The number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan is likely to surge with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election, a tourism insider said yesterday.
Roget Hsu (許高慶), secretary-general of Travel Agent Association of ROC, Taiwan (中華民國旅行商業同業公會全國聯合會), said the industry was estimating an influx of 2 million Chinese tourists this year, as the ties between Taiwan and China would continue to improve during Ma’s second term.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan last year was about 1.79 million, Tourism Bureau statistics show.
With the new round of talks on cross-strait tourism exchanges expected to begin shortly after the Lunar New Year holiday, Hsu said, more travel incentives were expected.
The free independent travel (FIT) program, which was launched in June last year, allows up to 500 Chinese from Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen to visit Taiwan per day.
Although the initial results of the program were not satisfactory, with fewer than 20 FITs arriving per day in the first two months, Hsu said the effects were likely to become clearer later this year.
His view was supported by the National Immigration Agency’s statistics last month, which said the number of FITs had jumped significantly in the latter half of last year.
According to its data, the number of FITs arriving in October was 6,679 and 6,729 in November.