Taipei: Taiwan travel agencies ordered to immediately stop visiting China

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s tourism administration announced on Wednesday its decision to uphold a three-year ban on Taiwanese tour groups traveling to China, citing Beijing’s failure to send away Chinese group tourists, as As stated in the report of Central News Agency.

Taiwan. “The original plan will no longer proceed considering changes in the current situation and factors such as travel safety for Taiwanese citizens,” the administration said in a release. The decision marks a departure from the November 2023 resolution, which allowed local travel agencies to begin arranging itineraries for tour groups to China from March 1, 2024, the Central News Agency reported.

Originally, Transport Minister Wang Kuo-tsai had announced during the November plenary session of the Legislature that the Cabinet would lift the cross-strait travel ban by the Lunar New Year, to take effect in March. The government’s decision to allow Taiwanese tourist groups to travel to China will also include reopening Taiwan’s borders to tourist groups from China, Wang said, according to the Central News Agency.

Wang’s statements represent a change in the government’s stance expressed in May 2023 and a statement in late August by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan’s top government agency that oversees cross-Taiwan Strait affairs.

On May 19, when Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, announced that Chinese travel agencies could resume business involving receiving Taiwanese group tourists immediately, Taipei did not respond positively. .

Instead, then-tourism bureau chief Chang Shi-chung said rules on group travel should be negotiated through existing channels – the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Tourism Exchange Across the Taiwan Straits – although Taiwan welcomed China. announcement of.

The tourism administration said on Wednesday that the planned policy had to be canceled because “it is not yet the right time to restart our travel agency’s group tours to China.” The administration cited China’s reluctance to move forward with reciprocity arrangements and expressed concerns about flight safety due to China’s recent unilateral adjustment of its flight path closer to the midline of the Taiwan Strait.

China on February 1 ended an “offset measure” for operations on the south side of the M503 flight path, which is west of the center line of the Taiwan Strait, and began operations on the east side of routes W122 and W123, which Connects the M503 to the cities of Fuzhou and Xiamen. In Fujian province.

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