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Mainland, Taiwan to launch individual travel program amid warming tourism

06-13-2011 08:51 BJT Special Report:Mainland individuals visit Taiwan |

The Chinese mainland and Taiwan will launch a pilot travel program on June 28 that will allow mainlanders to visit Taiwan as individual tourists, a Taiwan affairs official said Sunday.

Wang Yi, director of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, announced the plan during a conference held at the weeklong Straits Forum, which opened in the mainland's coastal city of Xiamen on Saturday.

Wang said the first phase of the program will apply to residents of the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, which is located in southeast China's Fujian Province.

The two sides also agreed to give the green light to Fujian residents who wish to individually travel to Taiwan's islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu.

The mainland and Taiwan have witnessed booming tourism in recent years after the two sides agreed to lift a ban on mainlanders' traveling to Taiwan in July 2008.

The number of mainland tourists traveling to Taiwan in groups reached 930,000 in 2009 and shot up by 127 percent to hit 1.63 million in 2010, according to statistics from Taiwan tourism authorities.

Industry insiders estimate that the individual travel program will bring in 2 billion yuan (307 million U.S. dollars) in tourism revenues for Taiwan within half a year.

In a bid to facilitate tourism between the mainland and Taiwan, the two sides also agreed to increase the number of cross-Strait passenger flights to 558 flights per week, an increase of more than 50 percent.

The mainland added four stops for cross-Strait flights in the eastern cities of Yancheng, Wenzhou and Huangshan and the northwestern city of Lanzhou, Wang said at the conference.

Taiwan also added its southern city of Tainan as a stop, he said, adding that there are now a total of 50 stops for cross-Strait flights on both sides.

In the meantime, both sides have agreed to regulate airfares for flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Taipei, according to Wang.

The annual cross-Strait forum has become an important platform for the announcement of economic and trade policies concerning the two sides.

At the second Straits Forum, held in June of last year, airlines from both sides of the Taiwan Strait agreed to slash cross-Strait airfares by 10 to 15 percent to boost two-way travel.

Taiwan travel industry hails Chinese mainland's new individual travel policy

The Chinese mainland and Taiwan will launch the pilot travel program starting June 28, Wang Yi, director of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said during a conference held at the weeklong Strait Forum, which opened in the mainland's coastal city of Xiamen Saturday.

Mainland tourists to Taiwan hit 2.34 mln by end of May

The number of Chinese mainland tourists traveling to Taiwan reached 2.34 million as of the end of May, a top tourism official said on Sunday.


Editor:Sun Luying |Source: Xinhua

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