|Chinese mainland, Taiwan to exchange tourism offices in May|
BEIJING, April 14 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese mainland and Taiwan will open tourism representative offices on each other's side of the Taiwan Strait in May, a mainland spokeswoman said here Wednesday.
The mainland-based Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association (CTEA) will set up its Taipei office on May 7, while the Taiwan-based Taiwan Strait Tourism Association will establish its Beijing office three days earlier on May 4, Fan Liqing, a spokeswoman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office told a press conference.
The offices will provide convenient services for tourists from both sides of the Strait, with a focus on tourism consultation, advertising, coordination, and dispute resolution, Fan said.
She said establishment of the offices will facilitate cross-Strait exchange and cooperation, while contributing to the mutual prosperity and development of both sides of the Strait.
Taiwan lifted its ban on mainland tourists in June 2008, and the first group of mainland tourists arrived in July that year.
The Chinese mainland has become the second largest source of tourists to Taiwan.
About 606,000 mainland tourists visited Taiwan in 2009, spending an estimated 1.3 billion U.S. dollars on the island, according to CTEA.
The momentum has continued this year with 35,000 mainland tourists visiting Taiwan during the week-long Lunar New Year holiday that ended Feb. 19., according to an CTEA official.
In another endeavor to push forward cross-Strait exchanges, Fan Liqing said during Wednesday's press conference Taiwan students who have top-notch results in the island's college entrance examinations can now apply for enrollment at mainland universities.
The students can apply to 123 colleges and universities on the Chinese mainland, and can be enrolled from September this year after passing an oral examination.
"We encourage exchanges between students across the Taiwan Strait," said Fan, adding that such exchanges bring youngsters on both sides of the Strait closer together, contributing to the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties.