Taipei – Beginning on January 1, 2011, the number of Chinese tourists allowed to enter Taiwan each day will increase by 1,000 to 4,000, according to an agreement reached between the two sides Tuesday.
The increase is part of the agreements sealed in the sixth round of meetings between top negotiators from Taiwan and China since June 2008. The current talks are being held at Grand Hotel in Taipei.
Formal talks between the negotiators — Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) , and Chen Yunlin, president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) — began Tuesday.
The two sides also agreed to move quickly on negotiations on Taiwan’s plan to allow visits by individual Chinese travelers, saying the plan would be implemented as soon as there is an appropriate date next year.
At a press conference, Chiang said the plan for individual Chinese tourists to visit designated locations would likely materialize around June.
The original target date was around the Lantern Festival on February 17, but there was not enough time for preparations, he said.
With the approach of lunar New Year holidays in early February, both sides agreed to start negotiations in the next few days on a proposal to increase the number of cross-strait flights.
The decision to increase the daily number of Chinese tourists is applauded by local tour operators, some of whom call for a review in six months leading to a further increase.
Hsu Kao-ching, secretary general of the Travel Agent Association of Taiwan, said travel agencies had hoped for the daily quota to be expanded to 5,000.
Lee Kuang-tsai of the Taipei-based Lion Travel Service Co. said, however, after taking into consideration the current capacity of domestic hotels and tour buses, he thinks the ceiling of 4,000 Chinese tourist visits per day is appropriate.