Thu, Jun 09, 2011 - Page 3 News List

No start date yet for individual tourists

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Officials from the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) yesterday confirmed that individual Chinese tourists would be allowed to visit Taiwan by the end of this month — although they did not give an exact timetable or any other details.

The two sides also said they would increase the number of cross-strait flights from the current 370 per week to 550 or more in view of a larger number of Chinese tourists heading toward Taiwan.

Greater Tainan and Yencheng City in Jiangsu Province will be added to the list of stops in cross-strait flights, they said.

The announcement came after a four-hour meeting at Taipei’s Grand Hotel to review the implementation of cross-strait agreements.

ARATS Deputy Chairman Zheng Lizhong (鄭立中) told a press conference after the meeting that the two sides would work on the details and paperwork before formally announcing the individual tourist format.

SEF Deputy Chairman Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉) refused to confirm whether individual Chinese tourists would be allowed to visit starting on June 25.

The Mainland Affairs Council has previously said a maximum of 500 Chinese residents of Shanghai, Beijing and Xiamen per day will be eligible to visit Taiwan as independent tourists. Residents from Fujian Province will be able to travel as individuals to Kinmen and Matsu.

Applicants for individual visits must either be students older than 18 or non-students who are at least 20 years old. A visit will be limited to a maximum of 15 days, and those who fail to follow regulations will be barred from the country for three years.

Travel agencies that handle individual Chinese tourist visits will also be held responsible for any violations of the regulations.

Kao said the foundation and ARATS also agreed to work together to get more landing slots, reduce airfares and enforce the safety of cross-strait travel, among other measures to promote tourism.

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