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It has been two years since Taiwan opened its tourism market to Chinese mainland residents. Residents from all provinces and regions will now be able to travel to Taiwan. Prices of Taiwan tours for mainland residents have also been reduced.
On Sunday, residents from the Mainland's last 6 provinces and regions including Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Tibet and Qinghai were allowed to travel to Taiwan.
Two years ago, mainland residents had to spend nearly 10,000 yuan for a Taiwan tour. But now an eight-day island tour only costs between 5,500 and 6,000 yuan. Travel agencies say this drop has led to the increase of mainland tourists.
Li Shuang, director-manager of BTG International Travel & Tours, said, "The numbers of tourists to Taiwan from our agency surpassed 1,200 in April. The number came close to 15-hundred in May, which is a record."
Within two years, revenue from mainland tour groups has reached more than 60-billion New Taiwan dollars. Taiwan's Tourism Bureau Director-General says cross-Strait tourism has not only brought great financial benefits to the island, but has also boosted communications and understanding across the strait.
Janice She-Jen Lai, director-general of Taiwan Tourism Bureau,said, "Strengthening communication between the mainland and Taiwan through tourism is very important."
In June 2008, officials from both sides of the Straits met in Beijing and signed historic agreements on flights and tourism across the Strait.
One month later, residents from 12 mainland provinces and municipalities including Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai were the first to be allowed to travel on tours to Taiwan.
In February 2009, an additional 13 provinces and municipalities were added to the list.