Taiwan expands mainland China tourism program

David W. J. Hsieh (left) and Shao Qiwei, respective TSTA and CTEA chairmen, discuss promoting cross-strait tourism Aug. 8 in Kaohsiung City.
More independent mainland Chinese tourists are set to begin visiting Taiwan later this month following the latest regulatory easing announced Aug. 8 by the Taiwan government at a cross-straits tour cooperation forum in Kaohsiung City.

“Qualified residents of Fuzhou, Jinan, Shenzhen and Xi-an can visit Taiwan from Aug. 28,” said David W. J. Hsieh, director-general of the Tourism Bureau. “This brings the number of mainland Chinese cities participating in the independent tourism program to 13.”

Launched in June 2011, the program permits a maximum 1,000 mainland Chinese to enter Taiwan per day for visits of just over a fortnight. Currently, residents from Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Xiamen are eligible under the agreement.

Hsieh, who doubles as chairman of the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association, also said that from Aug. 28 residents from 11 additional mainland Chinese cities will be allowed to visit the Taiwan islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu under the three links scheme. This change brings the total number to 20 and is expected to significantly boost economic activity across the outlying regions.

“The move, made by the TSTA and its mainland Chinese counterpart the Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association, is expected to boost Taiwan’s tourism industry and promote cross-strait exchanges.”

Over the first six months of the year, Taiwan welcomed more than 10,700 independent mainland Chinese visitors for an average of 266 per day. The bureau has set a 2012 target of two million arrivals and 7.26 million in two-way visits.

Hsieh said the bureau plans to achieve this goal by offering more in-depth and tailor-made travel packages to enhance the tourism experiences of mainland Chinese visitors taking part in the program.

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Rachel Chan
Taiwan Today

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