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Old July 8th, 2010, 03:39 PM   #41
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Fears aside, Taiwan to allow solo Chinese tourists

TAIPEI, July 7 (Reuters) - Taiwan plans to let tourists from China travel on their own on the island, government officials said on Wednesday, a boost to the service sector as suspicions over spying and illegal immigration fade and relations improve.

Taiwan has admitted only tightly controlled tour groups since mid-2008. From as early as the end of the year it will allow individuals from China, just 160 km (100 miles) distant, wishing to travel on their own.

An influx of tourists will boost the service sector, from listed Taiwan hotels and airlines to small shops in the countryside where groups rarely venture.

"Individual travellers can go to every corner and spend money," said Anthony Liao, standing supervisor with the Taipei Association of Travel Agents.

"They don't necessarily have to stay in star-level hotels. They can take the high-speed rail or a bus instead of coaches. They can do the night markets and the small stores, not just souvenir shops. It's an advantage to the Taiwan economy."

The Taiwan stock exchange's tourism sub-index rose 2.36 percent on anticipation of individual travellers from China.

Permitting individual tourists, even if they still must obtain travel permits, marks a new high in fast-warming relations between Taiwan and China, which claims sovereignty over the self-ruled island.

The two sides set aside differences in 2008 to work out trade and transit deals including direct flights and an agreement that allows up to 3,600 Chinese group tourists per day.

Concerns about spying and unauthorised stays on the relatively wealthy island that had long barred Chinese tourists have eased as most groups follow rules while pouring money into the service sector.

Still, Taiwan is studying a daily headcount limit on individual travellers and may initially allow them only from China's wealthier cities, tourism and news officials said.
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Old July 25th, 2010, 04:49 PM   #42
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Taiwan opened to all mainland tourists amid warming ties
20 July 2010
SCMP

Beijing is now allowing tourists from all parts of the mainland to visit Taiwan, in a move tipped to further boost the island's tourism industry amid warming cross-strait ties.

Beginning yesterday, mainland tourists from four autonomous regions, including politically sensitive Tibet and Xinjiang, as well as Inner Mongolia and Ningxia, can join mainlanders from other provinces on group tours to Taiwan.

The new arrangement also applies to people from Gansu and Qinghai provinces, the mainland's first tourism envoy to Taiwan, Fan Guishan , said.

"With the opening of these areas, there are no more restrictions on mainland tourists who want to visit Taiwan," said Fan, who heads the mainland's first semi-official Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association in Taipei.

Travel to Taiwan was opened to 25 mainland provinces, municipalities and the Guangxi autonomous region after the two former rivals signed a travel co-operation agreement in July 2008.

That deal was made possible after Taiwan's mainland-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou took office that year and adopted a policy of engaging Beijing.

The two sides also agreed to swap tourism offices in May this year to deal with rapid increases in the number of travellers, and other tourism matters.

In the past two years, more than 13.3 million mainland tourists have visited the island, injecting US$2.6 billion into the Taiwanese economy, according to the association.

However, statistics released by Taiwan's tourism bureau show that between July 2008 and the end of June this year, total tourism revenue brought by all mainland tourists, including those coming from a third territory, topped US$3.45 billion.

Before the July 2008 agreement, Taiwan permitted only mainland tourists coming from a third country to visit. Since then, mainlanders have been able to visit directly, but only if they travel in groups.

The two sides are still working on the timing of allowing mainland tourists to visit Taiwan individually.

In the first six months of this year, some 673,000 mainland tourists visited the island, up 105 per cent from the same period last year, prompting Taiwanese authorities to predict that between 1.2 and 1.5 million mainland tourists will visit this year.

To cope with the influx of mainland tourists, the mainland side has agreed to increase the number of travel agencies dealing with cross-strait travel from 146 to 164.

The mainland authorities would further expand the number of agencies to speed up application procedures for travel to Taiwan, Fan said.

Aside from opening the island to mainland tourists, the two sides have also signed direct flight agreements to carry travellers, a lucrative business that has sharply increased the profits of airlines.

The two sides have each expanded their weekly flights to 135, but that has failed to meet the growing demand for cross-strait flights, leading to an agreement in May to each increase the number by 50.
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Old July 28th, 2010, 01:02 PM   #43
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Luxury resort opens at Sun Moon Lake
27 July 2010
Central News Agency English News

Taipei, July 27 (CNA) The Wen Wan Resort at Sun Moon Lake that was built to resemble a cruise ship opened Tuesday, with tourism industry operators touting its gold-gilded "mast" and interior fittings as the latest trend in luxury accommodation.

The 92-room hotel stands 12 stories tall on the site of what was once a holiday home of the late President Chiang Kai-shek on a hill overlooking one of Taiwan's most popular tourist destinations.

At the opening ceremony, Premier Wu Den-yih read a poem that he wrote especially for the occasion.

"The natural beauty of the mountains and the lake are free, " Wu said in his Chinese-language poem, extolling the natural attractions of the Nantou County area.

The resort project was initiated by the Nantou County government and constructed on the build-operate-transfer model at a cost of NT$2.4 billion (US$74.93 million) , said County Magistrate Lee Chao-ching.

