Mon, May 02, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Free independent travelers continue arriving from Japan

SETTING OUT ALONE:Although some package tour groups canceled their trips after the March 11 disasters, independent traveler numbers increased

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

The devastation wrought by the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March appears to have had little effect on Japanese free independent travelers (FIT) visiting Taiwan, the Tourism Bureau said yesterday.

Statistics from the bureau showed that the number of FITs rose nearly 2 percent in March compared with same time period year. A total of 114,352 Japanese tourists visited Taiwan in March, an increase of 1.89 percent over the same period last year.

While some package tour groups canceled their visit to Taiwan because of the atmosphere of self-restraint that followed the earthquake, the number of FITs nevertheless continued to grow, the bureau said.

A total of 17 charter flights were scheduled to arrive in Taiwan from Japan between March 11 and Saturday last week, bringing a total of 2,558 Japanese tourists, it said.

Between Saturday last week and Friday, which is known as “Golden Week” in Japan, 300 Japanese tourists were expected to arrive at the Taichung Ching Chuang Kang Airport on three charter flights directly from Kochi and Tokushima prefectures on Shikoku Island and Toyoma Prefecture on Hongshu Island.

They are first scheduled to visit tourist attractions in the central parts of the nation first, including the Fengchia Night Market in Greater Taichung, Sun Moon Lake and the Puli Winery (埔里酒廠) before traveling to Tamsui, the National Palace Museum, Jiufen and other scenic spots.

To greet the Japanese visitors, the Greater Taichung Government said it would give each of them a box of sun cake pastries as a gift.

The bureau has raised NT$20 million (US$698,000) to support the Japan Association of Travel Agents and help victims in northeastern Japan.

Taiwanese hoteliers have also been encouraged to donate rooms to victims of the disasters while they are traveling in Taiwan.

Taiwan tops the list of countries in terms of total donations to Japan, reaching NT$5.1 billion as of April 21.

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