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More tourists await nod to visit island individually

(Xinhua)

13:08, November 08, 2011

BEIJING - Although winter is yet to arrive, Xia Tingting has been shopping for clothes to wear in spring, when she goes to Taiwan, to attend an outdoor Spring Scream Music Festival on the island's southern beach resort Kenting in April.

The 27-year-old Chongqing native, for whom the music carnival is going to be a stop in a do-it-yourself journey, if all goes according to plan, said she gave up a chance to visit the island with her parents three years ago.

"I prefer making travel plans more flexible," she said. "Visiting traditional scenic spots doesn't have much appeal for young people like me.

"I prefer to wander around the streets in Taipei and taste street snacks that other people have recommended online."

It's going to take a while yet before her dream is fulfilled, as Chongqing residents are not eligible to visit Taiwan as individual tourists. But this situation is expected to change.

In June, Taiwan first opened its door to 290 mainland individual tourists, but only residents of three selected cities - Beijing, Shanghai and Fujian's Xiamen - were allowed to go.

About four months later, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council announced that the mainland tourism authority has proposed to include more mainland cities in the trial program, without giving specifics.

There's going to be an addition of two to five cities on the new list. Tianjin, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Hangzhou are the most competitive candidates, the Guangzhou-based Nanfang Daily reported, citing insiders as saying.

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