In a landmark development signalling improved relations between the two former rivals, China will today open its first semi-official tourist office in Taiwan.
Located in a commercial district of downtown Taipei, the office will be administered by China’s Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association.
It is hoped the venture will provide travel consulting services, promote mainland tourist sites, and coordinate and settle tourists-related disputes.
“This is an important development in cross-strait relations,” said vice Mainland Affairs Council chairman Chao Chien-min.
“The opening of this semi-official office shows cross-strait exchanges are being gradually institutionalized and now the government can help Taiwanese travellers on the mainland to handle problems that come up during their trips.”
The opening follows the inauguration of a Taiwanese office in Beijing earlier this week.
That office will be run by the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (TSTA).
Last year a total of four million Taiwanese travelled to the mainland China.
A ban on travel between the two states was lifted in 2008, with the latest move suggesting a further thawing of relations between the two nations after decades of antipathy.
Taiwan split from China in 1949 at the end of a civil war. However, the Communist government in China considers self-ruled Taiwan part of its territory, awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
“We hope to set up a direct, smooth and effective communication channel for tourists on both sides and provide them better service,” concluded Mr Chien-min.