2008-07-30 03:14:03 GMT 2008-07-30 11:14:03 (Beijing Time) China Daily
Travel agencies in Shanghai will make short-term trips to Taiwan available beginning in August. The tour prices will be relatively low to cater to various needs of customers, the Shanghai Morning Post reported Monday.
Given similar costs of air tickets and passes, the tour price for a five- or six-day trip to the island will be about 7,000 yuan ($1,025), down 45 percent from that of the current 10-day tour.
Mainland residents from certain cities and provinces including Beijing and Jiangsu province can now apply for tours to the island in groups of 10 to 40, staying for a maximum of 10 days.
Taiwan has restricted trade and travel with the mainland since 1949, but the island's new leader, Ma Ying-jeou, has helped open doors to warmer ties.
The two sides last month held their first direct talks in a decade and signed agreements to launch the flights and triple the number of mainland people allowed to visit the island to 3,000 daily.
Since earlier this month, more than 2,000 mainland tourists have been to Taiwan for a 10-day visit. The tour price varied in different cities, but was generally from 12,000 yuan to 13,000 yuan, as much as the price of a package tour to Europe.
The 10-day tour allows tourists to see major cities and tourist areas in Taiwan. As the trip is long and expensive, it only suits those who have enough free time and money, such as retired people, said Liu Xiaojun, general manager of the sales department of Shanghai CYTS Tours Corporation.
However, young white-collar workers, who have little time and money to spare, are also itching to visit the island, said Liu.
A short-term tour often focuses on a part of the island such as Taipei or a tourist spot such as the misty Alishan range. Many a tour has a theme, such as food, and a tighter schedule, which will better cater to growing demand of young tourists, he said.
During some short-term trips, tourists will also see major tourist spots throughout the island, including the tranquil Sun Moon Lake, the magnificent National Palace Museum in Taipei and the steep Taroko Gorge, Liu added.
The more the tourism industry in a place develops, the more popular short-term tours will become, as a tourist destination usually experiences a whole-to-part promotion period after it opens to the outside, industry insiders said.
Chinese tourists earlier chose to visit Thailand with tours that cover major famous tourist spots and beaches, but now a trip to the country's southern tourist island of Phuket has become increasingly popular, the Shanghai Morning Post reported.
Likewise, many Chinese tourists visited Japan at a tour price of 15,000 yuan or higher to gain a superficial understanding through cursory observation of the whole country. Now more and more tourists would like to spend several leisure days in Tokyo by participating in tour groups for about 5,000 yuan each, the paper said.