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Guangdong Travel Agencies Prepare for Taiwan Tours

Guangdong travel agencies are preparing Taiwan itineraries after the State Tourism Administration (STA) revealed plans on Taiwan tours Friday.


STA spokesperson Zhang Jianzhong said Friday the mainland was ready to talk to Taiwan about opening tourism to Taiwan for mainland residents.


Zhang said the date for the tours would be decided after negotiating with Taiwan tourism authorities. Once an agreement was reached, traveling to Taiwan would be conducted in a planned, gradual and orderly manner, he said.


Head of Taiwan's "executive Yuan" Frank Hsieh told a press conference Friday he "basically welcomed the expanded tourism."


Joseph Wu, head of Taiwan's "Mainland Affairs Council," said over the weekend that Taiwan authorities were planning to open the island to group mainland visitors.


The island would accept 1,000 mainland tourists each day, and allow each mainland tourist to stay for 10 days at most, said Wu.


According to a regulation passed in 2001, Taiwan authorities only allow mainlanders living, studying, working, or traveling overseas to visit the island.


Tour agencies in Guangdong took no time to launch Taiwan itineraries, and had received many phone calls inquiring prices, the Daily Sunshine reported.


The paper said tour agencies had started accepting orders for such tours, and planned to charge 5,000 yuan (US$605) to 7,000 yuan per person.


In Shenzhen, the Comfort tour agency said it would arrange two itineraries after the date for opening the Taiwan tours was decided.


The Shenzhen Port China Travel Service said it would offer Taiwan itineraries priced at about 6,000 yuan for five days per person as soon as the date was decided.


Ordinary mainland residents have been denied trips to Taiwan due to restrictions by the Taiwan authorities.


(Shenzhen Daily May 23, 2005)


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