Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has expressed her disappointment in the Chinese government’s decision to suspend a program allowing individual tourists from 47 cities to visit Taiwan.
The program, launched in 2011 to residents of Beijing, Shanghai, and Xiamen, and later expanded, was suspended starting Thursday. Business travelers and organized tour groups will still be allowed to visit Taiwan.
Since Tsai’s election in 2016, the number of Chinese tour groups entering Taiwan has steadily declined. Along with rising tourist numbers from Southeast Asian countries, however, the nation has seen an influx of individual Chinese tourists – an achievement consistently touted by the president, whose assertive confrontation of Chinese influence has gained plaudits ahead of a difficult bid for re-election in January 2020.