Tourists from Tai­wan kick off car tour in Xi­a­men

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By HUMEI­DONG in Xi­a­men and PENG YIN­ING in Beijing

The gov­ern­ment is en­cour­ag­ing Fu­jian prov­ince and Tai­wan to strengthen ex­changes fur­ther, af­ter tourists from the is­land gained per­mis­sion to drive their own cars when vis­it­ing the prov­ince, a spokesman for the Tai­wan Af­fairs Of­fice of the State Coun­cil said onWed­nes­day.

“The nor­mal­iza­tion of driv­ing tours im­proves the ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two sides,” the spokesman, Ma Xiaoguang, said at a reg­u­lar news brief­ing. “Fu­jian and Tai­wan are closely re­lated in history, as well as to­day.”

Asked when main­land tourists will be able to ferry their cars to Tai­wan, Ma said the sched­ule de­pends on Tai­wan’s poli­cies.

Ten cars on a ferry from Tai­wan­cameashore­onMon­dayin Xi­a­men, Fu­jian prov­ince, with driv­ers and pas­sen­gers ea­ger to visit south­east­ern China.

Those cars, plus eight more rented in Xi­a­men, were to carry 62 Tai­wan res­i­dents on a four-day car­a­van, the sec­ond such tour and the lat­est de­vel­op­ment in cross-Straits co­op­er­a­tion.

The first tour took place in May in Ping­tan, an is­land county just off the main­land that is a pi­lot zone for crossS­traits ties. The sec­ond tour ex­panded to Xi­a­men.

Un­like the first event, which re­stricted visi­tors to the is­land, Mon­day’s group landed on the main­land and be­gan to drive through the prov­ince.

“The pa­per­work for this tour was easy and con­ve­nient,” ChenWen-sang, a vis­i­tor from Tai­wan, said onMon­day.

Chen said he look­ing for­ward to visit a tu­lou, an earthen build­ing that tra­di­tion­ally served as a communal res­i­dences in Fu­jian. The tu­lou are among the most pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tions in the re­gion.

In the past 10 months, Xi­a­men hosted more than 600,000 Tai­wan tourists on overnight stays, the high­est of all main­land cities, ac­cord­ing to Zhang Guo­liang, deputy head of the Xi­a­men tourism author­ity.

Zhang said that dur­ing the same pe­riod, more than 310,000 main­land tourists vis­ited

“The Xi­a­men gov­ern­ment has long pro­moted the process. The nor­mal­iza­tion has a pro­found in­flu­ence on crossS­traits co­op­er­a­tion,” Tan Zhuan­g­long, deputy ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary at Xi­a­men mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment, said at a wel­com­ing cer­e­mony on Mon­day. “I hope­both­sides will­workto get main­land ve­hi­cles toTai­wan as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Tai­wan

through

Xi­a­men.

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