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Mainland visitors, a boon for Taiwan's tourism
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More than 4,000 people from the mainland traveled to Taiwan during the National Day holiday, a Taiwan affairs official said  Wednesday.

That's twice as many when compared to the 2007 holiday.

"The average daily number of mainland tourists to Taiwan was 270 before the Golden Week," State Council Taiwan Affairs Office Spokesman Yang Yi said. "The number reached 576 a day between Sept. 29 to Oct. 5."

Under an agreement signed by the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation, mainland residents from 13 provinces and municipalities are permitted to visit Taiwan via weekend charter flights.

A maximum of 3,000 mainland tourists are allowed to travel to Taiwan every day. Both organizations set the quota in accordance with Taiwan's accommodation capacity.

Yang said the mainland has been actively promoting Taiwan tourism and is considering opening cross-Straits travel to mainland residents in places other than the 13 chosen provinces and cities.

Last year, about 16 million Chinese mainland residents visited Hong Kong and 12 million visited Macao, Yang said.

"Judging from these figures, I am very optimistic about the future of cross-Straits tourism cooperation, especially the number of mainland tourists going to Taiwan," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2008)


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