Mainland, Taiwan to open tourism offices

created: 2010-01-14

The mainland and Taiwan are likely to open tourism representative offices on each side of the Taiwan Straits, said a mainland spokesman Wednesday.

The offices were expected to open around Spring Festival that falls on February 14, Yang Yi, spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, told a press conference without elaborating.

The mainland had become the second largest source of tourists to Taiwan, he said. Last year, 606,200 mainland tourists toured Taiwan.

Taiwan lifted the ban on mainland tourists in June 2008.

In the past year, the mainland allowed residents from 25 provinces and municipalities to travel to Taiwan, up from 13 in the original agreement.

Taiwan reduced the minimum member of a mainland travel group from 10 to five persons and extended the maximum stay from 10 to 15 days.

However, the industry complained of restrictions such as that of residence permits. A mainland resident has to join in Taiwan tour packages in the place where he holds a permanent residence permit, instead of where he actually lives.

"The tourism department will lift restrictions on tourist residence permits step by step, based on the development of the business," Yang said.

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