Not a single independent tourist from China has visited Penghu, a week after the inception of a free independent traveler (FIT) program for Taiwan’s outlying islands.
“It might be just a short-term phenomenon in the initial stage, and we hope that more independent Chinese travelers will visit the islands,” Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said.
The government launched the FIT program for Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu on July 29, allowing residents from China’s Fujian Province to sightsee independently on the islands.
However, contrary to expectations, the number of such travelers to these destinations has been very small.
Only 280 tourists from Fujian Province have visited Kinmen and 111 have traveled to Matsu, but none have visited Penghu, the council said.
Chinese visitors to the islands under the FIT program cannot visit Taiwan proper.
The number of Chinese visiting Taiwan proper on the FIT program, which began on June 28, has also fallen far short of the government’s expectations.
Up to 500 Chinese tourists per day can enter Taiwan proper under the FIT program, but only 852 have come so far.
Taiwan began allowing Chinese tour groups to visit in mid-2008, with a daily ceiling of 3,000.
The government came up with the FIT program with the aim of providing a fresh stimulus to the economy and providing more benefits to the retail sector and small businesses around the country.