More solo Chinese tourists invited to offset lack of tours


Sat, Nov 30, 2013 - Page 14

Taiwan is to allow more solo Chinese tourists to visit to offset a fall in the number of group arrivals after Beijing outlawed forced shopping trips, which resulted in operators raising the prices of package tours, officials said yesterday.

From tomorrow the quota for individual travelers is being raised by 1,000 to 3,000 a day, the government said in a statement after the Cabinet approved the move on Thursday. The quota for group tour members remains unchanged at 5,000 a day.

Tourism officials said the move would help reduce the impact of China’s first tourism law, which came into effect on Oct. 1.

China enacted the law to curb unhealthy industry practices, such as taking tour groups on forced shopping trips, which subsidized package prices, but led to unfair competition. Tour operators in China have increased their prices as a result.

According to figures released by the Tourism Bureau, the number of Chinese arrivals in group tours last month plunged 33 percent from a year ago to 3,043 a day, followed by another 24 percent year-on-year fall this month.

However, overall Taiwan has seen a dramatic influx of visitors from China since the government lifted a ban on Chinese tour groups in 2008 and allowed in solo tourists in mid-2011.

A record 2.6 million Chinese nationals visited Taiwan last year, up 45 percent from 2011.

China has replaced Japan to become the biggest source of visitors to Taiwan, with Chinese tourists spending more than NT$85.7 billion (US$2.9 billion) last year, government data showed.