It was designed to look like a luxury clipper and its "mast" was gilded with 479.54 ounces of gold.

"Some suites are equipped with gold-gilded toilets and washbasins and prices start at US$1,000 per night, " a tour guide on a lake boat tour told the passengers.

The new resort is located on the highest point of the Hanbi Peninsula, close to the Lalu, a premium resort hotel.

"Once the new resort begins operations, it will start a trend for luxury tourism at Sun Moon Lake," Harbor Resort Hotel General Manager Liu Chih-fan forecast.

Sun Moon Lake is one of the fastest growing tourism areas in Taiwan, particularly since Taiwan eased its restrictions on tourism from China.

According to statistics from the the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration, 720,000 Chinese tourists visited the area in the first half of this year, which was more than the number for the whole of 2009. The number is expected to exceed 1.2 million this year, said Tseng Kuo-chi, head of the administration.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 10:26 AM   #44
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Taiwanese wary about China amid warming ties
Associated Press
30 July 2010

TAIPEI, Taiwan – In the crowded Taipei theater, Eddy Fang laughs politely at the Chinese ensemble's comic references to jealous husbands and overweight wives but can't help thinking it's all a bit lowbrow in relatively sophisticated Taiwan.

The performance by the Zhao Benshan troupe from Liaoning province ostensibly aims to bring the Chinese and Taiwanese closer culturally and overcome the love-hate relationship they have shared for decades.

But the crude comedy "underscores more of our cultural differences than our similarities," observes Fang, a 36-year-old office worker in Taipei, the capital of the island that broke away from China 61 years ago.

Despite China's efforts to win over local hearts and hasten the return of the island to mainland control, the cultural gap between the two peoples remains as large as the 100-mile (160-kilometer) wide Taiwan Strait that separates the two sides.

In the two years since Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou took office, relations between the once bitter enemies have warmed considerably, sparked by a sharp uptick in commercial initiatives — including last month's landmark trade deal — and China's soft pedaling of its long-standing threats to take over Taiwan by force.

Rather than calling attention to the estimated 1,300 missiles now aimed at Taiwanese targets, Beijing is resorting to a well-modulated charm offensive led by free spending tourists, freer spending purchasing missions and entertainment ensembles like the Zhao Benshan.

But the closer ties and the attempts by Beijing to play up both sides' common cultural history may actually highlight the ways the island and mainland have grown apart in their decades of postwar separation.

Taiwanese artist Su Hui-yu, 34, insists the island's 23 million people don't identify culturally with the mainland — despite their common language — because 50 years of Japanese colonial rule and another six decades of political separation has created a distinct Taiwanese identity.

"In Taiwan, you can see traces of the Chinese culture," Su said. "But unlike China's continent-based culture, Taiwan has a young, ocean-based culture, which is more adaptable and open to all foreign influences."

Su noted Taiwanese authorities have switched to using an ultramodern Taipei skyscraper as a symbol of the island, dropping the long-used image of the National Palace Museum — the celebrated Taipei repository of Chinese art, whose contents were spirited to Taiwan in 1948 and 1949 by Chiang Kai-shek's retreating Nationalist forces.

"Young Taiwanese see the museum's artifacts as Chinese, not Taiwanese," he said.

Thirty four-year-old tour guide Tai Kai-lin identified another aspect of the cultural gap between Chinese and Taiwanese — the tendency of some mainlanders to be less cultivated and polite than their island cousins, who pride themselves on their good manners and restrained behavior.

"All they bring here is their litter and their spittle," said Tai, referring to the tendency of some mainland visitors to expectorate freely during their visits to Taiwanese landmarks.

Recent college graduate Quentin Hu, 24, says all that's unimportant because of the considerable economic benefits the Chinese visitors are bringing to the island. Government statistics show that in 2009, 953,000 mainland tourists spent $1.13 billion and accounted for 0.49 percent of Taiwan's GDP. Expectations are that the number of tourist arrivals could grow by as much as 25 percent this year.

"In the long run mainland visitors will boost our service industry and economy substantially and everyone here will benefit from that," Hu said. "So I don't mind some of the minor inconveniences they bring."

Hu's comments were echoed by freelance writer Jean Chiu, 52, who said initiatives like last year's government decision to end a long-standing ban on advertising by Chinese companies will deepen understanding between the sides, despite charges that some Taiwanese publications might slant their treatment of China to gain ads from mainland firms.

"Our media are heavy with China coverage because people need to know more about the mainland," she said. "We don't have to worry too much."

But many Taiwanese do worry. Their belief that Beijing is camouflaging the true purpose of its cultural exchanges and touristic onslaught — bringing the island into its fold — may have led them to focus on the cultural differences between the two sides and fed the desire to keep a separate Taiwanese identity.

Opinion polls remain split on how friendly Chinese intentions toward Taiwan really are, but all show a continuing resistance to accepting Chinese control, the ultimate aim of Beijing's Taiwan policy for the past six decades.

"The Chinese are more friendly lately, but with a political purpose," said Fang, the theatergoer.

