China / HK Macao Taiwan

More mainlanders to tour Taiwan

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-08-08 21:59

KAOHSIUNG - Another four cities on the Chinese mainland have been approved to grant individual tourist visits to Taiwan as of August 28, according to a deal reached between the two sides on Wednesday.

The Chinese mainland's Association for Tourism Exchange Across the Taiwan Strait and Taiwan's Taiwan Strait Tourism Association reached the deal to allow residents from Jinan, Xi'an, Fuzhou and Shenzhen to visit Taiwan as individual tourists starting from August 28.

Shao Qiwei, president of the Beijing-based Association for Tourism Exchange Across the Taiwan Strait, said at a conference between the two sides that another 11 mainland cities in Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces on the western side of the Taiwan Strait will be allowed to send individual tourists to Taiwan's Kinmen, Penghu and Matzu islands as of August 28.

Taiwan first opened the door to individual tourists from mainland cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, on June 28 last year.

Residents from Tianjin, Chongqing, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Chengdu were allowed to visit Taiwan from April 28.

Over 1.3 million mainland tourists visited Taiwan during the first half of 2012, up 50.7 percent year on year, Shao said Monday. Shao forecast that the number of tourists traveling across the Taiwan Strait would reach 13 million in 2016 and 20 million by 2020.

Shao said at the conference that the mainland and Taiwan are important sources of tourists for each other.

The Chinese mainland is currently the largest source of tourists for Taiwan, as mainland tourists take up about 30 percent of the island's total visitors, Shao said.

Taiwan is the third-largest source of tourists for the mainland, accounting for 6 percent of total tourists received by the mainland.

Total visits from both sides surged from 4.7 million people in 2008 to 7.05 million last year, representing an annual growth rate of 14 percent, Shao said.

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