A newly established liaison travel and tourism agency, The Taiwan Strait Tourism and Travel Association (TSTA), has been formally established in Taiwan to oversee and handle the opening-up of cross-straits tourism. A joint government and travel sector initiative, TSTA will oversee and handle cross-straits tourism issues faced by travelers in both countries.
The Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council issued a statement saying it supports the formation of the association and looks forward to its contribution to Taiwan’s tourism industry. The Taiwanese government would like mainland Chinese residents to travel to Taiwan as early as possible.
The association will from now on assume the role that has been undertaken by its umbrella organization, Taiwan Travel Agent Association (TAA). TAA will now solely concentrate on overseeing rules and regulations binding association members, together with allocation of travel “quotas” to travel agents handling mainland tourists.
Presently, cross-straits tourism is governed by an agreement between the two governments, which allows 1,000 Chinese tourists to enter Taiwan per day, for a maximum of ten-day stay.
Mainland tourists are required to “enter and leave in groups” with the Taiwanese travel agent liable to be fined NT$200,000 (app.U$5,500) for each mainland China tourist missing from the group.
Taiwanese travel agents face further penalties such as suspension of quota allocation for a month should the minimum of US$80 to US$100 daily travel expenses ruling is violated.
Due to the ongoing political differences between the two governments forbids official contact. Therefore, quasi-official travel bodies like the TAA to manage and negotiate travel agreements are still handling official agreements.