Bao Guozhong, a tour operator from Fujian's capital of Fuzhou on the mainland, doesn't see what all the fuss is about.

"We have the same roots and should get along well," he said.

___

Associated Press Writer Debby Wu contributed to this report from Taipei.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 06:22 PM   #45
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TAIWAN-CHINA TRAVEL FAIR HOSTS RECORD VISITORS BUT MISSES TARGET
17 August 2010

TAIPEI, Aug 17 Asia Pulse - A travel fair in Taipei that hosted a record number of participating Chinese travel agents failed at its close Monday to reach the organizers' goal for the total number of visitors over its four-day run.

A total of 118,003 people visited the Taipei Cross-Strait Travel Fair, a number that fell short of the organizers' original target of 150,000 visitors.

This year also marks the first time Chinese exhibitors will not attend the Taipei International Travel Fair slated to take place Nov. 5-8 this year, after taking part in the fair organized by the Taiwan Visitors Association (TVA) and the Beijing-based Cross-Strait Tourism Association.

TVA spokeswoman Chen Ying-ting blamed the upcoming start of the new school semester for the poorer- than-expected turnout.

"As the summer vacation is coming to an end, not many families have further travel plans," she told CNA in a telephone interview.

"Some parents might also be looking to save money to pay for tuition as the schools open next month," Chen added.

"So although many big discounts were offered at the fair, many people were still not attracted," she said.

The organizers of the show said that in an effort to boost visitor numbers in future, they are considering moving the fair to June next year.

A record of nearly 1,200 representatives from 190 tourism associations or travel agencies throughout China took part in the fair, the organizers added, saying that a total of 871 booths were manned, including 516 by Taiwanese exhibitors.

Chen lauded the Chinese exhibitors for adopting different promotion tactics this year.

"This year, their booths were better designed. They also put on folk songs, dances and martial arts performances," she noted.

Despite their tactics, however, the Chinese exhibitors apparently failed to compete with their Taiwanese counterparts in attracting visitors to their booths, as the majority of visitors lined up for discounted dining coupons offered by some of the Taiwanese exhibitors, mainly local major hotels.

Another favorite among the visitors was the Taiwan agricultural pavilion, consisting of 250 booths offering tea, dried fruit, nut cookies, grilled sausages, dried squid and other well-known local delicacies.

Asked whether the Chinese exhibitors were dissatisfied with the turnouts at their booths, Chen said they actually had better turnouts than they had enjoyed for the past four years, but she did not provide specific figures.

"This year, they also learned from their Taiwanese counterparts how best to cater to local visitors, and will probably follow suit next year," she added.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 06:19 PM   #46
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CHINA STILL MULLING ENTRY OF TAIWAN TOURISTS: OFFICIAL
16 August 2010

TAIPEI, Aug 16 Asia Pulse - China will allow individuals to visit Taiwan for tourism purposes when the conditions are right, a visiting tourism official from China said Saturday.

Shao Qiwei, director of China's National Tourism Administration and head of the Cross-Strait Tourism Association (CSTA), said that China will seek to revise the relevant regulations on the basis of a "gradual opening" policy.

"The CSTA will consult with its Taiwanese counterpart, the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (TSTA), and will select suitable cities to start allowing visits by individual tourists when the time and conditions are right," he said.

Shao said the move will be in line with world trends, and will help to enhance people-to-people exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The regulations on both sides would need to be revised, he said, noting that currently tourists from China are only allowed to visit Taiwan in groups.

Shao was at a roundtable meeting in Hsinchu on cross-strait tourism exchanges, which was chaired jointly by him and Taiwan's Tourism Bureau Director-General Janice Lai. More than 100 tourism officials and representatives across the Taiwan Strait attended the meeting.

Shao said that two years after the easing of restrictions on visits by Chinese tourists to Taiwan, cross-strait tourism is still in the budding stage.

However, with the June 29 signing of a cross-strait trade deal, known as the economic cooperation framework agreement, bilateral economic cooperation has entered a historic new stage, he said.

Shao also said that he will push for bilateral tourism investment and that both sides should compile a priority list for such investment.

In response, Lai said that because of the difference in market sizes on both sides, "the travel agent sector cannot be liberalized." Meanwhile, China Tourism Academy's president Dai Bin said that Fujian province, which has the highest volume of exchanges with Taiwan, would be the best choice to begin allowing individual visits to Taiwan.
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Old October 1st, 2010, 02:32 PM   #47
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Majority of Taiwan's Outbound Tours Go to Mainland China in First 8 Months

Taipei, Sept. 28, 2010 (CENS)--Statistics recently released by the Ministry of the Interior shows 56.6% of the 6.8 million outbound trips made by Taiwan citizens in the first eight months this year were destined for mainland China (including Hong Kong and Macau) as their first leg.

The statistics show that the aggregate number of inbound and outbound travelers came to 20.1 million in the first eight months of the year, up 21.6% from the same period of last year.

Taiwan's citizens accounted for 6.8 million of the 10 million outbound travelers while mainland Chinese citizens (including citizens from Hong Kong and Macau) constituted around 45% of the 3.6 million entries made by non-Taiwan citizens.

