100 Chinese couples to marry in Taiwan

Click to follow
The Independent Travel

One hundred Chinese couples are expected to tie the knot in southern Taiwan this autumn in a highly symbolic first group wedding reflecting warmer ties, organisers said Tuesday.

The couples from Xiamen city in southeast China will get married in September in Tainan city, an area traditionally associated with strong anti-China feelings, and spend a week-long honeymoon on the island, the city government said.

"This is a very meaningful event as the first group wedding of Chinese couples in Taiwan... We hope it will help boost Tainan's visibility," mayor Lai Ching-te said in a statement.

Travel between the two sides has boomed since Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in 2008, pledging to boost trade links and tourism. A ban on mainland Chinese travelling to Taiwan was lifted by the two sides that year.

Last year, more than 1.63 million Chinese visited Taiwan - most of them on organised group tours - a rise of 67 percent from a year before, making China the biggest source of visitors to the island, according to Taiwan's government.

Taiwan is set to allow individual Chinese tourists later this month in yet another highly-anticipated boost to its tourism sector.

However, Beijing still considers Taiwan part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the island has ruled itself since 1949 at the end of a civil war.