Tourists from Taiwan kick off car tour in Xiamen
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.”
Contact the writers through pengyining@ chinadaily.com.cn