The 6.8 million outbound trips made by Taiwanese people included 1.59 million trips to the mainland, 1.61 million trips to Hong Kong and 470,000 trips to Macau. Around 14.7% of the trips were destined for Japan while only 5.1% made the United States the destination.

Japanese tourists accounted for 19.2% of the inbound trips made by non-Taiwan citizens in the first eight months this year, followed by 7.4% made by U.S. citizens.

Officials with the Ministry of the Interior pointed out that the 1.08 million tourist arrivals from mainland China in the first eight months represented an increase of 460,000 from the same period of last year while the 530,000 Taiwan-bound trips by Hong Kong and Macau travelers represented an annual e of some 30,000 trips.

Director General S.J. Lai of Tourism Bureau estimated the number of tourist arrivals from all over the world to cross 5.2 million people this year, the highest number since Taiwan started the record.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 03:34 PM   #48
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Chinese visitors attributed to Palace Museum's souvenir sales growth
8 October 2010

Taipei, Oct. 8 (CNA) Sales of the National Palace Museum's souvenir shop grew 10 percent in the first week of October compared with the same periods of August and September, the general manager of the museum's souvenir department said Friday.

Ho Chun-huan told CNA that although the number of Chinese tourists who visited the museum in the Oct. 1-7 period -- the long national day holiday called "golden week" in China -- did not appear to be an obvious rise from the previous two months, souvenir sales were up.

Most of the tourists spent between NT$1,400 (US$45.27) and NT$1,500 on souvenirs at the museum in the week-long period, higher than the NT$1,000-NT$1,200 they spent in August and September, she said.

One of the tourists spent a whopping NT$1.06 million in a single day, making him the biggest spender the store has seen since Taiwan opened its doors in 2008 to tourists from China, Ho said.

The National Palace Museum was one of five most popular tourist destinations in Taiwan among Chinese visitors during the week-long holiday, behind Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County, the Taipei 101 building and Sizihwan Bay in Kaohsiung City, according to the Tourism Bureau.

However, shops and vendors in the Sun Moon Lake scenic area said nothing had changed during the week, with no discernible increase in the number of Chinese visitors.

Tea egg vendor Chou Chin-pen complained of low business throughout the holiday, especially in the last three days.

"We were so idle we could fall asleep in the daytime," she said.

According to statistics compiled by the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration, Chinese tourist arrivals in the first week of October were not as numerous as expected.

As of the end of September, the number of Chinese visitors to Sun Moon Lake had reached nearly 840,000 people, which breaks down to 3,100 per day, the administration said.

The peak for arrivals was in April and May, with a daily average of 4,756 Chinese visitors per day, it said.

In comparison, the golden week tallies reached only 3,169 people per day, it added.

China is one of Taiwan's biggest sources of tourists. In 2009, 560,000 Chinese people visited the country, while the first seven months of the year saw 740,000 Chinese tourist arrivals, according to Tourism Bureau statistics.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 01:43 PM   #49
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Taiwan to allow more mainland tourists next year

TAIPEI, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Taiwan will increase the number of mainland Chinese tourists allowed to visit to 4,000 a day from next year and expects to welcome individual visitors by June, in the latest sign of warming ties between the rivals.

The increase in the daily quota from 3,000 will take effect as soon as Jan. 1, the government said on Tuesday during the latest round of trade talks in Taipei.

Taiwan's top negotiator later told reporters that individuals from the mainland would likely be allowed to visit by June, at the latest. People from the mainland can now only visit on group tours.

"The sooner the better," the negotiator, P. K. Chiang, said. "We had hoped to open Taiwan to individual tourists around February, but the Chinese side said that was too soon."

The mainland and the island have been rivals since China's civil war in the late 1940s. China sees self-ruled Taiwan as a renegade province which must be reunited with the mainland.

But economic relations have expanded in recent years and ties are at their best in 60 years following the signing of a trade pact this year that lifted tariffs on thousands of items.

Taiwan's government sees better China trade as key to the export-dependent island's economic security, while Beijing is hoping strong economic ties will lead to political agreement with the island.

About 1.3 million Chinese nationals visited Taiwan in the first 10 months of this year and China is surpassing Japan as the island's biggest source of visitors.

Taiwan's tourism stocks have surged this year on hopes for more mainland tourists. The sub-index has risen about 30 percent this year, well ahead of the benchmark index which is up about 7 percent.

The two sides also signed a medical and healthcare cooperation agreement on Tuesday, but in a sign that some tension remains, have put off an investment protection pact for further discussion after failing to agree on measures for dispute resolution.
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Old January 4th, 2011, 04:11 PM   #50
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Published on ShanghaiDaily.com (http://www.shanghaidaily.com/)
http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article...624&type=Metro

City to trial individual tourist trips to Taiwan
Created: 2011-1-4 0:27:08

INDIVIDUAL tourists, not traveling with an organized group, are expected to be able to travel to Taiwan from Shanghai and Beijing in April.

Local travel companies have already started designing packages in preparation.

Taiwan opened to Chinese mainland tourists in 2008, but visitors were required to travel in organized groups.

