China’s top tourism official has promised to help pave the way for more Chinese citizens to travel to Taiwan for sightseeing, a visiting Taiwan official said Thursday.
Janice Lai, director-general of the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, made the remarks on the sidelines of a presentation in Nanjing on Taiwan’s tourist attractions and resources.

Lai is heading a 150-member delegation on a tourism promotion visit to China, which already took her to Beijing.

According to Lai, Shao Qiwei, director of China’s National Tourism Administration, told a Beijing workshop hosted by the Taiwanese delegation Tuesday that Chinese authorities are studying measures to allow or encourage more Chinese citizens to visit Taiwan for sightseeing purposes.

The two sides of the Taiwan Strait signed two landmark agreements in mid-June on the opening of direct cross-strait weekend charter flights and further opening of Taiwan to more Chinese tourists with effect from July 4.

Under the agreements, Taiwan allows the entry of up to 3,000 Chinese tourists per day, but the number of actual arrivals has so far fallen far short of expectations.

Lai said Taiwan is looking forward to doubling the monthly Chinese tourist arrivals to 20,000 by the end of this year.

According to Lai, expansions of the direct flight services will be high on agenda of a new round of cross-strait talks scheduled for late this month or early November.

On Thursday, Lai paid a call on Zhou Naixiang, director of Jiansu Province’s tourism bureau, to exchange views on the promotion of bilateral tourist and cultural exchanges.

More than 100 Chinese travel agents in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, and its surrounding areas, attended the Taiwan tourism presentation to get first-hand information about resources and the latest developments in Taiwan’s tourism industry.

A similar event in Beijing was also very successful, attracting more than 400 travel service executives or tour operators, Lai said, adding that the Taiwanese delegation has been offering various tour packages, including short-stay ones that could be attractive to Chinese salaried workers looking for a quick getaway.