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November 5, 2023
- Naomi Hellman
Large numbers of Taiwanese tourists are traveling to popular destinations in China, such as Sichuan, Shandong, and Tibet. Indeed, according to Taiwan’s tourism administration, Taiwanese tourists have taken more than 1.1 million trips to China in the first nine months of this year.
This occurs despite threats from the Chinese military and regardless of restrictions on group travel that have yet to be phased out. Instead of pre-arranged package itineraries, people organize their own groups with Taiwanese tour operators and apply for entrance to China as individual tourists.
These groups lack some of the protections of a travel agency, but Taiwanese tourists at Taoyuan International Airport seemed happy to go on vacation and unconcerned with the political situation across the Taiwan Strait.
Among travelers, many looked older and said they had visited China several times before. They expressed positive views of their travel, enjoyed the company of friends and relatives, and appreciated the added convenience of language.
Such private tour groups call into question the meaningfulness of a ban that seems to have little practical significance. To the casual observer, at least, the answer is not apparent.
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