Fri, Feb 07, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Quota for Chinese FITs could be increased again

WAITING ON NEGOTIATORS:A Tourism Bureau official said Taiwan will propose making the residents of 15 more cities eligible for the independent traveler program

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The daily quota for free and independent (FIT) travelers from China could be raised to 4,000 after the next round of negotiations among tourism officials across the Taiwan Strait, Tourism Bureau officials said yesterday.

Hotel, travel and training division director Lai Ping-jung (賴炳榮) said the next negotiations are scheduled to take place in Taipei, but the dates have not been finalized.

The two most important topics on the agenda would be adding more Chinese cities to the FIT program and adjusting the daily FIT quota.

At present, China only allows residents of 26 cities to visit Taiwan through the FIT program, and Taiwan has capped the daily limit for issuing entry permits to Chinese FITs at 3,000.

“We will propose adding 15 more cities to the list, including Harbin, Dalian, Guiyang, Yantai, Wuxi, Changzhou, Nanchang, Xuzhou and Foshan,” Lai said. “Each city would be evaluated based on several factors, including the availability of direct flights to that city as well as the city’s GDP, spending per capita, population and travelers per year.”

The Chinese FIT program was launched on June 22, 2011, with residents of three cities eligible to apply — Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen — though the first tourists to enter via the program did not arrive until June 28.

The program has gradually been expanded to 26 Chinese cities, while the daily quota has risen from 500 at the start to 3,000.

Though more cities are now included in the program, about 90 percent of Chinese FITs are residents of Shanghai and Beijing, Lai said.

Tourism Bureau statistics show that approximately 520,000 Chinese tourists have entered the country through the FIT program last year, an average of 1,433 per day.

A total of 84,000 Chinese FITs entered the country last month, an average of 2,721 per day, the statistics show.

About 26,800 Chinese FITs have arrived since the beginning this month, or an average of 5,327 per day, the statistics show.

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