Sat, Jul 18, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Tourism Bureau chief Lai heads to Beijing for meetings

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Tourism Bureau Director-General Janice Lai (賴瑟珍) left for Beijing yesterday for meetings with Chinese officials to discuss problems arising from the opening of Taiwan to Chinese tourists and upgrading cross-strait travel.

Traveling as the head of a delegation of tourism officials and travel agency executives, Lai said prior to her departure that she would call at major Chinese agencies in charge of Taiwan affairs and cross-strait travel services during her visit.

Taiwan relaxed restrictions on Chinese tourists on July 4, last year. Statistics show that Chinese citizens have since made 660,000 visits to Taiwan, including 373,000 sightseeing trips. The number of visits by Chinese tourists during the first year of the opening represented an average of 1,022 people per day, far lower than the daily maximum quota of 3,000 set by Taiwan.

Asked whether the daily quota would be cut or further expanded, Lai said the number was not a core concern.

She said that to the best of her understanding, Chinese authorities and tour operators were most concerned with Taiwan’s capacity to accommodate Chinese tourists and whether the current number of cross-strait flights were enough to meet demand.

Lai, who headed a group of Taiwanese travel agency executives on a visit to China for the first time last October in her capacity as chairwoman of the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association, said this time she would meet with Cross-Strait Tourism Association (CSTA) president Shao Qiwei (邵琪偉), who concurrently serves as director of China’s National Tourism Administration, to exchange views on measures to promote growth in cross-strait travel.

Lai also said her delegation would work on designing better travel packages to avoid overcrowding at major Taiwanese tourist spots.

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