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Taiwan to open doors to independent Chinese visitors

2010/10/18 16:45

Taipei, Oct. 18 (CNA) Taiwan is set to accept independent Chinesevisitors, Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuosaid Monday.

Speaking at a legislative session, Mao said the Cabinet haddetermined in principle that Taiwan would open its doors to threecategories of Chinese visitors -- tourists, business visitors andvisitors to outlying islands -- but that details of the opening werestill in the pipeline.

Management would differ for these three categories, Mao said inresponse to questions raised by two Kuomintang (KMT) lawmakers.

Details would be publicized in the near future, he said, but forexample, management of general Chinese tourists would be strictest,and would include restrictions on the number allowed to enter Taiwaneach day.

At present, Chinese travelers can only visit Taiwan in organizedgroups.

Operators in the local hospitality industry reacted positively tothe government's initiatives to open Taiwan to independent Chinesetravelers.

Chen Jung-hui, assistant manager with the Ambassador HotelTaipei, said five-star tourist hotels had not benefited greatly todate from the country's opening to Chinese tourist groups because ofthe cost factor.

"We look forward to independent Chinese visitors, who will bemore likely to check into hotels of higher rates," Chen said.

For Liu Chun-hao, marketing manager with the Leofoo Group, thesoon-to-open independent visitor program had already improvedbusiness for the group, with Chinese travel agencies booking roomsand restaurants at its up-scale facilities such as the Westin Taipeiand the Leofoo Resort.

In related news, Mao responded to a complaint by KMT LegislatorTsai Chin-lung regarding high ticket prices for non-stop flightsacross the Taiwan Strait compared to those of transit flights.Addressing the issue for the first time, the minister said it waswishful thinking to expect non-stop tickets to be as cheap ascommuter flights, and that a small fare increase was justifiable.

(By Maranda Hsu and Deborah Kuo) enditem/MH