From March 1, tour groups planning to visit Alishan Forest Park must make online reservations, the Chiayi Forest District Office said over the weekend.
The office said that since the government lifted travel restrictions on cross-strait tourism in 2008, Alishan Forest Park has become a popular tourist attraction for Chinese tourists. Visitor numbers have steadily increased in recent years, with the number topping 2 million last year.
The office said that group travelers usually enter the park in the morning and leave in the afternoon. This type of visit put strain on the park’s infrastructure and the environment in general.
To ease the impact of visitors and motor vehicles, the office has decided to take the advice of the Tourism Bureau and other tourism experts and require visitors travelling to the park in groups to make reservations.
The office said it would cap the number of group visitors at 6,000 per day.
There would be a trial period for the new regulation from today until Feb. 28, it added.
Starting on March 1, tour groups arriving by bus must make online reservations to enter the park prior to their arrival date.
Each tour bus is required to have an entry number.
The leader or tour guide must first present proof of reservation and identification documents for all the passengers aboard the bus at the entrance of the park before they are allowed to purchase entrance tickets.
Group visitors can apply to enter the park before midday or after midday.
Group visitors entering the park before noon would be capped at 3,500 a day, while 2,500 would be allowed to enter after midday.
The office said that reservations can be made three months prior to the date of the arrival.
The system will stop taking reservations once the daily quota is met.
The system would only accept reservations if there are still spots available on the day that the tour group intends to visit, the office said.
Meanwhile, a group must enter the park at the time specified when they booked.
It cannot enter the forest park on another day or at another time.