But now, according to China Times, a Taiwan local newspaper, the mainland and the island have reached an agreement that the two cities will trial individual trips.

It is expected that 500 independent tourists will make the journey to Taiwan daily, where they can stay for up to 15 days. The first are likely to set off on April 5, the Qingming Festival, reported the newspaper.

Mainland tourism authorities, however, have not confirmed the news.

Shanghai travel service companies said individual tours will mainly appeal to young people, attracted by the leisure options in Taiwan.

"We're thinking of 'air-and-hotel' packages that let tourists design their itinerary themselves," said Zhou Yingfeng, deputy general manager of Shanghai CYTS Tours.

Travel agencies are also designing short tours in which visitors can take in a live show or explore the countryside.

Since Taiwan opened to mainland tourists in 2008, most tourists making the trip have been middle-aged people or seniors, many to visit relatives who they haven't seen for decades.

The most popular option has been an around-the-island package, lasting from six to eight days.

In 2009, the mainland and Taiwan began discussing individual tours, and late last year reports emerged that Taiwan was expected to accept business travelers this year.

Last year, around 1.6 million mainland tourists went to Taiwan, and the number is expected to reach 2 million this year, according to the China Tourism Administration.

Meanwhile, chilly weather made Shanghai residents reluctant to venture out of the city over the New Year holiday, tour company officials said. The Shanghai Sightseeing Tour Bus Center reported that around 4,000 people took trips to outlying areas or neighboring provinces through the center - down 23 percent from last year.

"The cold weather was to blame," said Shen Li, an official with the center. "The mercury was too low, so people stayed at home."

Officials said "wish-making" tours were the most popular. Many people went to Putuo Mountain in Zhejiang Province or to the Lingshan Buddha in Jiangsu Province to make New Year wishes.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 04:54 PM   #51
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CHINESE TOURIST ARRIVALS IN TAIWAN HIT 1.16MLN IN 2010: TSTA

SHANGHAI, Jan 17 Asia Pulse - A total of 1.16 million Chinese tourists visited Taiwan last year, according to statistics compiled by the Taipei-based Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (TSTA).

The association was set up by the Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to promote Taiwan tourism in China.

Yang Ruey-tzong, director of the association's Beijing office, said Sunday that of the arrivals, 186,000 were from Guangdong Province, 182,000 were from Zhejiang Province and 103,000 came from Jiangsu Province, indicating that people living in coastal China were more likely to visit Taiwan as tourists.

The three provinces were followed by the cities of Beijing and Shanghai, which accounted for 89,000 and 84,000 tourist arrivals, respectively.

In light of the increasing number of Chinese interested in touring Taiwan, Yang said, his office was planning to stage a briefing session for Shanghai's tourism industry the following day.

He added that he and his staff will also visit other provinces to promote Taiwan tourism.

Yang said he plans to introduce the Official Taiwan Lantern Festival that will take place this year in Miaoli County, central Taiwan, in which a delegation from Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province will participate.

Taiwan is also sending a group to participate in Yangzhou's lantern show in late January in a reciprocal move, he noted.

Later in 2011, Yang went on, the TSTA will hold activities in Beijing and Shanghai highlighting Taiwan's catering service, in which famous Taiwanese chefs will show off their skills.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 01:46 PM   #52
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Mon, Jan 24, 2011
Taipei Times
Inbound, outbound travel figures reach highest levels ever
Staff Writer, with CNA

A record high of almost 30 million people traveled to or from Taiwan last year, 19.5 percent more than in 2009, government statistics released over the weekend showed.

The latest statistics released by the Ministry of the Interior showed inbound passengers totaled 14,980,936 last year, a 19.72 percent increase from 2009, while outbound passengers totaled 14,909,299, an annual increase of 19.27 percent.

Both the arrival and departure figures were historical highs.

The combined 29,890,235 arrivals and departures were 19.5 percent more than a year earlier.

Ministry officials attributed the increase to an economic recovery and a jump in cross--Taiwan Strait travel following the relaxation of restrictions on Chinese tourists from the middle of 2008.

Since Taiwan conditionally opened its doors to some groups of tourists from China in 2002, the number of tourists from there visiting Taiwan has grown steadily.

In terms of travelers’ nationalities, Taiwanese accounted for 63 percent of the total outbound and inbound travel, while Chinese nationals (including Hong Kong and Macau residents) made up 15.4 percent. Individuals from other countries accounted for the remaining 21.5 percent.

Some 5.57 million foreign passengers entered Taiwan last year, with 43.6 percent of them coming from China (including Hong Kong and Macau), 19.4 percent from Japan, 7.1 percent from the US and 5.1 percent coming from Malaysia, ministry figures showed.

About 57 percent of the 9.42 million outbound trips made by Taiwanese began with travel to China, while 14.6 percent went to Japan on the first leg of their trips.

About 4.6 percent flew to the US and 4.3 percent traveled to South Korea.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 04:06 PM   #53
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Taiwan proposes allowing solo tourists from China

TAIPEI, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Taiwan has proposed that up to 500 mainland Chinese a day can visit the island as individual tourists, as the two sides look to deepen their burgeoning economic relationship.

