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Taiwan tells travel agencies to stop organizing tours to China

Decision follows Beijing's unilateral change of flight routes over Taiwan Strait

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Travelers at Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport. 

Travelers at Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Travel agencies should immediately stop recruiting customers to join tour groups to China, the Tourism Administration said Wednesday (Feb. 7).

The announcement followed Beijing’s lack of action on allowing Chinese groups to visit Taiwan and its unilateral decision to alter flight routes over the Taiwan Strait. Concerns arose over potential incidents as China’s M503 route would take planes up to 4.2 nautical miles (7.8 km) from the median line.

However, the Tourism Administration said its decision to halt trips to China would not affect fully booked tours already scheduled to travel between March and June 1, per CNA.

Preparations for the resumption of Taiwan tours to China had been completed to start in March, after the Lunar New Year holiday, officials said. However, the changing situation and travel safety concerns related to the M503 decision led to the Tourism Administration call.

The travel agencies should stop organizing the tour groups from Wednesday, the government said. The administration called on China to change its attitude and allow Chinese groups to visit Taiwan again. The travel restrictions started during the COVID-19 pandemic.