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More Taiwan tourists flock to city as cross-Straits ties improve

 

More than 220,000 Taiwan tourists had visited Beijing by the end of November, a rise of almost 70 percent year-on-year as a result of closer exchanges and facilitated services, the Beijing municipal bureau of tourism said in a report.

China International Travel Service (CITS), the biggest travel agency in the Chinese mainland, has received more than 2,000 Taiwan tourists so far this year. This is a record high.

Huang Guoyue, from the marketing department of CITS, said yesterday there would be more tourists from Taiwan to Beijing next year.

"There are more Beijingers visiting Taiwan from the mainland. This stimulates the interest of Taiwan tourists to come to Beijing," she explained.

"It is now much easier for Taiwan people to spend their holidays in the mainland, since the procedure is simpler and there are more flights," she said.

More than half of CITS' Taiwan clients are individual travelers, with low costs considered the most important factor.

"The price of flight tickets and hotel discounts are major influences when they plan their Beijing trips," Huang said.

The largest Chinese online travel service company Crtip.com said the average price for return tickets between Taipei and Beijing was 3,572 yuan for the coming Christmas and New Year holiday, about 1,500 yuan cheaper than the average price during the National Day Holiday.

The Beijing municipal tourism bureau said the increase in individual travelers is a good sign for the capital city.

"The number of individual travelers coming to Beijing is increasing. This relates to travelers from all over the world, not just Taiwan," Gu Xiaoyuan, deputy director of the municipal tourism bureau, said on Friday.

She also said that the bureau is cooperating with the top local travel agencies and public relations agents in Taiwan to attract even greater numbers.

"We are running a website in Taiwan to promote Beijing's hotspots," Gu said.

The bureau will provide a fund of 700,000 yuan for travel agencies in Beijing to invite travel agencies and major media from 15 target markets including Taiwan in 2010.

"I find more advertisements of trips to Beijing in newspapers and magazines in Taipei," a Taiwanese girl named Freda said yesterday.

"Coming to Beijing is much more popular now," she added.