Government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Tuesday individual visitors would be limited to stays of up to 15 days. The quota would be in addition to an existing limit of 4,000 mainland tourists per day allowed on group tours.

Though still politically sensitive, opening up to individual tourists is the next stage in boosting economic ties between the two political rivals, whose relations have reached the best in 60 years since the signing of a landmark trade deal last year.

Mainland tour groups accounted for 1.63 million visitors in 2010, up 68 percent from the previous year, and for the first time the number of mainland tourists exceeded those from Japan, which for decades has been Taiwan's biggest source of visitors.

Taiwan's tourism shares sub-index has risen some 30 percent in the last year on hopes of an influx of free-spending mainland tourists, and a string of luxury hotels have opened up or are under construction on the island to meet expected demand.

The officials said China had yet to express an opinion on Taiwan's proposal. But they did not rule out the possibility of an increase to the proposed number.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 04:56 PM   #54
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Wed, Jan 26, 2011
Taipei Times
Kaohsiung mayor defends policies on PRC tourists
By Flora Wang / Staff Reporter

Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) yesterday defended her government’s policies to attract Chinese tourists and said Kaohsiung was preparing itself for independent Chinese travelers.

Chen said on the floor of the Greater Kaohsiung City Council that the city had been drawing up itineraries for independent Chinese travelers.

“The city is always happy to greet visitors from China,” Chen said.

Taiwan and China have been negotiating to allow independent travelers from China to visit Taiwan. Currently Chinese visitors are only permitted to visit by joining tour groups.

Chen’s defense came after criticism from local tourism industry representatives and Council Speaker — Hsu Kun-yuan (許崑源) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) — that the city government had not made sufficient effort to attract Chinese tourists or launched a campaign in China to promote Greater Kaohsiung.

The representatives visited Hsu at the council on Monday, urging Hsu to help bring more Chinese tourists to the city.

During the meeting, Hsu accused the city government of being blinded by political ideology and failing to compete for Chinese tourists.

The speaker lashed out at the city government over the fact that the city will only have six cross-strait charter flights during the Lunar New Year holidays.

Hsu said he was willing to step up and promote Kaohsiung, along with other KMT city councilors.

“We need to let Chinese nationals know that Kaohsiung residents are friendly,” Hsu said, adding that he would urge the central government to hold the eighth round of cross-strait talks in Kaohsiung.

Chen yesterday said she had previously told Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) that she was dissatisfied with the limited number of cross-strait charter flights to and from Kaohsiung.

Chen said the city’s Tourism Bureau director, Chen Sheng-shan (陳盛山), had just returned to Kaohsiung after concluding a promotional trip to Beijing and Hong Kong.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 04:39 AM   #55
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Decision on Chinese tourists could be made next month
Taipei Times Staff Writer, with CNA
Sun, Feb 27, 2011

A major decision may be made on a proposal to allow Chinese tourists to travel to Taiwan independently when representatives from Taiwan and China meet next month to discuss the issue, Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau said yesterday.

The bureau made the comment after Shao Qiwei (邵琪偉), director of China’s National Tourism Administration, announced in Taipei last week that citizens from pilot Chinese cities would be allowed to travel to Taiwan independently from the second quarter of this year.

“Shao’s visit has greatly enhanced mutual understanding between Taiwan and China on an unofficial basis,” Chief Secretary of Tourism Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰) said.

Shao arrived in Taiwan on Feb. 22 as the head of a Chinese delegation for a one-week visit to promote broader cross-strait tourism links.

Chang declined to discuss a timetable for negotiations on Taiwan’s broadening of its tourism policy, saying only that it was likely to be based on the consensus reached during the sixth round of talks between Taiwan and China last December.

At present, Chinese tourists are only permitted to enter Taiwan as members of tour groups, with a limit of 4,000 tourists per day.

According to earlier reports, Taiwan may set a ceiling of 500 independent Chinese tourists per day when the proposal takes effect.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 03:17 PM   #56
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Finding common ground with Chinese tourists
The China Post Staff
26 February 2011
The China Post

In the past decade Hong Kong and Macau have benefited substantially from mainland Chinese policies of letting an increasing number of tourists into the two cities. Many believed that mainland tourists were part of the contributors that helped lift Hong Kong's economy out of the abyss following the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) crisis. Mainland travelers, especially high rollers, are the main source of income for casinos in Macau, which has surpassed Las Vagas to become the world's biggest gambling center.

In recent months, however, the two cities were dealing with the side effects of playing host to one of the richest groups of tourists in the world. The clashes between tour guides and visitors in Hong Kong and Macau offer good examples for Taiwanese tour agencies and tourism-related businesses as they are gearing up for the increasing number of individual mainland tourists.

Two Chinese tourists went to court with a Hong Kong tour guide over a brawl that broke out after the Chinese said they were forced to buy items from a jewelry shop during their trip.

It is a common practice among travel agencies to offer extremely cheap, sometimes even free, packages to tourists with the condition that they will visit places such as jewelry, Chinese artifact or herb shops. The agencies then earn commissions from the shops according to the purchases made.

