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Old February 9th, 2012, 05:15 PM   #81
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Fri, Feb 10, 2012
Taiwan to allow individual tourists from more cities
Taipei Times with CNA

Taiwan will open its doors to individual tourists from eight more Chinese cities, but the daily quota is not likely to increase, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday.

After a two-day meeting between the Taipei-based Taiwan Strait Tourism Association and the Beijing-headquartered Cross-Strait Tourism Association that started on Wednesday in Hong Kong, the bureau said new measures for the Free Independent Traveler (FIT) program remain under discussion.

The program, which was launched in June last year, allows up to 500 independent travelers per day from Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen to visit Taiwan.

According to bureau statistics, an average of 184 Chinese nationals per day have taken advantage of the program since the agreement took effect.

Despite declining to reveal the names of the eight cities, Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General David Hsieh (謝勤益) said those with more developed economies and established travel industries were more likely to get picked to be included in the program.

Mainland Affairs Council spokesman Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said after the meeting that differences remained over which cities to include, so more discussions were needed.
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Old February 11th, 2012, 05:58 AM   #82
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Thu, Feb 09, 2012
Medical tourism operators push for integrated approach
Taipei Times with CNA

Medical tourism providers are pushing for a more integrated strategy to lure potential customers from China as the effect of a policy that allows independent Chinese travelers to visit the country has so far been limited.

Sammy Yen, general manager of Lion Travel’s medical tourism unit, said the travel industry has been trying to develop more comprehensive medical tourism packages through closer cooperation to win over high-end customers because a business model based on quantity is not likely to work.

“We used to have high hopes for the free independent traveler [FIT] program,” he said. “But we have overestimated its benefits.”

Yen was referring to a policy that began in June last year, when Taiwan opened its doors to tourists from certain Chinese cities to visit Taiwan without having to join a tour group or be accompanied by a tour guide.

While some healthcare institutions that provide comprehensive physical checkups had expected the FIT program to bring them at least 3,000 Chinese visitors seeking medical services last year, Yen said the actual number was about 1,500.

According to statistics from the National Immigration Agency, 30,281 Chinese visitors came through the program from June to December last year, far short of the industry’s expectations, since the quota was set to allow up to 500 visitors per day. As a result, Yen and fellow medical tourism providers said they would have to launch more upscale services to establish the brand and publicize what they have on offer.

Meanwhile, Yen said the industry has also been working much more closely with government agencies, discussing ways to improve Taiwan’s competitiveness in the field.

“We don’t want to see the Council of Agriculture promoting their organic food here and the Tourism Bureau celebrating a hot spring festival there,” Yen said. “We want the government to send an integrated message that Taiwan is one of the best travel destinations to heal your body and soul.”
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Old February 12th, 2012, 01:46 PM   #83
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Updated Saturday, January 14, 2012 0:03 am TWN
The China Post
Heated election fever cools Chinese tourism

The number of mainland Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan has decreased because the Chinese government wants to avoid putting tourists at risk from potential “accidents” that could happen during the election season, and also to avoid occupying the plane tickets that would enable Taiwanese businessmen to return home for the big day, according to a travel agent.

Many tourist attractions, including Alishan, Sun Moon Lake, the National Palace Museum, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Shilin Night Market, and Yehliu have been seeing fewer visitors from China because the Taiwan Affairs Office has halted approval for professional exchanges in Taiwan as well as most tourism applications, according to Hsu Gao-ching (許高慶), secretary-general of the Travel Agent Association of R.O.C. Taiwan (中華民國旅行商業同業公會全國聯合會).

Only Thousands at Popular Sites

According to the headcount of the popular attractions for Chinese tourists on the Tourism Bureau's official website, only 1,204 Chinese tourists had visited the National Palace Museum yesterday, while only 1,664 visited the Sun Moon Lake.

Most of the Chinese tourists Taiwan currently sees had applied to visit a while back, Hsu said. Because the Chinese officials have halted approving the current applications, the number of tourists in Taiwan has been halved.

