Sat, Jan 22, 2005 - Page 4 News List

MAC to tourists: beware of China

CNA , Taipei

The Mainland Affairs Council yesterday urged people to carefully assess the risks before heading to China and to stay alert while visiting there to reduce the risks to their personal safety.

The plea from council Vice Chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) comes at a time when large numbers of Taiwanese tourists are planning to take tours to China during the Lunar New Year holidays.

More Taiwanese are expected to head to China during this upcoming holiday than in previous years following the devastation to the tourism industry in South Asia and Southeast Asia caused by the Dec. 26 tsunami tragedy.

According to Chiu, Taiwanese make about 3 million trips to China each year for tourism or for business activities, making China one of the top destinations for Taiwanese people traveling abroad. Despite this, Taiwanese visitors have not been afforded due protection in China, Chiu claimed.

He quoted a study conducted recently by an academic group as indicating that Taiwanese tourists face 10 major problems in visiting China, including the lack of a tourism safety and security protection mechanism; overbooking of transport tickets; rampant circulation of counterfeit goods; widespread epidemic diseases; unauthorized changing of itineraries; forced visits to shops; unregulated tipping systems; and reneging on accommodation contracts.

Chiu added that any Taiwanese residents who need assistance while traveling in China can call the Straits Exchange Foundation at 8862-27129292, Chung Hwa Travel Service at 852-25258642, or the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in Macau at 853-306282.

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