China obstructs tourism negotiations, official says

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Sat, Feb 11, 2006 - Page 3

The government has been working on a policy to open up Taiwan to Chinese tourists, but the process is being delayed by Beijing officials, who have been slow to start the negotiation process, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Huang Wei-feng (黃偉峰) said yesterday.

Stalled

"The negotiation and coordination process to fully open up to tourists from China has been stalled. Although China's National Tourism Administration director Shao Qiwei (邵琪偉) designated the Cross-Strait Tourism Association to handle the negotiations with Taiwan, the organization so far has been unclear of its direction, as well as who its members actually are," Huang said yesterday in response to a question from Minister of Transportation and Communications Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪).

In a speech delivered during a celebration to mark the beginning of Tourism Festival 2006 yesterday, Kuo said her ministry is considering the idea of implementing direct holiday charter flights across the Taiwan Strait on a regular basis.

Huang said that the prerequisite is to first allow Chinese tourists to come to Taiwan, and that this issue still awaits proper government-to-government negotiation.

"No progress has been made inthe talks ... because of intentional procrastination by the Chinese authorities," Huang said.

Kuo said that people who have been away from Taiwan for a while have told her that they miss its convenience, tasty food and entertainment venues, as well as the locals' cordiality.

English-friendly

She said that Taiwan must seek long-term planning strategies to enhance the competitiveness of its tourism resources.

To pursue a more global perspective, the nation must start from the basics, such as bringing the hospitality of the Taiwanese people into full play and making the country's tourism industry an English-friendly environment, Kuo said.