Council to raise daily quotas on Chinese tourists


TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Mainland Affairs Council said Thursday that it plans to expand quotas for Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan to boost tourism-related sectors on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

One of the moves, the council said, will be to raise the daily quota for independent Chinese visitors to Taiwan — those who do not visit Taiwan as part of a tour group — to above the current 1,000.

The Taiwan Strait Tourism Association and its counterpart in China will also discuss allowing residents from more Chinese cities to travel to Taiwan on their own.

At present, only the residents of 13 major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, can visit Taiwan for pleasure without being part of a tour group.

As for Chinese nationals visiting Taiwan with tour groups, the council said the Tourism Bureau plans to increase the number from the current 4,000 to 5,000 per day this year.

But even as the number of inbound tourists increases, the council will encourage travel agencies to design higher quality itineraries and improve travel safety in Taiwan.

Between July 2008, when Taiwan’s doors were first opened to Chinese tourists, and the end of December 2012, 4.83 million Chinese nationals visited Taiwan and injected an estimated NT$243.3 billion (US$8.2 billion) into the country’s economy, the council said.

But the rapid influx of Chinese visitors and intense competition among Taiwanese travel agencies for their business has undermined tourism quality, the council said.

Government agencies will devise policies in response to the problem, and travel agencies will also be encouraged to show self-discipline on pricing and other tour quality issues, the council said.

The council expressed the hope that both Taiwan and China could solve the problem through negotiations to benefit the tourism sectors on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.