Taiwan Will Open to Individual Chinese Tourists Later This Month

Posted June 9th, 2011 at 12:35 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Officials say Chinese tourists from selected cities will be able to start visiting Taiwan on their own by the end of this month.

The plan was endorsed Wednesday at a meeting of officials from China and Taiwan to review a number of agreements between the two governments. Until now, Chinese have been allowed to visit Taiwan only in organized tour groups for fear they would overstay their visas and seek employment.

The officials said technical details need to be completed and documents exchanged before the agreement can go into effect, but that the travel will begin by the end of June. The officials also approved a plan to increase the number of weekly cross-Strait flights to 550 from the current 370 in expectation of growing demand.

The officials also agreed to repatriate 14 Taiwanese criminal suspects to Taiwan from the mainland.

The two governments have concluded a total of 15 agreements on mainly economic issues since President Ma Ying-jeou took office in Taiwan in 2008. Mr. Ma has promoted the agreements as a way to ease cross-Strait military tensions while helping Taiwan economically.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council says almost 2 million tourists have visited Taiwan in organized tour groups since it lifted a decades-old ban on mainland visitors in July 2008. Taiwan says the Chinese tourists have injected more than $3 billion into its economy.