To Avoid Accidents at Sensitive Timing

Hsu pointed out that the number of Chinese visitors generally does decrease around the time of Chinese New Year. Adding on the “unstable factor” of potential “dangerous situations” during the presidential election campaign season that might leave the tourists injured, and that there are only so many available airplane vacancies that Taiwanese businessmen could take advantage of to return home to vote, halting the applications makes sense for the Chinese government.

China Sends a Warning Signal

Other travel agencies speculated that the Chinese government could be warning Taiwan through such gestures: the sudden decrease of Chinese tourists has influenced many businesses, including hotels, tourist buses, restaurants, souvenir stores, Sun Moon Lake yacht renting, etc. — were Taiwan to bring its interactions with mainland China to a standstill, Taiwan's economy would receive great impact.

The Chinese officials have not completely stopped processing tourist trip applications, they just stopped expediting the process so the visit schedules would be pushed back, Hsu said, adding that the only approvals given to visits to Taiwan have been for business travels.
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Old February 13th, 2012, 08:37 AM   #84
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Mon, Feb 13, 2012
Officials mull expansion of limits in FIT program
AHEAD OF THE GAME:An official said that raising the FIT program daily ceiling was not urgent because less than 200 Chinese travelers a day were now using the program
Taipei Times Staff Writer with CNA

The number of Chinese independent travelers to be allowed to visit Taiwan on their own instead of as part of a tour group could be raised from the 500 to 1,000 a day, Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman - Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said.

In a speech on Saturday on cross-strait relations after Taiwan’s Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections, Chiang said relations would likely become more peaceful, adding that exchanges between civil organizations would increase.

In addition to easing restrictions on Chinese investment in Taiwan, Chiang said the Free Independent Traveler (FIT) program would also be expanded, with residents from more Chinese cities being allowed to join the program and the daily entry ceiling on independent Chinese travelers increasing to 1,000.

Under the FIT program, which was launched in June last year, up to 500 Chinese independent travelers from three cities — Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen — are allowed to enter Taiwan each day for tourism.

“Eight mainland Chinese cities — Tianjin, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing and Jinan — could be added to the list,” Chiang said.

However, negotiations on the proposed FIT expansion had not yet been concluded, he added.

“The exact numbers of cities and the daily number of individual Chinese visitors requires further discussion,” Chiang said.

Tourism Bureau Deputy -Director-General David Hsieh (謝勤益) said on Thursday that representatives from Taiwan and China tentatively agreed during recent talks in Hong Kong to raise the number of FIT-cities to 11, but he did not disclose which cities.

A tourism bureau official said that raising the daily ceiling of the FIT program was not an urgent issue because from June 28 last year to Tuesday last week an average of just 184 independent Chinese tourists visited Taiwan per day.

“There is still a large gap between actual numbers and the current daily limit,” the official said.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 05:37 PM   #85
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More mainlanders visit Taiwan for Spring Festival

TAIPEI, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- A record 5,090 Chinese mainland tourists visited Taiwan on a daily average during the just-concluded nine-day Spring Festival holiday, mostly attracted by the island's unique festival celebrations, its sightseeing department said Monday.

A total of 45,811 mainlanders visited Taiwan in tour groups between Jan. 21 and 29, the island's public holiday period for the beginning of the Year of the Dragon, the department said. Mainlanders had seven days off for this year's Spring Festival.

The number of visits by mainlanders in the first six days of the holiday increased by about 26 percent over that of last year, it said in a statement.

Jan. 24, or the second day on the lunar calendar, witnessed a record high of 7,723 visits by mainlanders, it said, adding that besides Taiwan's scenic spots, the island's unique festival celebrations had always been an attraction.

More than 3.05 million mainland tourists had visited the island by the end of last year, since Taiwan allowed mainland tourists to visit in tour groups in July 2008, the department said.

It estimated that each mainland tourist spent 263.09 U.S. dollars each day in the island and stayed for 6.5 nights on average, resulting in more than 5 billion U.S. dollars in revenue for Taiwan's tourism industry.

Further, since the island opened for independent visits by mainlanders last June, a total of 38,549 mainlanders were approved to visit the island, with 29,187 having completed their tours within the 15-day limit, the department said, stressing that none of these visitors illegally prolonged their stay in the island.

