The first regular direct flight from the mainland to Taiwan since 1949 took off today, Reuters reported. The China Southern Airlines flight departed from the southern city of Guangzhou early this morning, in the first wave of tourism that could see millions of mainland residents visit the island. Negotiators from the mainland and Taiwan agreed last month to let as many as 3,000 mainland tourists visit Taiwan each day. The so-called weekend charter flights, which actually run regularly from Friday to Monday, fly between Taiwan and Beijing, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai and Xiamen. Opening direct flights between Taiwan and the mainland is seen as one sign of warming relations between the cross-straits rivals. Cross-strait flights are required to take detours into Hong Kong airspace, which can add significantly to total flying time on certain routes.