Tour guides generally do not actually “force” people to purchase items in these places but tourists can expect to spend a lot of time, sometimes hours on end, at these “shopping stops.” Arguments often stem from the differences between visitors who are bored by these non-sightseeing trips or feel cheated, and the tour guides who insist to the clients that these stops are part of the deal.

In theory the solution to this problem is straightforward. After all, it is not difficult for people to understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Many no doubt half expect these “mandatory” shop visits when they sign up for the cheap trips. In fact, such practices are not reserved only for Hong Kong and can be seen in many Chinese tour packages. To even make it more clear, regulations can be made to demand tour agencies to clearly notify their clients on the number and length of shopping stops in their trips.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 07:15 AM   #57
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CHINA PITCHES 'FASTER, DEEPER' CROSS-STRAIT TOURISM DEVELOPMENT
24 February 2011

TAIPEI, Feb 24 Asia Pulse - China's top tourism official on Wednesday envisioned a future where 5 million tourists from China would visit Taiwan each year and urged the two sides' tourism sectors to move in that direction.

Shao Qiwei, head of China's National Tourism Administration, said at the opening of a conference in Taipei on cross-Taiwan Strait tourism that cooperation in the sector should "go deeper and move faster, " even with Chinese visitor arrivals setting a record high 1.63 million in 2010.

Describing the tourist pool in China as "extremely sufficient, " Shao asked the audience to consider the possibilities if one-tenth of China's 1.3 billion population, or 130 million people, wanted to visit Taiwan for pleasure.

"Based on 5 million visits per year, it would take 26 years to have all of those people travel to Taiwan," Shao said.

Also, 25,000 round-trip cross-strait flights would be needed to transport those travelers every year if the average flight's capacity is 200 passengers, he said.

Shao contended that having 5 million Chinese tourists visit Taiwan was not beyond the realm of possibility, because while most Chinese visitors at present were middle or upper income earners, many lower-income people were also saving up for a trip to Taiwan.

He said he hoped Taiwan and China would expand and deepen cooperation in all tourism-related fields, including recreational agriculture, travel product manufacturing and tour services.

The tourism official, in Taiwan for a week-long visit at the head of a delegation composed of over 400 officials and travel agency executives, did not mention the issue of allowing independent Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan.

But at a welcoming party the previous day, Shao said his office would try to push for the highly anticipated program by the second quarter of the year and open it to Beijing and Shanghai residents on a trial basis "in order to be prepared for a further opening, " Shao said.

At present, Chinese tourists are only permitted to enter Taiwan as members of tour groups.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 03:04 PM   #58
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Trial for individual tours to Taiwan
8 March 2011
Shanghai Daily

Tourists from China's mainland will be able to make their own way to Taiwan later this year when pilot trials of individual travel to the island from the mainland begin.

At present, mainland tourists have to go as part of an organized tour.

Shanghai and Beijing will be the two cities taking part in the trials, which are due to begin in the second quarter of this year, Shao Qiwei, director of the National Tourism Administration, said yesterday.

Shao said that higher income groups would take part at first and then the market would be expanded to more people.

Shanghai travel agencies said they had begun to design individual packages, mainly targeting the better off.

They said flight tickets and room charges for individuals would be higher than those for groups, and tourists should be prepared to pay about 25 to 30 percent more for the packages.

"An eight-day trip to Taiwan costs about 6,000 yuan (US$857) for group travelers, and the same trip, with the same dining and accommodation standard, would cost 8,000 to 9,000 yuan for individuals," said Wang Yan, general manager of Shanghai Airlines International Travel Service Co Ltd. "But, of course, self-service travelers will be able to choose hotels which are suitable for their budget."

Since the Taiwan-bound tourist market opened to tourists from the Chinese mainland in 2008, most visitors have been middle-aged or elderly, travel agencies said. Young people showed less interest in the island.

That meant most Taiwan packages at present were "round-island" trips geared to older people, allowing tourists to visit several cities over a week.

That may change with the opening up of individual travel.

Agencies said packages for individual tourists would be more flexible. Usually they would be around four to five days, and designed for those with specific aims, such as honeymoon couples or pop music fans going to concerts.

Last year, nearly 1.23 million tourists from the mainland visited Taiwan, more than double 2009's figure. Taiwan-bound group tours are available to tourists from all 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the mainland.
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Old March 24th, 2011, 05:14 PM   #59
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Leofoo Tourism to strengthen facilities to expand business
17 March 2011
Taipei Times

Leofoo Tourism Group, which owns hotels, theme parks, movie theaters and bakeries, aims to strengthen facilities to boost business this year, company executives said yesterday.

The conglomerate intends to spend NT$350 million (US$11.8 million) establishing a water theme park adjacent to Leofoo Village Theme Park in Hsinchu County that is to start operations in the summer, Leofoo Group chief operating officer Lulu Chuang told reporters.

TOURISM

The group is upbeat about the tourism industry as it may see an increase in both domestic and Chinese tourists this year amid the continued economic recovery, she said.

Leofoo also plans to invest another NT$420 million renovating the Westin Taipei to make the five-star hotel more appealing to upscale customers.

