinese tourists as incomes continue to grow at a fast pace.' The Singaporean and Chinese governments have amended the formal framework that governs their air links. Last month, a Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said the Sino-Singapore Air Services Agreement was updated to 'allow capacity for passenger services to increase by about 75 per cent and cargo capacity to be tripled by 2004'. The Singapore Tourist Board, hoping for a million arrivals from the mainland by 2005, has run an extensive advertising campaign on mainland television channels and in newspapers. A board official said the ads, featuring Singaporean celebrity Fann Wong, reached millions of mainland households. 'We want to attract the rising middle-income segment of white-collar professionals,' the official said. A study in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Tourism Research predicts Singapore could host 1.03 million mainland tourists by 2006, adding over S$410 million (HK$1.84 billion) to gross domestic product and creating 8,000 jobs.