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Shanghai tourists to Taiwan surge 85%  Mar 12, 2009

More than 5,000 Shanghai residents have made trips to Taiwan since March 1, up 85 percent from the same period of last month, the Pudong border checkpoint said here Thursday.

The daily average number of Shanghai visitors to Taiwan has climbed to more than 400 during the first 12 days of this month from no more than 250 since the island allowed mainland tourists on July 4 last year.

The surge was mainly due to the warming weather and stimulus measures recently adopted by Taiwan tourism authority, travel agencies said.

Lower prices set by travel agencies also contributed to the boom.

In June last year, the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) agreed that Taiwan was to open to mainland tourists in July.

The agreement allowed residents from 13 mainland provinces and municipalities to visit Taiwan. It was extended to an additional 12 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on Jan. 20.

Air service has been improved across the straits with weekend charter flights starting from last July, and direct flights and daily services starting from last December.

In Beijing, Taiwan travels also boomed. More than 5,000 Beijing residents registered for passes to visit Taiwan in February, a record high in history, according to the city's Public Security Bureau.

More than 90,000 mainland tourists have visited Taiwan by the end of February, according to Taiwan's travel authority.

Shanghai tourists to Taiwan surge 85%
Photograph by Wally Santana / AP

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