Agreements Signed During 13th Cross-Strait Travel Industry Meeting In Guiyang
Since further relaxing travel restrictions on mainland Chinese tourists last year, Taiwan has seen a massive increase in cross-straits tourism, with an estimated 600,000 mainlanders venturing across the water in 2009. These tourists have been something of a godsend for the Taiwanese economy, with mainland tourists spending around 7.7 billion RMB (US$1.13 billion) in Taiwan after restrictions were loosened in June 2008.
This year, Taiwan is hoping for 750,000 mainland tourists to visit the island, and has embarked on a (tourism) charm offensive, setting up a cooperative cross-straits tourism office in Beijing and signing agreements with officials in several provinces.
One of these agreements stands out in particular. This week, during the 13th Cross-Strait Travel Industry Meeting in Guiyang, the capital city of the southern Chinese province of Guizhou, tourism officials from Taiwan and Guizhou announced that they had reached a broad consensus to increase tourism exchanges and promote new tourism routes in both regions.
From China Hospitality News:
Bai Zhongren, the director of Certified Travel Councillor Association, said Taiwan travel agencies will add several new routes to the existing Huangguoshu and Miao Village route. For example the rape blossom route in spring, the Daqikong and Xiaoqikong route in Libo, the Miao New Year in autumn, and the wine journey in northern Guizhou. They also plan to introduce the Guiyang-Fanjingshan Mountain-Fenghuang route in this autumn.
Xu Yongyu from Taiwan’s South East Travel Service Company introduced a new product to Guizhou which mainly targets senior citizens, including eight-day journey in western Taiwan and an eight-day journey in eastern Taiwan. Besides the traditional National Palace Museum, Alishan, and Taipei 101, there will be new activities such as communicating with senior citizens in Taiwan and eating healthy pollution-free food.
Although this sounds like a pretty standard, sterile agreement, it’s important to consider who benefits more from it. Taiwan clearly wants more mainland tourists to visit, not least because of their free-spending reputation, but it’s interesting that tourism officials chose Guizhou — by far China’s poorest province.
While Taiwan-bound Guizhou tourists might not spend nearly as much as their counterparts from other parts of the country (although you never know), Guizhou officials must be struggling to contain their excitement at the prospect of more well-heeled Taiwanese visitors soaking up Guizhou’s interesting cultural sights and sounds — and, perhaps most importantly, opening their wallets.