Travel agents ask for higher quota of Chinese tourists

SERVICE QUALITY::They also opposed a ministry proposal to strictly limit the number of Chinese arrivals to 4,000 per day during peak travel periods

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 - Page 3

Tourism industry representatives yesterday asked the government to raise the cap on the number of entry permits issued for Chinese tourists per day, adding that they opposed a government proposal to strictly enforce a daily quota of 4,000 Chinese tourists to maintain tourism service quality.

Currently, Chinese tourists arriving in tour groups are capped at 4,000 people per day, while those arriving as free independent travelers (FIT) are capped at 1,000.

Earlier this month, Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said that the nation frequently sees an influx of Chinese tourists around Labor Day (May 1) or China’s National Day (Oct. 1). To avoid abnormal market practices and ensure quality service, the ministry has proposed implementing a quota system to regulate the number of Chinese tourists allowed to enter on those days.

However, travel agents opposed the proposal. Many of them said at a seminar yesterday that no other country in the world uses such a system to limit the entry of tourists from a certain country.

What the government should do is divert the traffic of Chinese tourists evenly around the country, they said, adding that counties like Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli and Yilan have yet to benefit from the rising number of Chinese tourists.

In response, the Tourism Bureau said it had proposed raising the cap from 4,000 Chinese tourists to 5,000 per day, adding that the number of entry permits issued to Chinese tourists would be capped at 7,300 per working day.

The cap for Chinese FITs would also be raised from 1,000 to 2,000 per day.

Those offering quality tour services would be placed on a priority list, the bureau said.

The bureau added that it would still monitor the arrival of Chinese tourists during peak travel periods.

According to the bureau, about 2.58 million Chinese tourists visited the nation last year. Approximately 1.78 million of them traveled with tour groups, up 46 percent from the previous year.