The Tourism Bureau yesterday said the number of entry permits issued to Chinese tourists will be capped at 7,000 per day, adding that the new policy could take effect in May following cross-strait negotiations at the end of this month.
However, the bureau said that Taiwan and China would discuss expanding the free independent traveler (FIT) program and increasing the number of Chinese cities from which residents are allowed to come to Taiwan under FIT status.
Of the daily quota, 5,000 entry permits will be for Chinese tourists arriving with tour groups, while 2,000 are to be designated to those arriving under the FIT program.
Bureau Director-General David Hsieh (謝謂君) said the bureau would also start taking specific measures to regulate the quality of the group tours available to Chinese tourists.
Starting in April, travel agencies can only arrange high-end shopping tours once during a trip if the tour group travels exclusively around the west coast.
The limitation does not apply to shopping tours for the nation’s agricultural or other food products.
Travel agencies can arrange two high-end shopping tours if the group visits both the east and west coasts, he added.
Starting next month, at least half of the hotels in which groups stay must be starred hotels.
Hsieh said Chinese tour groups must not travel more than 250km per day, adding that a tour can join a priority list for approval if it fulfills quality standards set by the bureau.
In related news, Amway China announced yesterday that 12,000 of its employees from 19 Chinese cities would visit Taiwan next month on incentive tours offered by the company, with the first of the five batches scheduled to arrive on March 12.
The company said it has arranged a five-day tour in Taiwan for the employees, with all of them spending the nights in five-star hotels in Taipei during this period of time. They are allowed to choose one long-distance trip and one short-distance trip and have options to visit attractions in Hualien, Greater Kaoshiung, Taoyuan and New Taipei City (新北市).
The company drew media attention four years ago when it brought more than 10,000 of its employees to Taiwan through cruise ships.