China ends its Covid-era’s ban on group travels for 78 more countries, including key markets such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Korea, yet Taiwan is excluded from the list. The Mainland Affairs Council has expressed its awareness of Taiwan’s unexplained exclusion from China’s list and described it as a “non-reciprocal act” in tourism but received no reply.

The Taiwan's Ministry of Culture and Tourism yesterday announced that starting from August 10, it will lift the ban on the third batch of countries that Chinese citizens can visit on a group-tour basis.

Previously on February 6, China first reopened to the world by approved group travel to 20 countries, mostly in Asia; On March 10, it has permitted travel to a second batch of 40 countries, mostly in Europe.

This time, China has allowed group tours to a wide range of Western and Asia’s democratic countries, including tourist hot locations such as Japan and Korea. According to data from the Ctrip travel app, the searches for outbound travel products have surged by over 20 times.

The Mainland Affairs Council Minister Jan Jyh-horng told a press conference yesterday that the Council has repeatedly urged China’s government to “open the gate” in a reciprocal manner.

“Up to now, we have not prohibited our citizens from traveling to China on personal travel basis, nor have we restricted our students from studying at universities in China.”Jan said.

Jan also claimed in the conference that he had expressed through multiple channels about Taiwan’s willingness in promoting tourism on both sides, but so far he has received no response from China.

Taiwan and China’s outbound and inbound travel restrictions have been subjected to rearrangement as the cross-strait impasse continues to linger these years.

Since President Tsai Ing-wen was elected in 2016, China has progressively restricted group tours from China to Taiwan. In 2019, the Chinese government banned individual mainland tourists from visiting Taiwan. In 2020, citing the necessary anti-Covid measures, restrictions were imposed on mainland students coming to Taiwan for university studies, which are still in effect until now.

On May 19 2023, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office announced that Chinese travel agencies can host tour groups arriving from Taiwan, but at that time, Taiwan insisted its ban on travel agencies from organizing group tours to China. 

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TNL Editor: Kim Chan (@thenewslensintl)

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