Taiwan's sightseeing department said the island and the mainland were working to simplify application procedures for mainlanders, add more mainland cities to join the independent visit program and focus on promoting the island's popular sightseeing routes.

Traveling in Taiwan has proved dangerous for some mainlanders over the years due to the island's hilly terrain and extreme weather.

The latest mainland fatality was a 29-year-old tourist from Shanghai who died last Tuesday after a road accident in eastern Taiwan's Hualien.

It is the first death of a mainland independent tourist in Taiwan.
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Old March 9th, 2012, 04:57 PM   #86
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Fri, Mar 09, 2012
Taiwan may add more Chinese cities to the FIT program
Taipei Times with CNA

Taiwan might open its doors to individual tourists from another seven to 10 Chinese cities, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said on Wednesday.

The Free Independent Traveler (FIT) program, which commenced in June last year, allows up to 500 people from Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen to visit Taiwan per day without having to travel as part of a tour group.

Previous media reports have said the Chinese cities of Tianjin, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing and Jinan might be added to the list.

Although the Taipei-based Taiwan Strait Tourism Association and the Beijing-based Cross-Strait Tourism Association are about to finalize negotiations, Lai said they have not decided whether to change the daily quota.

The number of FIT applicants has surged by 50 percent this year to 429 per day compared with 284 last year, according to the National Immigration Agency.

In other news, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) said the eighth round of high-level cross-strait talks will likely take place in Taiwan in the first half of the year.

SEF Vice Chairman Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉) said the next round of talks between SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) would focus mainly on a long-stalled investment protection pact.

“We should be able to seal the agreement, as there are only minor differences left for the two sides to resolve,” Kao said.

Taipei is pushing for the investment pact because it wants to protect Taiwanese businesspeople in China, who can be vulnerable in disputes with local governments over land rights and compensation claims.
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Old April 1st, 2012, 05:24 PM   #87
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Taiwan to see more mainland individual tourists

BEIJING/TAIPEI, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Residents of ten additional Chinese mainland cities will be allowed to travel to Taiwan as independent tourists, according to a deal reached between organizations from both sides of the Strait on Sunday.

Residents of Tianjin, Chongqing, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Chengdu will be allowed to visit Taiwan individually starting from April 28, according to a deal reached by the Chinese mainland's Association for Tourism Exchanges Across the Taiwan Strait and Taiwan's Taiwan Strait Tourism Association.

The agreement also states that residents of Jinan, Xi'an, Fuzhou and Shenzhen will be permitted to visit individually before the end of the year. Previously, only residents from Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen were allowed to make individual trips.

Under the new agreement, the quota for mainland individual tourists to Taiwan will be increased to 1,000 per day from the current 500.

The new move was welcomed by individual businesses as a potential stimulus for the island' s service and tourism sectors.

Pai Chung-Ren, president of the Taiwan-based Certified Travel Councillor Association, predicted that more young people will travel to the island because of their preference for traveling alone.

"They have strong purchasing power and are generally well-educated. I believe they will have a greater understanding of Taiwan after traveling individually," Pai said.

Mainland tourism companies have predicted a sharp increase for cross-Strait tourism. In Fujian, Taiwan's nearest mainland province, tourism companies have signed agreements with their Taiwanese counterparts to deepen industry exchanges and cooperation.

In a bid to meet increasing demand, the Xiaoshan Airport in Hangzhou will open a regular flight to Hualien in east Taiwan, making for a total of four regular flights between the two cities.

Xu Peng, deputy director of the Tourism Bureau of east China's Zhejiang Province, said the local tourism industry is ready for a travel boom, with many agencies launching a variety of services targeted at individual travelers.

Wu Chin-feng, deputy director of the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (TSTA)'s Beijing office, said the association will visit the newly approved cities soon to organize promotional activities.

He said individual tourists are expected to benefit Taiwan's small- and medium-sized enterprises, adding that the island's ability to accommodate and transport increased numbers of tourists has been improved.

Lu Wan-ciuan, a jewelry dealer, said the impact of strengthened tourism will not be limited to financial gain, stating that mainland tourists will have an opportunity to cement people-to-people ties and promote mutual understanding.

