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MAC Deputy Minister Chang: Government will continue momentum push for tourism through cross-strait negotiation mechanisms

  • Date:2012-12-26

December 26, 2012
No. 105

Upon invitation by the Southern Taiwan Tourism Industry Alliance, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Chang Hsien-Yao presented a speech at the Kingship Hotel Kaohsiung today (December 26, 2012) on "How to Effectively Build Southern Taiwan's Tourism Momentum", during which he also shared work experience and exchanged insights with the southern Taiwan tourism industry on the implementation of related operations since Taiwan opened up to Mainland tourists.
Participants of the event included Minister without Portfolio Yang Chiu-Hsing, Southern Taiwan Tourism Industry Alliance Chief Convener Frank Lin, Director-General David W.J. Hsieh of the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Civil Aeronautics Administration Director-General Jean Shen, and several heavyweight tourism operators based in southern Taiwan. The attendees conveyed their concerns about the government’s Mainland policy on issues such as opening Kaohsiung to direct cross-strait transportation links and relaxing quota limits for individual Mainland tourists.

Deputy Minister Chang explained to the tourism operators that the various signed cross-strait agreements are all closely related to the people's daily lives, and that based on the information collected by Taiwan's tourism industry, Mainland visitors have been deeply impressed by the warmth, diversity, and freedom demonstrated in Taiwan society. With the opening up of Taiwan to Mainland individual tourists, more refined tour routes and in-depth travels will be established and may further enable such visitors to more profoundly experience Taiwan's humanistic charm, while at the same time enhance the role of Taiwan's soft power in the cross-strait exchange process.

Deputy Minister Chang also pointed out that, according to statistics issued by the Tourism Bureau, over 4.69 million Mainland group travelers have visited Taiwan the opening up of Mainland tourist visits in July 2008 to the end of November, 2012. Statistics of the National Immigration Agency under the Ministry of the Interior further indicated that over 210,000 Mainland tourists visited Taiwan in April, averaging a record high of 7,100 visitors per day.
Deputy Minister Chang said that, in order to increase economic benefits and give more Mainland residents the chance to enjoy Taiwan scenery, the number of Mainland provinces and cities allowing residents to travel to Taiwan was gradually increased from 13 originally to 25; and as of July 18, 2010, residents of 31 Mainland provinces and cities have been allowed to visit Taiwan.

Deputy Minister Chang stated that, with the increasing arrival of both group and individual Mainland travelers, tremendous economic benefits in various aspects have begun to show. However, there are still some phenomena in the development process that should be closely observed. For example, the media recently reported problems involving tour group fees owed by Mainland travel agencies, tour-integrated stops at Hong Kong-owned stores, frequent travel safety incidents, and low group tour fees or even exemptions from group tour fees, these are issues that the government is aware of and is dedicated to improving.

Furthermore, the Tourism Bureau has addressed the concerns of partial southern county and city tourism operators over the concentration of Mainland tourist visits to northern and central Taiwan scenic sites by arranging for Mainland travel agencies and media representatives to visit southern Taiwan attractions. Such visits aim to give Mainland tourism operators a better understanding of local conditions and customs in southern Taiwan. The Taiwan Strait Tourism Association will also continue through its Beijing Office and recently established Shanghai Branch Office to increase related publicity and promotional activities in major Mainland cities and provide Mainland travel businesses with more travel information in order to attract more Mainland tourists to southern Taiwan.

Deputy Minister Chang indicated that, in the future, the government will continue, through the mechanism of the cross-strait tourism agreement and the negotiation platform of the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association and the Mainland's Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association, to negotiate with the Mainland side on matters related to Mainland group tours to Taiwan, such as increase of tourism operators, and improvements in processing measures and travel quality in Taiwan. Negotiations on individual travels will include issues such as increasing of trial cities and streamlining application procedures on both sides. The government will continue to dedicate efforts in reaching its policy goals by insisting on maintaining travel quality for domestic, foreign and Mainland tourists in Taiwan, as well as enhancing the Mainland public's awareness and understanding of Taiwan so as to accelerate development of tourism-related industries in Taiwan.