TAIPEI — The Taiwanese government announced on Thursday that it will again allow Chinese tourists and business people from this month, in a bid to resume trade interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and expand an olive branch in Beijing.
China, which has gradually restored permission for its nationals to visit a host of popular tourist destinations including Japan, has yet to add Taiwan to its approved list.
In 2019, China suspended individual tourist permits for Taiwan amid growing tensions around the democratically-ruled island that Beijing claims as its sovereign territory.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, responsible for policy-making in China, said Chinese businessmen will be allowed from Monday to apply for short-term visits, such as to attend exhibitions, and that from September 1, they will allow Chinese living in third countries to come as tourists.
Tour groups from China will be limited to 2,000 arrivals per day, but the actual date from which this will begin will depend on the reaction of the Chinese government, the council added in a statement.
“We hope the mainland will also take action and meet with us halfway to facilitate the promotion and implementation of the plans,” he added.
There was no immediate reaction from China to this announcement.
The Taiwanese government has tried to improve relations with China starting with less sensitive issues like tourism, but China has instead blamed Taiwan for the problems, including the slow resumption of direct flights.
Tourism isn’t a mainstay of Taiwan’s tech-driven economy, but the island is an increasingly popular destination for mainly Asian tourists drawn to its renowned food, history and mountains.
Taiwan has set a target of 6 million tourist arrivals this year.
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