Taiwan first opened its doors to independent tourists from three mainland cities on June 28 last year. Since then, over 57,000 residents have traveled there. An overall ban on traveling to the island was lifted by Taiwanese authorities in July 2008. Before June 2011, mainlanders could only travel to the island as part of tightly-run tour groups, business trips, academic visits and trips related to family affairs.

The mainland is currently the biggest source of tourists to the island.In 2011, more than 1.78 million mainland residents visited Taiwan, a year-on-year increase of 9.4 percent. Mainlanders accounted for nearly one-third of the 6.08 million visitors the island received last year, according to Taiwanese tourism authorities.
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Old April 10th, 2012, 02:54 PM   #88
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Tue, Apr 10, 2012
FIT scheme expansion set to boost market
Taipei Times with CNA

The market outlook seems promising now that Taiwan is poised to open its doors to independent travelers from 10 more Chinese cities, local travel industry representatives said, adding that they expect about 60,000 to 70,000 more Chinese visitors each year.

The Travel Agent Association said the recently expanded free independent traveler (FIT) program suggests a market potential that could be worth about NT$4 billion (US$135.6 million) per year.

The FIT program, which is currently restricted to residents of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, will be opened to those from Tianjin, Chongqing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Chengdu from April 28, the government announced last week.

The daily entry limit will also be raised from 500 to 1,000, while the program will be extended to travelers from the cities of Jinan, Xian, Fuzhou and Shenzhen later this year, the government said.

“If we continue on the current path of tourism exchanges with China, the FIT program is likely to be fully opened to Chinese nationals within two years,” Travel Agent Association secretary--general Roget Hsu (許高慶) said.

The Tourism Bureau has also expressed optimism about the program, saying that although initial figures after the FIT program began in June last year were not satisfactory, the numbers are growing fast.

Bureau statistics show that about 29,000 travelers visited under the program in the second half of last year.

However, the number jumped significantly to nearly 27,000 during the first three months of this year.

“We will launch a series of campaigns to further introduce Taiwan to Chinese travelers,” said Chen Chiung-hua (陳瓊華), bureau division deputy director.

The campaigns would include the use of microblogs to spread the word and other competitions offering subsidized visits to Taiwan, Chen said.

In one of the competitions, 30 from among nearly 400 candidate groups will be chosen based on their travel plans, the bureau said. They will receive free flight tickets and a NT$5,600 allowance.

The winners will need to submit “reflection papers” recounting their trips and those who turn in the best work will receive an additional cash prize, the bureau said.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 04:04 AM   #89
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Updated Tuesday, April 10, 2012 0:01 am TWN
Chinese travel agencies talk up 'fragmented' tours of Taiwan

The China Post news staff--Taiwan has become a traveling hotspot for mainland Chinese tourists, and with individual travelers from more Chinese cities to start visiting at the end of the month, those in the mainland's tourism business have decided to list Taiwan on the top of their promotion list.

One of the most in-style ways to visit Taiwan is through theme-based “fragmented” traveling, according to a Beijing-based international tourism group. Because there is too much to experience and try in Taiwan, instead of hurrying around the island and taking part in a great array of activities, the group uses themed traveling to let visitors thoroughly explore a single aspect of Taiwan.

The themes, which the tourism group refers to as “fragments,” include medical and cosmetic trips, hot spring trips, photography trips, delicacy trips, around-the-island biking tours, golfing holidays, wedding photography trips, students' summer camps and luxury vacations.

Beginning April 28, the first round of the second stage of individual traveling to Taiwan will be implemented, allowing residents from six more Chinese cities to take individual tours in Taiwan. The Taipei-based Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (台灣海峽兩岸觀光旅遊協會) will visit Tianjin, Chongqing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Chengdu prior to the launch of the second-stage program to market traveling in Taiwan, the group said yesterday.

Seeing how the number of individual Chinese tourists permitted to enter Taiwan will be doubled to 1,000 from 500 per day, the group suggested that the number of flights between Taiwan and China be increased to avoid the possibility of insufficient seats.

