On Wednesday, the Association for Tourism Exchange Across the Taiwan Straits announced a temporary halt on individual tourist visas for Chinese mainland residents traveling to Taiwan. The notice, published on China’s Minsitry of Culture and Tourism website this afternoon at 1.55pm, cited current cross-strait relations as the reason behind the notice.
The suspension, which officially begins on August 1, will affect 47 cities on the Chinese mainland. According to CCTV, Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Tianjin, Chongqing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Suzhou are included in the list of cities no longer issuing G Visas at the start of next month.
Individual tourist visas from mainland cities to Taiwan started back in 2011, with residents in Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen getting first dibs. In recent years, more and more Chinese mainland cities were given permission, spawning what could be described as a tourism boom for Taiwan.
According to Travel Daily, in the first half of 2019, over 1.6 million mainland residents traveled to Taiwan (although it’s not clear how many traveled independently or with a tour group). The number of mainland tourists in Taiwan increased 28% over the same period last year.
While Chinese mainland residents are still permitted to travel to Taiwan, they must go through a tour group. A quota on the number of visitors will also be in place.
As of press time, it’s not clear how long the suspension will be in place.
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[Cover image via Pixabay]