Travel agency planning to send 1,300 Chinese tourists to Taiwan on cruise

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Feb 25, 2013 - Page 3

A Chinese travel agency is planning to send 1,300 tourists from Sichuan Province to Taiwan on a cruise ship late April, capitalizing on the increasing popularity of cruise tours among Chinese tourists.

A tourism executive in China said that despite it being primarily small and medium-sized tour groups that take cruises to Taiwan, China Comfort Travel’s Sichuan branch had organized a cruise tour for larger groups.

This could be the first time that so many tourists from China have applied to visit Taiwan, the executive said.

The first group, comprised of between 100 and 200 tourists, will fly to Shanghai from Chengdu on April 25 and board a Star Cruise ship that will depart for Taiwan that evening.

The ship is expected to arrive at Keelung Harbor on April 27 at 7am.

On the first day, the tour group is scheduled to visit the National Palace Museum, the Shilin Presidential Residence, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Taipei 101 and the Keelung Night Market.

The group is then to board the ship at 11pm and sail into Taichung Harbor the next morning to visit the Chung Tai Chan Monastery and Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) before returning to the ship in the evening and departing to China.

Taiwanese tourism operators said that a large portion of the Chinese public see cruise tours as a novelty, especially those from inland provinces such as Sichuan.

“The cruise tour market has great potential,” one travel agent said.

In addition, if cruise tours becomes a mainstay of the industry, it would help relieve the overcrowding in the air, hotel and tour bus sectors, the agent said.