Number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan expected to reach 1 million in 2010

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The number of Chinese tourists travelling to Taiwan is expected to reach one million in 2010 after the January-May figure shot up 90 percent compared with the corresponding period last year, an official said Sunday.

Wang Yi, head of the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said about 660,000 Chinese tourists travelled to Taiwan in the first five months of 2010, while 1.96 million Taiwanese residents visited China.

Taiwanese authorities lifted a partial ban on Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan in July 2008, Xinhua reported.

Chinese visitors to Taiwan totalled 930,000 in 2009 and numbers have grown robustly this year, Wang said at a conference at the weeklong second Straits Forum in the southeastern Chinese coastal city of Xiamen.

Chinese tourists have become increasingly interested in visiting farms, communities, factories and schools when they are in Taiwan, Wang said, adding that the grass-roots-level exchanges brought people from across the Strait even closer.