The second round of the second stage of individual traveling to Taiwan is expected to be implemented by the end of the year. Residents from four more cities — Jinan, Xian, Fuzhou, and Shenzhen — will also be allowed to travel independent of tour groups then.
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Old April 24th, 2012, 03:13 PM   #90
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Tue, Apr 17, 2012
Minimum Chinese tourist charge cancelation mulled
Taipei Times

The Tourism Bureau is considering canceling the minimum tour charge requirement for Chinese tourists if the nation sees steady growth of free independent travelers (FIT) from China, officials said on the weekend.

The proposed change in policy follows a cross-strait agreement reached earlier this month to allow residents of 10 more Chinese cities to visit Taiwan as FITs.

Currently, only Chinese from Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen are allowed to travel as FITs. Based on the agreement, residents from Tianjin, Chongqing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Chengdu can starting visiting as FITs starting from Saturday next week. Those from Jinan, Xian, Fuzhou and Shenzhen are also expected to be allowed to travel as FITs some time before the end of this year.

To ensure quality service for tour groups from China, the Guidelines on Arranging Quality Tour Groups in Taiwan for Chinese Tourists (旅行業接待大陸地區人民來臺觀光旅遊團品質注意事項) stipulate that each Chinese tourist visiting through a tour group must not be charged less than US$60 a day.

Article 22 in the Regulations for Administration of Travel Agencies (旅行業管理規則) also bars travel agencies from charging commission fees on travelers’ shopping or profiting from activities other than those in the original tour itinerary.

Chen Chiung-hua (陳瓊華), deputy chief of the bureau’s hotel, travel and training division, said the bureau would propose revising two regulations in response to the changes in the tourism market caused by the increase of international tourists.

“Article 22 in the Regulations for Administration of Travel Agencies was stipulated to regulate the nation’s travel agencies arranging overseas tours for Taiwanese. However, charging reasonable commission fees from travelers’ shopping should be made an acceptable practice in the market,” Chen said.

“And out of all the international tourists, if we simply set minimum tour charges for Chinese tourists, it would mean that the government uses a price control strategy to meddle in market competition,” Chen added.

While Chen said that the bureau was moving toward lifting the US$60 daily tour charge requirement, she said that the bureau needed to develop well-rounded complementary measures before it could remove the requirement.

“The travel agencies must continue to provide tour service of a quality comparable to the one they are offering now, even after the minimum tour charge no longer exists,” Chen said.

Taiwan started allowing Chinese FITs to enter the country beginning in June last year. As of March 31, about 165,000 Chinese tourists had applied for entry permits as FITs, of whom 57,000 have visited. On average, 201 Chinese FITs arrive daily.

No events will be staged to welcome the Chinese FITs from the six new source cities, Tourism Bureau Director-General David Hsieh (謝謂君) said.

To help the Chinese FITs plan for their trips in Taiwan, the bureau said it would sponsor some experienced travelers from China to come and tour Taiwan as FITs. They will be asked to follow the travel plans they have proposed and post about their travel experiences in Taiwan on microblogs, Hsieh added.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 01:31 PM   #91
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Mon, Jun 04, 2012
Taipei Times
Kinmen set for night time ferry service to Xiamen

The number of Chinese tourists visiting Kinmen is expected to increase with the introduction, on a trial basis, of a night ferry service between Kinmen and Xiamen, in China’s Fujian Province. The maiden voyage is scheduled for June 17.

Prior to the decision to launch direct flights and postal service operations as well as direct trade between Taiwan and China in 2008, the government in 2001 permitted limited postal, transportation and trade links between Xiamen, Mawei and Quanzhou located in China’s Fujian Province and Kinmen and Matsu, which also became known as the “small three links.”

Hsu Kuo-ching (許國慶), a section chief at the Maritime and Port Bureau, said there would be three ferry services to Fujian Province from Kinmen, running between Kinmen’s Shueitou Harbor (水頭) and Xiamen’s Dongdu and between Shueitou and Wutong and Shijing Harbor in Quanzhou.

While the growth of passenger numbers on the three routes has slowed down because of an increase in direct cross-strait flights, Hsu said that the ferry service was used by 1.47 million people last year.

Currently, the ferry service runs daily from 8am with the last ferry leaving Kinmen at 5pm, while the local government requested that the service be extended to 7pm.

