Sat, Jan 15, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Lienchiang County eyes independent Chinese tourists

Staff Writer, with CNA

Lienchiang County proposed yesterday that independent tourists from China be allowed to visit the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu first before Taiwan is opened fully to this segment of Chinese travelers.

Taiwan will need to negotiate details with China before the plan can go ahead, county officials said.

Chinese tourists are currently required to visit Taiwan as part of tour groups, but Taiwan and China have been discussing the possibility that some tourists be allowed to travel to Taiwan independent of tour groups. The idea to use Matsu (the main island chain in Lienchiang County) and Kinmen as testing grounds for the policy was raised by Lienchiang County Commissioner Yang Sui-sheng (楊綏生) during a visit to Matsu by Mainland Affairs Council Minister Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛).

Lienchiang-elected Legislator Tsao Erh-chang (曹爾忠) and Lienchiang County Council speaker Chen Kuei-chung (陳貴忠) were also on hand to push the idea.

As part of its efforts to draw more Chinese tourists, the county is seeking to further expand ferry services between Matsu and China by adding a new route to Huangqi in Guangdong Province, the officials said, beyond the current services that reach only Fujian Province.

Also, the officials said, the county hopes that application procedures for Chinese citizens traveling to Matsu and Kinmen via the “small three links” can be simplified.

Lai said she would help push for the plan, the officials said.

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