Taipei (CNA) – The number of expatriates returning to Taiwan for the Double Ten National Day celebrations next week has increased by 40 percent compared to last year, according to the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC, 僑務委員會) Thursday.

This year, 5,300 expatriates are returning to attend the festivities on and around Oct. 10, Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興), head of the OCAC, told the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

Last year, the figure was around 3,700.

Wu said that out of the current 5,300 expatriates returning to Taiwan, the OCAC has arranged for 2,000 of them to attend the National Day party in Taichung City on Monday.

More than 3,000 of the returnees will attend the celebrations in Taipei on Tuesday, said Wu. The “Overseas Compatriot Card” (僑胞卡) is believed to be one of the reasons for the increase in returning expatriates this year.

The card entitles them to special discounts at participating hotels, shops, restaurants, travel agencies, and hospitals that offer self-paid health checkups.

This is the first time the OCAC has issued such a card. Some 50,000 cards will be given to the expatriates in hopes of promoting the country’s tourism industry and domestic consumption.

Wu said even though the discounts provided by the cards aren’t large, feedback from returning expatriates has been positive.

Approximately 1,000 businesses are taking part in the program this year and it is hoped that by the end of next year, that figure will increase to 2,000, Wu said. 

By Elaine Hou and William Yen