Study Buddy (Explorer): Hong Kong tour groups leave for Taiwan after it reopened to city under eased Covid rules

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  • Each week, this page presents an interesting story that we have adjusted to be more accessible for all English learners
  • After more than 2 years of Covid-19 restrictions, the self-ruled island has reopened to travellers from Hong Kong and Macau
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Visitors can stay in Taiwan for 15 days at most and must register through travel agencies recognised by local authorities. Photo: Yik Yeung-man

Content provided by British Council

Read the following text, and answer questions 1-9 below:

[1] Early this month, Hongkongers gathered at the city’s airport with some fanfare. They were part of the first batch of people from Hong Kong to head to Taiwan under tour groups. The self-ruled island is finally reopening to travellers after more than two years of Covid-19 restrictions.

[2] Around 20 passengers were seen at check-in counters at the airport at 10.30am, three hours before their flight. Representatives from two tour agencies and Taiwanese carrier EVA Air handed out freebies for passengers to commemorate the trip.

[3] “We’re very excited to be back to Taiwan,” said Ramy Yu, who joined a Wing On tour group with her sister, Amanda. They had visited the island once and were looking for a quick getaway from Hong Kong. The sisters are travelling for the first time out of the city since the pandemic started. Yu said she looked forward the most to dipping in the hot springs of Yilan county.

[4] Taiwan reopened to travellers from Hong Kong and Macau on November 7, but November 18’s flight marked the first organised tour groups to the island. Visitors must travel in groups of between five and 40 people and can stay in Taiwan for 15 days at most. They must register through travel agencies recognised by the Taiwan authorities.

[5] For other passengers, this trip means more than just an enjoyable vacation away from Hong Kong. The Chois, an elderly couple, signed up for the tour immediately after learning about the border relaxation. They have not seen their son, who migrated to Taiwan with his family, since the pandemic started.

[6] “I miss my grandson so much. Joining the tour was the only way we could see them. We have been apart for three years,” said Mrs Choi, 70, who is travelling with her 78-year-old husband. Their five-day tour organised by Wing On Travel costs HK$3,899 and includes visits to Jiufen, Shilin night market in Taipei and a hot spring hotel in Yilan county.

[7] “We hope to resume pre-pandemic levels of eight to nine daily flights between Taiwan and Hong Kong as soon as possible,” said Stone Chen Shui-feng, general manager of the Hong Kong branch of EVA Air. The airline has increased the number of daily flights from one to three in December. Despite challenges such as rising oil prices, Chen said he remained hopeful about the increase in passenger numbers as pandemic control measures eased in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Source: South China Morning Post, November 18

Questions

1. In paragraphs 1 and 2, where were the passengers travelling from?

2. According to paragraph 2, Taiwan closed its borders for more than two years ...
A. as its airport was under repair.
B. due to a lack of travellers.
C. because of Covid-19 travel restrictions.
D. none of the above

3. Find a word in paragraph 2 that means “to remind people of a special event”.

4. Decide whether the following statements are True, False or the information is Not Given in paragraphs 3 and 4. Blacken ONE circle only for each statement. (4 marks)
(i) Ramy Yu and her sister are staying in Taiwan for two weeks.
(ii) Visitors travelling in tour groups are not allowed to stay for more than three weeks.
(iii) There is no limit on the number of travellers in each tour group.
(iv) Yu and her sister joined a tour group that only has a total of five tourists.

5. What is the main reason mentioned in paragraph 5 explaining why the Chois signed up for a group tour to Taiwan?

6. In paragraph 6, what attractions will the Chois get to visit?
A. a hot spring hotel
B. Shilin night market
C. Jiufen
D. all of the above

7. How long will the Chois be in Taiwan?

8. How many flights were scheduled every day before the Covid-19 pandemic began according to paragraph 7?

9. What is ONE factor mentioned in paragraph 7 that might affect EVA Air’s plans to increase its number of daily flights?

For the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began, Hongkongers are flying to Taiwan with tour groups. Photo: Yik Yeung-man

Answers

1. Hong Kong
2. C
3. commemorate
4. (i) NG; (ii) T; (iii) F; (iv) NG
5. to visit their family members / to visit their son who migrated to Taiwan with his family (any one)
6. D
7. five days
8. between eight and nine flights
9. rising oil prices

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