IATA calls for relaxation of cross-strait travel restrictions

IATA calls for relaxation of cross-strait travel restrictions

ISTANBUL, June 4 (CNA) – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said at its annual general meeting in Istanbul on Sunday that further easing of travel restrictions between Taiwan and mainland China could improve air connectivity and boost the development of the cross-strait aviation industry, fire. chicken.

Xie Xingquan, IATA’s vice-president for North Asia, told WebMD the industry association is aware of the obstacles facing cross-strait business and leisure travel.

“As a citizen air operator, our position is to fully resume cross-strait air travel as soon as possible,” Xie said after a briefing on IATA’s Asia-Pacific market outlook.

Hsieh added that data presented by Taiwan’s major airlines China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Air (EVA Air) at a cross-strait cooperation conference organized by IATA last month showed strong potential for Taiwanese airlines.

By May, the two airlines were operating cross-Channel flights at 70% of pre-Covid-19 levels, but Hsieh noted that “passenger traffic has not caught up that fast.”

Both CAL and EVA Air are participating in IATA’s annual general meeting, June 4-6, which brings together 300 airlines representing 83% of global passenger traffic.

An IATA report showed that international travel demand had reached 81.6% of pre-pandemic levels by March, partly because demand for flights in the Asia-Pacific region nearly tripled after China reopened in January.

However, there are signs that both Taiwan and China have failed to capitalize on the industry’s revival by reviving bilateral travel ties due to deadlock in cross-strait relations.

Taiwan has not indicated any plans to lift restrictions on cross-strait group travel, in stark contrast to China’s announcement last month that it would lift a ban on group travel to Taiwan.

Taipei will continue to ban tour groups from China from visiting Taiwan, and Taiwan tour groups from visiting China – introduced in early 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – until the two sides agree on how best to Hold talks on the implementation of the new travel policy.

Zhang once said that the hope of resuming cross-strait group tours was made by both sides at the same time, not by one side.

On May 19, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, announced that with immediate effect, mainland travel agencies are allowed to provide convenience for Taiwan tour groups.

In response, Zhang explained that while Taiwan welcomes China’s statement, the norms for group tourism between the two places should be negotiated through existing channels, namely the Taiwan Straits Tourism Association and its Chinese counterpart, the Cross-Straits Tourism Exchange Association.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan’s top government body responsible for cross-strait affairs, later stressed that such talks would help simplify the market and improve travel safety for holidaymakers.

The MAC also called on Beijing to allow groups to travel to Taiwan, adding that Taiwan has always welcomed Chinese tourists and had never tried to prevent Taiwanese tourists from visiting China, but did not explain how this position was inconsistent with current policy.

Beijing has banned individual tourists from mainland China to Taiwan since August 2019 and group tourists since 2020, and there has been no sign of interest in formal negotiations to resume cross-strait travel, the MAC said.

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