Number of expats returning for Double Ten surges: OCAC

Staff reporter, with CNA

Sat, Oct 07, 2017 - Page 4

The number of expatriates returning to Taiwan for Double Ten National Day celebrations has increased by 40 percent compared with last year, the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) said on Thursday.

This year, about 5,300 expatriates are returning to attend the festivities on and around Oct. 10, OCAC Minister Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興) told the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

Last year, the figure was about 3,700.

Wu said that out of the 5,300 expatriates returning to Taiwan, the council has arranged for 2,000 to attend the National Day celebrations in Taichung on Monday.

More than 3,000 of the returnees are to attend the celebrations in Taipei on Tuesday, Wu said.

The “Overseas Compatriot Card” (僑胞卡) is believed to be one of the reasons for the increase in returning expatriates this year.

The card entitles them to special discounts at participating hotels, shops, restaurants and travel agencies, as well as at hospitals that offer self-paid health checkups.

This is the first time that the council has issued such a card. About 50,000 cards are to be given to expatriates in hopes of promoting the nation’s tourism industry and domestic consumer spending.

Even though the discounts provided are not large, they have received positive feedback from returning expatriates, Wu said.

Approximately 1,000 businesses are taking part in the program this year, with the hope that the number will increase to 2,000 by the end of next year, Wu said.

The council was established in 1932, when the Republic of China government was in China and the agency was known as the Overseas Chinese Affairs Council.

Its main objective is to facilitate cultural, educational, economic and information exchanges between Taiwan and overseas Chinese communities, the council said.