Kinmen sees increased travel via three mini links
Taipei, May 7 (CNA) The travel volume between Taiwan's Kinmen Island and China via the three mini links in the first four months of 2018 grew 3.5 percent year-on-year, according to the Kinmen County government.
It said travel in Kinmen by direct ferry service to and from China's Fujian Province in the four-month period rose to 574,721 passengers, up from 555,480 in the same period of 2017.
Citing National Immigration Agency (NIA) statistics, the county government said in a statement on May 4 that Taiwanese accounted for 57.51 percent of the travel volume, Chinese visitors made up 40.17 percent, and foreign nationals 2.32 percent.
Kinmen's visitor arrivals from China in the January to April period totaled 115,919, an increase of 9.9 percent from the same period in 2017, when the figure was 105,472, the county government said.
The highest single-day number this year was on April 29, at the start of the three-day Labor Day holiday in China, when Kinmen registered 5,512 arrivals, 3,435 of which were from China, the county government said.
Chen Mei-ling (陳美齡), director general of the county's tourism department, attributed the growth in travel volume to the efforts of Kinmen Magistrate Chen Fu-hai (陳福海), who lobbied for the easing of some mini links restrictions by the NIA which took effect Jan. 1.
The measures included lowering the entry permit fees for Chinese citizens on arrival, expediting the application process if they are visiting Kinmen for artistic or business purposes, and removing the requirement for a "G note" detailing the date and purpose of their trips on arrival if they hold a travel permit from Fujian Province, Chen Mei-ling said.
As part of the Taiwan government's efforts to boost arrivals from China, Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) announced on May 1 that Chinese nationals would be allowed to enter Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu via the three mini links for some non-international sports events, with immediate effect.
Chinese visitor arrivals to Taiwan have decreased since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, mainly due to strained cross-strait relations.
In 2016, visitor arrivals from China dropped by an annual 16 percent to 3.5 million, according to Taiwan's Tourism Bureau data. In 2017, the number fell to 2.73 million, the data showed.
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