Taiwan suspends group travel to China due to escalating tensions

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Travel agencies in Taiwan they were ordered to stop organizing new ones group trips to China while tensions between Beijing and Taipei continue to escalate.

Despite China reopening its borders to other popular tourist destinations after the pandemic, Taiwan remains excluded from the list of approved destinations for Chinese nationals.

Since the end of the pandemic, China has gradually allowed its citizens to visit various tourist hotspots, excluding Taiwan from its approved list, further exacerbating the current diplomatic standoff between the two nations. The government in Taipei has fiercely opposed China’s claims over Taiwan, which is governed democratically.

Taiwan initially planned to resume group travel to China from March 1, following a suspension during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, due to the current circumstances, Taiwanese travel agencies have been instructed to refrain from organizing any new trips, the Tourism Authority confirmed.

The decision to suspend group travel follows China’s recent rerouting of flights through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, a move that has sparked outrage and accusations from the Taiwanese government. The change, which Beijing sees as a unilateral and provocative maneuver, has raised concerns about potential military implications and further strained delicate cross-strait relations, the report said. Bangkok Post.

Despite the ban on group travel, individual travel from Taiwan to China remains unaffected. In addition, Chinese nationals living in third countries have been allowed to visit Taiwan as tourists since last September. However, China’s lack of reciprocity on group travel and recent airspace changes have only added to already heightened tensions between the two sides.

In related news, the Taiwanese tourism market in Thailand is forecast to reach the one million visitor milestone this year, provided the Thai government extends its visa-free scheme until the end of the year.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Taiwan Travel Agents (ATTA), said that despite the delayed approval of visa waivers for Taiwanese tourists last November, the total number of Taiwanese tourist arrivals in Thailand reached an impressive 724,000, close to 2019’s record of 781,000 arrivals.

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