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Experts Urge Taiwan Authorities to Let Mainland Tourists in
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If Taiwan authorities lifted the ban on mainland tourists, the main result would be a positive economic stimulus that would be felt in a variety of sectors, said experts attending a forum held in Beijing on Sunday.

Huang Fucai, professor of the tourism department of mainland-based Xiamen University, said promoting cross-Straits tourism will benefit Taiwan's hotels, restaurants, transportation sector as well as its retail industries.

"It will also solve Taiwan's unemployment problems by increasing job opportunities in Taiwan," Huang said at the Third Cross-Straits Economic, Trade and Cultural Forum.

Huang said Taiwan's tourism industry has developed slowly in recent years and Chinese mainland residents, who have longed to travel to the island for years, would give it a boost.

Lee Ming-Huei, president of Taiwan Hospitality and Tourism College, estimates that Taiwan would reap revenues of 26.5 billion New Taiwan Dollars (about US$803 million) if it hosted a 1,000 mainland tourists a day.

"It will greatly boost the tourism industry and economic development in Taiwan," Li said.

He urged Taiwan authorities to remove unnecessary restrictions on mainland tourists as soon as possible.

The Chinese mainland has lifted its ban on travel to Taiwan by mainland tourists, aiming to expand people-to-people contacts and help boost Taiwan's tourism industry.

Since October 2006, non-governmental tourism organizations on the mainland and in Taiwan have conducted five rounds of talks and reached consensus on major technical issues, but they have not been able to conclude a final agreement.

(Xinhua News Agency April 30, 2007)

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