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New high expected for Taiwan tourism

06-13-2011 09:04 BJT Special Report:Individuals travel in Taiwan |

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Taiwan is preparing for a tourism boom after new policies allowing Chinese mainland residents to travel to the island as individual tourists come into effect at the end of this month. The stock market in Taiwan is already rising prior to the expected increase in tourists. There is no doubt that this policy will be a golden opportunity for all business sectors.

Taiwan first received tourists from the mainland in July 2008 after the two sides agreed to lift a ban on mainlanders traveling to the island. They were allowed to travel in groups with specific agencies. Since then, Taiwan has witnessed booming tourism. According to Taiwan tourism authorities, the number of mainland tourists were close to 1 million in 2009 and shot up to 1.63 million in 2010.

However, traveling in groups means less freedom. People have to follow a planned schedule and spend a certain amount of time at each tourist site. This will all change by the end of the month.

To prepare for individual travelers, 22 tour companies have invested 4 billion US dollars expanding their facilities.

Taiwan was suffering a deficit in service sectors before 2008. That has changed since mainlanders started traveling to the island. 1.8 billion US dollars of revenue was brought in to service industries in the same year. 2 billion in 2009 and 2.7 billion in 2010.

Mainland tourists will also bring a vast number of job opportunities in Taiwan. By the end of last year, 11,000 jobs were created in the food and drinks industry. 17,000 more are expected in the next 2 years.

The two side have also agreed to increase the number of cross-Strait passenger flights to 558 flights per week, an increase of more than 50 percent.

Major cities such as Taipei, Kaohsiung, Kending and Tainan have organized festivals and created promotional tour packages to attract tourists.

Individual tourism is not only good news for businesses but also for residents from both sides. Before the lifting of the travel ban, visiting Taiwan just a dream for many mainlanders. It was also unequal because Taiwan residents were always able to travel to the mainland. Since 2008, separated families and friends could finally be reunited. With individual touring, people can schedule their own tours and stay with their friends and relatives if they wish. This new policy enables travelers to explore wherever they want on the island.

Editor:Shi Jierui |Source: CNTV.CN

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