Hong Kong is at risk of being bypassed by experienced Chinese travellers because of the increasing number of direct flights between the mainland and regional countries, Asian tourism chiefs have warned. Colin Teo Boon Lin, China director for the Singapore Tourism Board, said direct flights to Singapore were cheaper, although he said first-time travellers may still prefer to stop over in Hong Kong. Mainland tourists travelling abroad largely come from Guangdong. Mr Teo said Singapore's open-sky policy welcomed more direct air links with the mainland. There are 117 direct flights every week between Singapore and mainland cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming, Chengdu and Xiamen. Thailand has 90 direct flights with 14 cities, and there are 407 flights a week between Japan and the mainland. However, the Civil Aviation Department said direct flights between Hong Kong and the mainland could reach 1,100 a week, including extra chartered flights, during peak seasons. Suwat Jutakorn, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Beijing office, said most mainland tourists, particularly those from Guangdong, came to Thailand through Hong Kong. 'We are discussing with the China National Tourism Administration the possibility of linking western China, including the Silk Road, and northern Thailand as a new cultural expedition route,' Mr Suwat said. He believed the proposed route would attract Europeans. It would also persuade some mainland travellers to bypass Hong Kong, he said. More direct flights would also encourage Thais to visit the mainland, he said. In the first 10 months of last year, the number of Thai visitors travelling to the mainland increased by 30.8 per cent to 187,453.