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First batch of individual tourists leaves mainland for Taiwan

2011-06-28 02:39:40 GMT2011-06-28 10:39:40(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Two tourists of a group of individual mainland tourists to southeast China's Taiwan receive media interviews at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, June 28, 2011. The Mainland and Taiwan previously reached agreements to allow mainlanders to visit Taiwan as individual tourists from June 28, 2011. The initial phase of the travel program will apply to residents of the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. Today, some 61 among a total of 290 mainland tourists will first take CA185 flight flying from Beijing to Taipei. (Xinhua/Jin Liangkuai)

An aged couple of a group of individual mainland tourists to southeast China's Taiwan push their luggage to the boarding gate at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, June 28, 2011. The Mainland and Taiwan previously reached agreements to allow mainlanders to visit Taiwan as individual tourists from June 28, 2011. The initial phase of the travel program will apply to residents of the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. Today, some 61 among a total of 290 mainland tourists will first take CA185 flight flying from Beijing to Taipei. (Xinhua/Jin Liangkuai)

A group of individual mainland tourists to southeast China's Taiwan pose for photo before boarding the flight to Taipei at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, June 28, 2011. The Mainland and Taiwan previously reached agreements to allow mainlanders to visit Taiwan as individual tourists from June 28, 2011. The initial phase of the travel program will apply to residents of the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. Today, some 61 among a total of 290 mainland tourists will first take CA185 flight flying from Beijing to Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan. (Xinhua/Jin Liangkuai)

Wang Dan (C) and her son, members of a group of individual mainland tourists to southeast China's Taiwan, wait for boarding at Shanghai Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, east China, June 28, 2011. The Mainland and Taiwan previously reached agreements to allow mainlanders to visit Taiwan as individual tourists since June 28, 2011. The initial phase of the travel program will apply to residents of the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. (Xinhua/Liu Ying)

Members of a group of individual mainland tourists to southeast China's Taiwan, set off to Taiwan from Xiamen Wutong Port in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, June 28, 2011. The Mainland and Taiwan previously reached agreements to allow mainlanders to visit Taiwan as individual tourists since June 28, 2011. The initial phase of the travel program will apply to residents of the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. The first batch of 103 tourists in Xiamen set off on Tuesday to Taiwan. (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan)

BEIJING, June 28 (Xinhua) -- About 290 people from the mainland left for Taiwan on Tuesday as the first batch of mainland individual tourists.

Sixty-one tourists aboard the flight No. CA185, which took off in Beijing at 8:35 Tuesday, are expected to arrive at Taipei at 11:45 a.m..

Meanwhile, tourists from China's top industrial city of Shanghai and Xiamen, a port city of southeast China's Fujian Province, also left for the island either by plane or ship.

The mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) and its Taiwan counterpart, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) exchanged written documents on Friday to confirm the schedule of the pilot travel program for mainland individual tourists, which was believed would boost the tourism industry in Taiwan.

According to the agreement, the initial phase of the travel program applies to residents of the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen.

The island became a popular travel destination for mainland tourists after Taiwan lifted a travel ban for mainland group visitors in July 2008.

The number of Chinese mainland tourists traveling to Taiwan in groups totaled 2.34 million as of the end of May, bringing an estimated 110 billion New Taiwan dollars (3.8 billion U.S. dollars) to the island.

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