Senior negotiators from the mainland and Taiwan have reached an agreement allowing individual tourists from the mainland to travel across the Taiwan Strait by the end of June. To find out how the market has reacted, CCTV reporter Shen Le talked to locals and business people in Beijing.
Before the new policy comes into effect, tourists from the mainland must join a tour group if they want to pay a visit to Taiwan. They can't leave the group and must stick to the group's schedule.
But now, many locals are already making plans to apply for a tour to Taiwan as individual tourists.
Wang Yiran, a Beijing resident, said, "I want to go see Taipei 101. Last year I visited the Taiwan Pavilion at the World Expo. It was amazing. After that, I really wanted to go to the island and see for myself."
"I'm most interested in Taipei. I'd like to go to the Shilin night market and taste the local specialties. But I'm more concerned about the overall expenses," said a Li Chen, a Beijing resident.
Lv Dong, another Beijing resident, said, "I don't want to go in a group. Because you have little control over where you go. I'd like to plan the trip myself, after gathering sufficient information from the Internet."
Qunar.com is the largest online provider of travel services. The new policy also means new business opportunities for the company.
The VP of Qunar.com, Zhang Ze, said, "Qunar.com is an optimal online platform for people who would like to go to Taiwan as individual tourists. We've collaborated with top hotels and travel agencies in Taiwan and have hired representatives to test out some of the new sightseeing routes. The results will be made into packages and put on our website so our users may plan their own trips based on the information. "
The daily number of tourists from the mainland to Taiwan increased from 300 in 2008 to 32-hundred in 2010. The policy to let in individual tourists is expected to benefit small businesses, and tourists sites that do not attract group tours.