“We hope the service will attract more Chinese who want to spend a day visiting and shopping in Kinmen,” Hsu said. “In future, we might consider extending the service to 9pm, so that they can take their time finishing dinner and catch the last ferry back to Xiamen.”

The trial operation will begin at 7pm on June 17 on the Shueitou-Dongdu route.

Meanwhile, Hsu said Kinmen County Government had included the night ferry service as part of its China tourism campaign, adding that the same service could become available on the Shueitou-Wutong route if Wutong Harbor were made ready for a night ferry service.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration said the last flight from Kinmen to Taiwan leaves at 7:30pm and if night ferry passenger numbers increase airlines could be asked about the possibility of delaying the last flight until a later time.
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Old June 18th, 2012, 10:06 AM   #92
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Taiwan Strait shipping route adds night cruise

XIAMEN, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Passenger shipping service between Chinese mainland's Xiamen city and Kinmen in Taiwan added a night cruise starting Sunday.

Last ships commuting the two cities left ports at 7 p.m. Sunday, marking a two-hour extension of the daily passenger transport on the popular route.

The extension of shipping hours on what is the shortest link between the mainland and Taiwan will boost the cross-strait trade and facilitate tourist trips between the two sides, as many believe that the new timetable will allow them to stay longer at Xiamen or Kinmen.

Security efforts, such as night patrols, would be strengthened as the new timetable came into force, according to the marine authorities in Xiamen.

The Xiamen-Jinmen shipping route was opened in 2001 and has since transported 7.78 million passengers.
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Old July 4th, 2012, 05:15 AM   #93
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Wed, Jul 04, 2012
Taipei seeks to boost S Korea, China tourist levels
Taipei Times

With an estimated 300,000 South Korean tourists visiting Taipei this year thanks to the direct flight service which operates between Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) and Gimpo Airport in Seoul, the Taipei City Department of Information and Tourism is offering budget tour packages aimed at tourists from the country that include coupons for various retail outlets.

The department said it will provide NT$30,000 of coupons to South Korean visitors while well-known hotels in Taipei, including the W Hotel Taipei and Radium Kagaya, will also offer discounts, it added.

Commissioner Chao Hsin-ping (趙心屏) said the department had invited 15 journalists and travel bloggers from South Korea to experience the charms of the city and it would take them to handicraft stores and Taiwanese designers’ shops, given that South Korean tourists are interested in the city’s cultural and creative industries, during a three-day city promotion tour.

Meanwhile, a total of 15 Chinese journalists are to be invited to Taipei today to tour the city. Chinese tourists remain the biggest group of foreign tourists who visit Taiwan.

“Taipei’s popularity as a tourist destination is growing among South Korean tourists, especially individual tourists and backpackers. We expect the promotional program to attract more tourists to visit Taipei, boosting tourism in our city,” Chao said.

The city will arrange for the journalists and travel bloggers to visit major attractions today, including Beitou Hot Spring Museum, Beitou Library and the National Palace Museum, as well as Zhongshan N Street, where many Taiwanese designers have opened shops, the department said.
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Old July 5th, 2012, 04:27 AM   #94
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Mainland tourists to Taiwan total 4 mln



TAIPEI, July 4 (Xinhua) -- The number of tourists traveling from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan has reached 4.06 million since mainland tourists were given permission to travel there four years ago, generating estimated revenues of 202 billion new Taiwanese dollars (6.77 billion U.S. dollars) for the island, a Taiwanese affairs official said Wednesday.

Lai Hsin-yuan, head of the island's cross-Strait affairs office, revealed the figures while addressing a tourism promotion event targeting mainlanders.

Individual tourists accounted for 90,000 of the total, Lai said.

Mainlanders started traveling to Taiwan in groups in July 2008, while individual travelers received permission to visit the island in June 2011.

Lai said mainland tourists have not only benefited the island economically, but have also boosted understanding between the people of both sides and helped to promote better cross-Strait relations.

