China opens first Taiwan tourist office

China opens first Taiwan tourist office

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.”

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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.