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Mon, Mar 19, 2001 - Page 2 News List

China plans to send tourism delegation

STAFF WRITER , WITH DPA

China will send a 36-member delegation to Taiwan next month to prepare for tour groups to visit the island beginning in July, a local newspaper said yesterday.

The travel representatives from China will arrive April 29 in Taipei for a two-week visit, the paper said.

They will attend three seminars with their Taiwan counterparts and visit tourists resorts and facilities on the island.

Taiwan plans to lift its five-decade ban on tourists from China visiting Taiwan on July 1. In the initial stage, Taipei will only accept Chinese tour groups and will set a quota of 1,000 tourists per day.

The restriction is to avoid an influx of too many tourists and to prevent Chinese from staying behind to work illegally.

According to the report, China has authorized the Hai Xia Cross Strait Travel Agency, an affiliate of the Chinese State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, to handle tours to Taiwan.

For security reasons, Taiwan has banned direct sea, air and postal links with China but has allowed Taiwan residents to visit China since 1987.

Three million people from Taiwan visited China last year for sightseeing, family reunions and business.

According to the report, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council will establish some regulations on Chinese tour groups while visiting Taiwan.

It said the council will in the initial stage only allow Chinese people over the age of 30 to visit Taiwan. Additionally, tourists from China will only be allowed to enter Taiwan through CKS International Airport and will have to exit from Kaohsiung Hsiaokang International Airport.

The paper quoted DPP legislator Chang Ching-fang (張清芳) as saying that the domestic tourism sector has proposed eight sightseeing locations for the tour groups, which include Alishan and Sun Moon Lake.

The itinerary is currently waiting for approval from the Mainland Affairs Council.

According to Chang, the government will allow Chinese tourists to set foot on the island based on a policy of "groups in, groups out" (團進團出).

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