A Taiwanese "tourism manual" and short film have been commissioned by Lai's department to help mainland tourists get to know the island.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 04:56 AM   #95
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Sat, Jul 07, 2012
Taipei Times
Taipei culture tour set to open up city
GATEWAY TO A HIDDEN WORLD:Organizers of the annual Taipei Culture Passport are keen to show that the capital’s backstreets are alive with artistic energy
By Ho Yi / Staff reporter

This year’s Taipei Culture Passport features more than 50 walking tours, exhibitions, lectures and other activities running until Aug. 31.

Beginning as a booklet in 2004 listing places worth visiting in the capital and distributed by the city government, the Taipei Culture Passport has since expandedd to become a series of events in which the public is invited to experience the city’s traditions, history and culture.

This year’s theme is “Eight Approaches and Six Ways (八方六道),” with the organizers, Taipei City Government’s Department of Cultural Affairs and South Village (南村落) — an arts and culture center, seeking to introduce different ways of exploring the city through eight theme-based categories, each of which features six activities led by artists and cultural experts.

In the category of Contemporary Design, for example, participants will have a chance to take guided tours of graffiti art in Ximending or to visit architectural studios at Songshan Tobacco Factory. Walking tours grouped within the Creative Aesthetics section will lead attendants through some of the city’s most thriving back streets such as Dongfeng Street (東豐街) and Fujin Street (富錦街) as well as the “Wen Luo Ding” (溫羅汀) area — which runs from Wenzhou Street (溫州街) to Roosevelt Road (羅斯福路) and Dingzhou Road (汀州路).

For nature-lovers there are organized outings to Zhishan Cultural and Ecological Gardens, Beitou Park and Tamsui River. Meanwhile, history is to be revisited through half-day trips to old neighborhoods such as Shilin (士林), Beitou (北投) and Dalongdong (大龍峒).

“Through these activities, we want to show people how easily it is to get in touch with culture in our daily lives. Culture and arts are experienced in the city’s nooks and crannies, not just inside the National Theater or National Palace Museum,” Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Liu Wei-gong (劉維公) said.

Lulu Han (韓良露), the head of South Village, said that even after the event ends, people can still use the brochures as a city tour guide.

“For tourists from Chinese-speaking regions, the booklets are a good reference point for an in-depth city trip,” he said.

Culture Passport brochures containing information on destinations and activities can be picked up at various cultural venues around the city, including Taipei’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Lin Yu-tang Residence (林語堂故居), Spot — Taipei Film House (光點—台北之家) and Red House Theater (西門紅樓). It can also be found online at: 2012taipeiculturepassport.blogspot.tw.
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Old July 19th, 2012, 03:12 PM   #96
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Shenzhen still waiting for independent trips to Taiwan
2012-July-18 08:53
Shenzhen Daily

SHENZHEN’S culture, sports and tourism bureau has denied recent microblog rumors that say Shenzhen residents will be allowed to begin visiting Taiwan as individual tourists in late August.

“We haven’t received any notice from the national tourism administration regarding the specific time for the opening of self-guided tours to Taiwan,” Qiu Gan, director of the supervision and management department of the city’s tourism administration, told Shenzhen Daily yesterday.

Shenzhen and nine other mainland cities were approved in early April for future self-guided tours, or individual and independent trips, to Taiwan, triggering local residents’ anticipation of the official opening.

But three months later, Shenzhen residents still can only visit Taiwan by taking part in package tours.

“We haven’t been informed, either, of a specific time for the official opening of the self-guided tours,” said Zhu Jun, a manager of Shenzhen Port China Travel Service. “On the whole, there’s an increase in the number of local tourists to Taiwan each year. Our agency has witnessed a 60-percent growth in the number of people taking part in package tours to Taiwan this year, compared with the same period last year.”

Zhu said while some residents are looking forward to a self-guided tour, some still favor a package tour because of its conveniences.

Despite an unclear opening date, Zhu’s agency has started planning services that will cater to self-guided tours of Taiwan, including flight and hotel booking and one-day excursions.

Zhu added that the opening of self-guided tours to Taiwan will not likely lead to a sharp increase in the number of local residents going there, because the procedure to apply for travel remains complicated and time-consuming.

“The procedure should be simplified,” Zhu said.