The group will also open a new bakery, Elite Concept, on the 88th floor of Taipei 101, a must-see spot among Chinese tourists, marketing director Dennis Liu said.

REBOUND

The groups revenue jumped 15.8 percent last year from a year earlier after the local tourism industry emerged from the global financial crisis, Liu said, declining to give a forecast.

Looking ahead, Leofoo expects a joint credit card venture with Chinatrust Commercial Bank to generate NT$500 million in revenue this year, Liu said. Cardholders can enjoy discounts at various Leofoo businesses.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 05:22 PM   #60
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Drop in Japanese visitors hurts tourism
Tourism officials are hoping that an influx of Chinese tourists once restrictions on cross-strait visitor are lifted would make up for the drop in Japanese tourists
17 March 2011
Taipei Times

The hospitality sector has seen falling room occupancy rates because of fewer Japanese travelers in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami on Friday, while travel agents acted quickly to adjust their business plans to minimize losses.

Leofoo Tourism Group, which operates The Westin Taipei, Leofoo Hotel and Leofoo Resort, saw the number of foreign guests falling 15 percent in the wake of Japans powerful earthquake on Friday, chief operating officer Lulu Chuang said yesterday at a media gathering.

The disaster dealt a heavy blow to Leofoo Hotel because Japanese tourists account for 42 percent of its occupancy rate, Chuang said, adding that about 10 percent canceled reservations over the weekend and on Monday.

Another 5 percent of US and European guests changed plans to visit Taiwan, citing radiation concerns, Chaung said.

The worry, while reflecting a lack of information about the nuclear crisis in Japan, may wreak havoc on the hospitality industry here, Chuang said, calling on the government to help defuse the jitters.

Formosa International Hotels Corp, the nations biggest listed hotel operator, said yesterday it foresaw a drop of 6 percent in room occupancy rate this month, impacted by the cancellations from Japanese clients, which account for 38 percent of its total clientele.

The impact of cancelations from Japanese customers is still within control, Ellen Chang, Formosa Regent Taipei public relations director, said by telephone. We have launched contingency plans to attract guests from Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau to offset the drop in Japanese clients.

Luckily, Chang said, 80 percent of Formosa Regents Japanese guests are business travelers and they are still going ahead with their business trips to Taiwan.

Executives of Taipei's Grand Hotel and Ambassador Hotel said they expected the situation to worsen in the coming months.

The Tourism Bureau yesterday estimated a 20 percent decline in Japanese visitors over the coming three months, or more than NT$1 billion (US$33.9 million) in lost income, Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Wayne Liu said.

Last year, 1.08 million Japanese people visited Taiwan, making Japan the second-largest source of tourists after China, he said.

The ripple effect from Japans earthquake has also been closely monitored by the local travel -industry owing to heightened concerns over the possibility of wider radiation leaks, a vice general manager of a major travel agency said on condition of anonymity yesterday.

Many travel agencies organized cherry-blossoms sightseeing trips to Japan for later this month and early next month, and the cancellations from customers have been non-stop for the past few days, she said.

The impact is very huge, she said. The industry cant put a loss figure to the impact just yet, but what we can say is that it is significant.

The Kaohsiung Association of Travel Agents said on Tuesday that its members were focusing on Chinese tourists, many of whom canceled travel plans to Japan.

Ma Yi-lung, chairman of the association, said more than 90 percent of people in Kaohsiung who purchased Tokyo tour packages arriving before March 21 have canceled their reservations. Even those planning to travel to the island of Okinawa, more than 1,500km away from Tokyo, have called off their plans, he added.

Overall, Taiwans hospitality stocks saw their share prices plunge for the third day yesterday, although at a less severe rate. Shares have gone down 12.1 percent over the past few days, the Taiwan Stock Exchanges data showed.

Formosa International closed down 4.6 percent at NT$416.5, after dipping by the 7 percent daily limit on Monday and Tuesday. Ambassador Hotel, which also nosedived 7 percent in the first two days of the week, was down 0.5 percent at NT$38.8 yesterday.

Phoenix Tours International, the only travel company that is listed on the GRETAI Securities Market, dropped 1.7 percent to NT$64.5. Its stock was also down by the daily limit for the earlier two days. To offset the losses, Ma said Kaohsiung travel agents hoped Taiwans plan to open its doors to independent Chinese tourists between next month and May would attract more Chinese tourists.

Taipeis hotel managers said they have already begun a campaign to attract more domestic customers, as well as travelers from China and Southeast Asian nations.

Kinger Lau, executive director at Goldman Sachs Group Ltd, said yesterday the brokerage has an overweight view on Taiwans tourism sector, because the decreasing tourists from Japan would be offset by increases in Chinese tourists.

Tourists from China became the biggest driver for Taiwans tourism sector last year, accounting for 29 percent of all travelers to Taiwan, compared with 19 percent from Japan.

Chinese tourists will keep growing this year because of the release of the Chinese Independent Visitors Scheme (CIVS), possibly starting from next month, Lau said at a press conference in Taipei.

The rising spending of Chinese visitors would offset the decreasing tourists from Japan, driving up the tourism sectors earnings and valuations, Lau said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA AND AFP
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