Tue, Jul 01, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Travel agents, businessmen glad for end to quarantine

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Local travel industry representatives were elated yesterday following the announcement that the 10-day quarantine requirement on people coming from China would be lifted starting Friday.

"This is a very exciting news for Taiwan's travel sector," said Johnson Tseng (曾盛海), chairman of the Taipei Association of Travel Agents (台北市旅行公會). "I think cross-strait tourism will pick up soon."

The number of people traveling between China and Taiwan fell by more than 80 percent between April and June compared to the same period last year, Tseng said. Last year, the local travel sector earned up to NT$3.6 million in revenues from cross-strait tourism, Tseng said.

While few Chinese nationals are allowed to vacation in Taiwan, a large number of Taiwanese visit China and were subject to the home-quarantine requirements upon their return.

The nation's two international carriers are also expected to restore all flights to Hong Kong and Macau this month.

"We think the demand for cross-strait travel will rebound soon," said Joseph Wu (武志厚), a public relations specialist at China Airlines Co (中華航空).

China Airlines operates six to eight flights to Hong Kong every day and may offer up to 12 flights in the near future to cater to the potentially high demand this season, Wu said.

EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) is also planning to increase the number of flights to Hong Kong and Macau this month from the current 68 flights per week, said Eric Lin (林司忠), a public-relations official.

To capitalize on the lucrative travel market, local travel agency Easy Trip (中信旅行社) yesterday announced several deals on trips to China. The Taipei-based firm offers a five-day trip to Shanghai including air ticket and hotel accommodation for as little as NT$5,999 per person, a company salesperson said.

The special package will last until the middle of this month and is only available to ROC passport holders, she said.

Taiwanese businessmen in China who were avoiding returning because of quarantine were also relieved that the requirement was being dropped.

"Many Taiwanese in Shanghai have been craving to go home since late April," said Chang Fu-mei (張福美), chairman of the Society for Promoting Taiwanese Business in Shanghai (台灣上海台商聯誼促進會).

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