Taiwan has officially opened self-guided tours for people from nine mainland cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen — which already had approval before the April changes — along with Tianjin, Chongqing, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Chengdu, which gained approval in April and have since been opened for self-guided tours.

Shenzhen and three other cities have approval but are awaiting their official opening.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 05:51 PM   #97
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More mainland individual tourists to visit Taiwan

KAOHSIUNG, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Another four cities on the Chinese mainland have been approved to grant individual tourist visits to Taiwan as of Aug. 28, according to a deal reached between the two sides on Wednesday.

The Chinese mainland's Association for Tourism Exchange Across the Taiwan Strait and Taiwan's Taiwan Strait Tourism Association reached the deal to allow residents from Jinan, Xi'an, Fuzhou and Shenzhen to visit Taiwan as individual tourists starting from Aug. 28.

Shao Qiwei, president of the Beijing-based Association for Tourism Exchange Across the Taiwan Strait, said at a conference between the two sides that another 11 mainland cities in Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces on the western side of the Taiwan Strait will be allowed to send individual tourists to Taiwan's Kinmen, Penghu and Matzu islands as of Aug. 28.

Taiwan first opened the door to individual tourists from mainland cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, on June 28 last year.

Residents from Tianjin, Chongqing, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Chengdu were allowed to visit Taiwan from April 28.

Over 1.3 million mainland tourists visited Taiwan during the first half of 2012, up 50.7 percent year on year, Shao said Monday. Shao forecast that the number of tourists traveling across the Taiwan Strait would reach 13 million in 2016 and 20 million by 2020.

Shao said at the conference that the mainland and Taiwan are important sources of tourists for each other.

The Chinese mainland is currently the largest source of tourists for Taiwan, as mainland tourists take up about 30 percent of the island's total visitors, Shao said.

Taiwan is the third-largest source of tourists for the mainland, accounting for 6 percent of total tourists received by the mainland.

Total visits from both sides surged from 4.7 million people in 2008 to 7.05 million last year, representing an annual growth rate of 14 percent, Shao said.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 11:16 PM   #98
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So what do you think about Taiwan, is it worth visiting? Is it much different from the mainland provinces like Fujian or Zhejiang?
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Old August 12th, 2012, 04:16 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skysky99 View Post
So what do you think about Taiwan, is it worth visiting? Is it much different from the mainland provinces like Fujian or Zhejiang?
Taiwan is definitely not a Fujian or Zhejiang. Chinese culture has evolved into something unique over there.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 04:17 PM   #100
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Here's the confirmation from the Taiwanese press :

Fri, Aug 10, 2012
Taipei Times
Four cities added to FIT

Four more Chinese cities have been included in the free independent travelers (FIT) program, the Tourism Bureau said, following a meeting attended by tourism officials from Taiwan and China at the annual Cross-Strait Tourism Round-Table Conference in Greater Kaohsiung on Wednesday.

Currently, only Chinese from Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Tianjin, Chongqing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Chengdu are allowed to visit Taiwan as FITs. Residents of other cities in China can only come with tour groups.

Tourism Bureau director general David Hsieh (謝謂君) said that both sides have agreed to add four more Chinese cities in the FIT program: Jinan, Xian, Fuzhou and Shenzhen.

“We [Taiwan and China] have also reached consensus that the Chinese tourists from these four cities can start coming on Aug. 28,” Hsieh said.

Meanwhile, both Taiwan and China have decided to expand cross-strait tourism exchanges through the “small three links,” through which Chinese tourists are allowed to visit the nation’s outlying islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu.

Apart from residents of nine cities in China’s Fujian Province, Hsieh said residents of 11 other cities in Zhejiang, Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces are allowed to travel to the three outlying islands. The new policy will also take effect on Aug. 28.

Hsieh said that an average of 157 Chinese FITs visited Taiwan per day when the nation began implementing the Chinese FIT program last year. The number quickly climbed to average 500 daily between January and June this year. Shao Qiwei (邵琪偉), chairman of China’s National Tourism Administration, said his agency estimated that 13 million people would travel between Taiwan and China by 2016 and the number of Chinese tourists traveling to Taiwan could potentially top 7 million.
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