The government will begin to issue multiple-entry visas to independent Chinese travelers who meet certain requirements from Aug. 1, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said yesterday.
Such visas will be given to those who have traveled to Taiwan independently two times or more over the past year or those who hold a multiple-exit Taiwan travel permit issued by the Chinese government, NIA Deputy Director-General Ho Jung-chun (何榮村) said during an annual cross-strait tourism conference held in Taipei.
Chinese were first allowed to visit Taiwan without having to be part of a tour group on June 28, 2011. As of last month, independent Chinese travelers had made 430,000 visits to Taiwan, according to the Tourism Bureau.
Also at the meeting, Shao Qiwei (邵琪偉), head of China’s National Tourism Administration, said cross-strait tourism exchanges and cooperation have achieved very fruitful results over the past five years. China has so far allowed residents of 31 provinces, regions, and cities to visit Taiwan for sightseeing, with 216 travel agencies organizing tour groups to Taiwan, Shao said.
The Tourism Bureau said Chinese have made 5.73 million visits to Taiwan over the past five years, bringing in NT$29.26 billion (US$978.59 million) in tourism revenue. The number of average daily arrivals reached 4,981 last month, up from 328 in 2008.
The rapid rise in Chinese tourist numbers has helped boost the development of Taiwan’s tourism industry, the bureau said. Since 2008, 524 new hotels with a total investment of NT$112.6 billion have been built, and another 453 new hotels are expected by 2016, it added.