Fri, Jul 29, 2005 - Page 1 News List

MAC lauds progress on tourism

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN KAOHSIUNG

Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday said that there had been some progress on the issue of opening up Taiwan to Chinese tourists, while the Chinese government agreed to talk with a local agency commissioned by Taipei.

The agency authorized to hold talks with China is the "Travel Agency Association of Republic of China, Taiwan," Wu said.

Beijing said in May that it would allow its nationals to make sightseeing trips to Taiwan.

But Taipei has insisted that government-to-government talks have to be held over the matter before proceeding.

"Progress seems to have been made because Beijing endorsed the `Travel Agency Association of Republic of China, Taiwan' as a window for negotiation," Wu added.

He said that a timetable and agenda for the negotiations had not been decided on.

Taipei is planning to institute a quota of 1,000 tourists per day for Chinese nationals resident in China, but it says that this classification for an approved tourist will only be authorized after a cross-strait negotiating mechanism is established.

The negotiating mechanism is also expected to deal with potential complications such as tourists who violate the terms of their visas, procedures for repatriation and safety issues.

The willingness of both sides of the Taiwan Strait to talk about freeing up tourism restrictions has given the local industry a boost in confidence.

Stocks for major local airlines and hotels have risen in recent weeks because of optimism that the injection of hundreds of Chinese tourists a day will lay the groundwork for increases in the quota.

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