SHANGHAI- Inaugurated on November 15, the Shanghai office of the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (TSTA) has been designed to become "the place (in Shanghai) closest to Taiwan," with decorations associated with the country, the office chief declared to Chinese media. The office is furnished with wooden bookshelves and blue carpets, symbolizing Taiwan's topography and the ocean. Three-dimensional images of several of the country's landmarks, such as Taroko Gorge and the Queen's Head rock formation at the Yehliu Geopark are also projected on the walls.
The second office in China of the Taipei-based TSTA following the establishment of the first, in Beijing, will handle Taiwan tourism-related affairs in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Fujian and Jiangxi provinces, said Lee Chia-pin, director of the Shanghai Office.
Thirty percent of the 260-square-meter office, located on the 10th floor of a building in downtown Shanghai, has been opened to the public since Nov. 15, providing a space that "people will be willing to visit" and not just an office, according to Lee.
Lee said tourists to Taiwan from the regions covered by the office accounted for more than 40 percent of the total since Taiwan opened its doors to Chinese tour groups in 2008. The major task of the office is to promote tourism to Taiwan, particularly among independent travelers and high-end groups, Lee said.
It also provides the latest Taiwan tourism information and help promote Taiwan-made products through collaboration with trade associations, airlines and travel agencies, Lee added.
Tourism under Taiwan's Free Independent Traveler (FIT) program, which allows Chinese nationals from 13 cities to visit Taiwan without being a part of a travel group, is seen as having great economic potential. According to the Mainland Affairs Council, over 4.28 million Chinese travelers visited Taiwan, generating revenue of NT $216.7 billion (US$7.36 billion) between July 2008 and August this year.
(Picture from Taiwan Today)