Thu, Mar 19, 2015 - Page 4 News List

FIT program adds 11 new Chinese cities of origin

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Tourism Bureau yesterday said 11 more Chinese cities have been added to the free independent travelers (FIT) program after negotiations between Taipei and Beijing: Haiko, Hohhot, Lanzhou, Yinchuan, Changzhou, Zhoushan, Huizhou, Weihai, Lonyan, Guilin and Xuzhou.

The program, which began in June 2011, includes residents from a limited number of Chinese cities.

With the latest expansion, 47 Chinese cities are in the program.

Bureau statistics showed that the number of independent Chinese travelers topped 2.19 million between June 2011 and last month. About 1.18 million arrived last year, growing by 127 percent compared with 2013.

The average number of such travelers per day has grown from 3,251 people last year to 4,554 between January and last month.

The bureau said that the government maintains the entry permit quota at 4,000 per day for independent Chinese travelers, even though more cities have joined the program. It also said that it would evaluate the market situation before considering raising the quota.

The bureau emphasized that the program allows Chinese tourists to embark on self-arranged tours in different regions of Taiwan, bringing them closer to the lives of ordinary people and helping them experience the culture and customs of the nation.

To attract more independent travelers from China, the bureau has planned to expand tourism campaigns via its offices in Beijing and Shanghai.

The campaigns are to highlight in-depth tours around Taiwan that would tap into the markets of business and youth travelers, such as cultural tours or bike tours.

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