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17 Oct, 2013

Chinese Mainland-Taiwan individual travelers surge


BEIJING, 2013-10-16, (Xinhua) — Individual tourists from the mainland to Taiwan outnumbered those on package tours during the recent seven-day holiday, said a mainland spokeswoman on Wednesday.

About 23,600 independent tourists from the mainland visited Taiwan from Oct 1 to 7, up 144.25 percent over the same holiday last year, said Fan Liqing, spokeswoman with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, at a press conference.

Mainland tourists to Taiwan totaled 43,300 during this year’s October holiday, a year-on-year increase of 14.28 percent, Fan said citing figures from Taiwan authorities.

It was the first time that independent tourists outnumbered those traveling as part of package tours.

The ban on travel to the island for leisure purposes was lifted by Taiwanese authorities in July 2008. Mainland visitors at that time could only travel to Taiwan as part of tightly run tour groups.

On June 28, 2011, Taiwan opened its doors to independent tourists from Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. By Aug 2013, the number of mainland cities whose residents can travel independently to Taiwan had reached 26, with a total population of 200 million.

Independent tourists are welcomed as they may benefit small businesses and have more opportunities to interact with locals without putting too much pressure on local facilities.