2008-07-11 09:37:42 GMT 2008-07-11 17:37:42 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
TAIPEI, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Nearly 100 mainland tourists departed from Taiwan's Taipei Taoyuan airport for Beijing on Friday afternoon after their historic eight-day visit to the island.
They were the first group to head home from Taiwan after the first cross-Strait weekend charter flights kicked off on July 4 carrying 680 mainland tourists to the island.
A 30-strong Cross-Strait Tourism Communication Association delegation led by chairman Shao Qiwei was also onboard the flight to Beijing.
"Taiwan is blessed with rich tourism resources and have made adequate preparations for mainland tourist visits," Shao said before his departure.
He hoped the two sides would further enhance communication and cooperation to create a win-win situation.
Beijing resident Wang Xiuyun told Xinhua at the Taoyuan airport she felt a close connection between the people across the Taiwan Strait through her "unforgettable" trip.
"It is a pity I have not got the chance to visit all the cultural and scenic sites on the island during my tour," she said." I think I will come again."
In addition, another 90 mainland tourists were set to take off from Taipei's Songshan airport to return to Nanjing, capital of the eastern Jiangsu Province, later on Friday evening.
The rest of the mainland tourists will return home on July 13.
Their trip on the island covered the famous natural and cultural attractions in Taipei, Kaohsiung, Kenting and Hualien, including Ali Mountain and the Sun and Moon Lake.
On the mainland, the second round of cross-Strait flights started this Friday from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen and Nanjing to Taipei.
At least 38 round-trip flights were scheduled across the Taiwan Strait.
The exact number of passengers taking the charters was not yet available.