Fri, Jun 13, 2008 - Page 2 News List

PRC tourists may bring NT$60bn per year: agents

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The tourism industry expects the launch of cross-strait weekend charter flights and the opening of Taiwan to more Chinese tourists to generate NT$60 billion (US$1.9 billion) in annual revenues for the sector.

Travel Agent Association (TAA) chairman Yao Ta-kuang (姚大光) said the industry had high hopes that the talks led by Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and his Chinese counterpart Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), head of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), would bring good news for the industry.

“We are optimistic about the weekend charter flights and more Chinese tourists in Taiwan and we are fully prepared,” Yao said before attending a forum on attracting Chinese tourists at Sunworld Dynasty Hotel in Taipei.

The meeting between Chiang and Chen in Beijing yesterday confirmed weekend charter flights and a higher tourist quota starting next month, which was one of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) campaign promises.

Ma promised to allow 3,000 Chinese tourists per day in the initial stages, with the number increasing to 10,000 per day within four years.

Yao said that more than 50 million Chinese travel abroad each year and the tourism industry could reasonably expect up to 3 million Chinese tourists per year to visit Taiwan in the near future.

Lee Yong-ping (李永萍), commissioner of Taipei City’s Cultural Department, said the Taipei City Government hoped to turn Taipei into “the coolest city in Asia” through urban renewal projects aimed at beautifying the city and promoting cultural tourism.

Separately, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) promised yesterday to discuss the issue of tourism with Chinese officials when he travels to Shanghai on June 23.

“We not only want to attract Chinese tourists to Taiwan, we want to attract them to Taipei City,” he said at Taipei City Hall.

The city government said it would use a significant portion of the NT$6.6 billion subsidy allocated by the Cabinet for improving night markets, Lee said.

The renovation would improve the look of night markets and provide better public toilets and signage, she said.

Other attractions, including the National Palace Museum and Ximending shopping area, will be improved with cultural elements, including artwork, Lee said.

Renovation on the Ziqiang Tunnel (自強隧道) near the National Palace Museum will turn it into public art next year, Lee said, with calligraphy on the ceiling and paintings along the walls.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top