Mainland, Taiwan expect deeper economic co-op (3)

20:21, September 09, 2010      

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TRAVEL BOND

The coastal city of Xiamen began its busy schedule Monday with the launch of the 6th Cross-Strait Travel Fair, the first in a series of activities on promoting cross-Strait economic ties.

During the fair, 20 counties and towns from Fujian and Taiwan signed agreements on travel cooperation.

According to the document, the two regions should regard each other as a main tourist destination, and every year Fujian will organize 10,000 local residents to travel to the island for rural-themed travel.

"With cross-Strait tourism going deeper, rural tourism caters for some travelers' special taste, and will also promote the exchange between cross-Strait farm products," said Annie Shen, from a Taiwan-based association of tourism development.

Shen revealed that the island has made all-around preparations from traffic to accommodation for individual tourists from the mainland.

Taiwan allowed visits by mainland tourists after the two sides signed a travel agreement in June 2008, but that document only covered package tours.

Shao Qiwei, president of the Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association (CTEA), said in August that the mainland supports individual travel to the island but needed time to prepare for possible large tourist flows and research need to be done on individual travel procedures and provision of quality services.

Shao provided no timetable, but Taiwan authorities said in July that they were considering lifting the ban by the end of the year.

Also during the six-day fair, Chou Ching-hsiung, chairman of the Taiwan Visitors' Association, noted that Taiwan has become one of the "most desired" destination for mainland visitors.

Figures from Chou show that mainland visitors traveling to Taiwan surpassed 2.14 million as of July -- two years after the travel agreement took effect.

Chou said "the traveling interaction between Fujian and Taiwan" has been especially popular, citing that Fujian received 1.234 million, or about 27 percent of all Taiwan tourists to the mainland last year.

Echoing Chou's comments, Du Jiang, executive president of the mainland-based Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association, said the mainland will "take full advantage of Fujian's geographic location" and focus on the west coast of the Taiwan Strait as the pilot area for further development of cross-Strait tourism.

The west coast area refers to a southeastern economic zone which centers on Fujian Province and also includes some parts of neighboring Zhejiang, Guangdong and Jiangxi.

Source: Xinhua
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(Editor:李牧(实习))

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