China will stop issuing permits for individual travel to Taiwan to people in 47 mainland cities from August 1, its culture and tourism ministry said on Wednesday, citing the state of ties with the self-ruled island, but gave no details.
People from the mainland need permission to travel to what Beijing regards as a renegade province. Only travellers from 47 cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, were allowed to visit Taiwan independently.
Mainland travellers with permits issued before Thursday can follow the original itinerary, but after that date tourists can only go in groups, said China International Travel Service (CITS), a major mainland tour operator.
It comes amid a rebound in numbers of mainland tourists to Taiwan, which stood at 1.67 million in the first half, up 28% from a year earlier, official data shows.
Last year, 2.69 million mainland tourists visited the island, a drop of 1% from a year earlier and a decline of 35% from the peak in 2015, data from Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau shows.
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