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June 28, 2017

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China tourism delegation arrives

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A large-scale delegation of mainland Chinese tourism representatives, headed by Shao Qiwei, director of China's National Tourism Administration, arrived in Taipei yesterday to attend the 12th meeting of exchanges between tourism industries across the Taiwan Strait.

The meeting is being held in Taiwan for the first time in 12 years, indicating that exchanges between tourism industries on both sides of the Strait are already normalized.

Upon arriving at Taoyuan International Airport, Shao and his delegation members were warmly welcomed by Hsieh Wei-chun, deputy director general of the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, and Chang Shueh-lao, chairman of the Taiwan Visitors Association.

"This is my third visit to Taiwan. My first visit here was made in autumn, the second in summer, and this time in spring. I'm glad to see the great sunshine and beautiful, natural spring landscape here," Shao told reporters.

This time, Shao led a 458-member mainland Chinese tourism delegation to attend the 12th cross-strait tourism exchange meeting, with members including tourism officials from 30 provinces and municipal cities of mainland China and representatives of 113 mainland Chinese travel agencies newly approved to organize tourist groups to visit Taiwan, according to Shao.

Besides attending the meeting, delegation members will also make inspection tours of various scenic spots and tourist attractions, to determine optimal travel routes for Taiwan-bound tourist groups they will organize, Shao continued.

"I hope both sides across the Strait can, via face-to-face negotiations, can jointly work out effective measures to promote cross-strait tourist travel amid the global financial crisis, and establish a bilateral tourism promotion mechanism," Shao stressed.

Shao himself will attend today's opening session of the cross-strait tourism exchange meeting, fly to the offshore island of Penghu tomorrow and then to another outlying island of Kinmen on Feb. 28 to have an inspection tour of the "three mini-links," or direct transportation routes. Finally, Shao will return to the mainland from Kinmen.

It's expected that Shao's administration will be more aggressively inspiring mainlanders to make trips to Taiwan once he makes sure traveling in Taiwan is safe.

Delegations from the two sides will spend one-and-a-half days, beginning tomorrow, exchanging views on cross-strait tourism. Afterwards, the mainland delegation will take a five-day inspection tour of the island. It will not visit Tainan County and Tainan City, to avoid violent attacks similar to the one on a senior mainland Chinese official in Tainan last year.

In conjunction with Shao's visit in Taiwan, several local governments om the mainland are promoting Taiwan tours. The Jiangsu provincial government estimates at least 10,000 locals of the province will take a tour to Taiwan by the end of this year.

Shandong, Henan, Hubei and Huizhou Provinces are planning to promote tourist groups to Taiwan.

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