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PacNet #52 – Tourism and changing perceptions across the Taiwan Strait

On Oct, 28, a 66-member delegation led by Shao Qiwei, chairman of China’s National Tourism Administration, arrived in Taipei for a private visit to inspect Taiwan and determine whether it was a suitable “official” destination for mainland tourists. When he departed 10 days later, Shao said his group had a positive impression of Taiwan and announced that the mainland would officially “open” Taiwan to mainland tourists. Earlier this year, Taiwanese opposition leaders visited the mainland and agreed with their Chinese interlocutors – President Hu Jintao among them – to promote mainland tourism to Taiwan. Sadly, hostility between the Beijing government and the administration of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian kept the two sides from implementing that agreement. Perhaps Shao’s visit will break the logjam.