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Kinmen hopes gov't will relax Chinese tourist rules

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kinmen County Magistrate Li Wo-shi (李沃士) yesterday requested that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) relax restrictions over visas on arrival for mainland Chinese tourists and allow no limitation on the daily number of Chinese visitors staying overnight at Kinmen.

The premier yesterday morning led a delegation of over 60 local media reporters to visit the outlying Kinmen and attend a handover ceremony at Dadan islet — an islet near Kinmen County.

During his short visit to Kinmen, Jiang listened to the county government's report on tourism. Head of the Kinmen Tourism Department Yang Chen-wu (楊鎮浯) told the reporters that the number of Taiwanese tourist groups visiting Kinmen has gradually decreased in the past few years.

To boost Kinmen's tourism, the county hopes the government can loosen the requirements for visas on arrival for mainland Chinese visitors, Yang said.

Yang further said that mainland Chinese tourists who travel to Taiwan via Kinmen should be exempted from the restriction on the daily maximum number of Chinese tourists regulated by the Transportation Ministry and the National Immigration Agency (NIA).

Li as well said that Kinmen's tourism has improved to a certain standard over the past few years, noting that his county can now accept more tourists as compared to the past. Li said he hopes the government can assist Kinmen to improve transportation capacity to boost local tourism.

The magistrate said that apart from hoping to increase the number of Chinese tourists to Kinmen, his county at the same time is planning to build five bicycle paths and offer 500 rental bikes for free to attract more visitors.

Premier's Response

Jiang responded by saying he agrees that the requirements for visas on arrival for mainland Chinese visitors should be simpler, adding that he will request that the NIA and the Tourism Bureau work on the issue as soon as possible.

As for whether or not to exempt Kinmen from the daily limitation on Chinese tourists, Jiang said to relax such restrictions may impact tourism to the main island (Taiwan) and may have negative effects on Kinmen's development. Jiang said the proposal involves complicated issues, noting that, however, he will order the Ministry of the Interior to discuss the possibility of the proposal.

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