Source： Taiwan Today
Later this month, Taiwan will begin welcoming more independent mainland Chinese tourists to its shores. Approved by the ROC Mainland Affairs Council April 1, the move is expected to boost the local tourism industry and further improve Taipei-Beijing relations.
Qualified residents from the mainland Chinese cities of Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Tianjin will join those from Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen in the program. In addition, Fuzhou, Jinan, Shenzhen and Xi-an are expected to be included by year-end.
The MAC plans to handle this welcome influx of visitors by doubling the daily cap on mainland Chinese independent tourists to 1,000. Since the program commenced June 28, 2011, more than 56,000 participants from across the strait have visited Taiwan.
Working with central and local government agencies, as well as the local tourism sector, the MAC is readying a number of complementary measures such as enhancing service quality, boosting travel safety and streamlining application procedures. As part of this process, the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is organizing Taiwan tourism seminars and mainland Chinese promotion campaigns.
There can be no doubt that the program is proving a boon for Taiwan’s tourist-related businesses. Although some claim that local infrastructure is not sufficiently developed to handle more cross-strait visitors, these anxieties are salved by the fact that tourism and transportation operators have invested an additional NT$160 billion (US$5.41 billion) in their industries after regulations on visits by mainland Chinese tourists to Taiwan were eased by the ROC government July 2008.
Independent visits by mainland Chinese tourists will spur the rapid development of Taiwan’s tourism infrastructure and help prepare the island to welcome even greater numbers of arrivals from across the strait. The higher daily cap on visits is key to helping local industry operators reap a rich bounty of economic rewards.
Since the government further opened Taiwan to mainland Chinese sightseers, around 5 million visitors have traveled to its shores, generating NT$295.5 billion in tourism revenues. Independent mainland Chinese tourists are expected to create business worth between NT$9 billion and NT$15 billion annually, making them an increasingly valuable segment of Taiwan’s international tourism market.
The independent travel program is set to bring hundreds of thousands of tourists from mainland China to Taiwan every year and play a significant role in the island’s economic development strategy. This will deliver sustainable benefits to all sections of Taiwan society, and help lay the foundation for realizing ROC President Ma Ying-jeou’s golden decade blueprint and greater national prosperity.
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