Fri, Jun 24, 2011 - Page 2 News List

First FITs set to arrive in Taiwan on Tuesday: NIA

Staff Writer, with CNA

Tourists board a bus operated by a travel company in Taipei yesterday. Tour operators are preparing new tours for independent Chinese tourists.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

On the first day of opening up to independent Chinese tourists on Wednesday, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said it had processed 41 applications submitted by local travel agents.

The visitors, all scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, will be able to obtain their travel documents today, NIA officials said.

Meanwhile, Roget Hsu (許高慶), secretary-general of the Travel Agent Association of the Republic of China, Taiwan, said another 50 applications had been received.

“We now have almost 300 people waiting for their applications to be processed,” he said.

Hsu said the application procedure had been smooth so far, although some Chinese tourists were still confused about the travel safety policy. The regulations stipulate that each independent Chinese tourist must purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of NT$2 million (US$69,900).

The free independent travelers (FITs) program allows Chinese tourists to visit without having to be part of a tourist group with a guide.

In related news, 100 Chinese couples are expected to tie the knot in southern Taiwan this autumn, organizers of the event said.

The couples from Xiamen, Fujian Province, will get married in September in Greater Tainan, an area traditionally associated with strong pro-independence feelings, and spend a week-long honeymoon in Taiwan, the Greater Tainan City Government said.

“This is a very meaningful event — the first group wedding of Chinese couples in Taiwan ... We hope it will help boost Tainan’s visibility,” Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) said in a statement.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

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