Chinese tourists give Taiwan 91% approval


Chinese tourists who have visited Taiwan since July 4 have given an average approval rating of 91 percent to tourism in Taiwan, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) reported yesterday.
Since the first Chinese tourist group arrived in Taiwan July 4 via direct cross-strait charter flights and the formal launch of the program July 18, a total of 540 groups comprising 14,190 tourists had visited Taiwan as of Sunday, according to the MOTC.

MOTC officials said the number of Chinese tourist arrivals was not as high as originally expected in the first month of the opening, but the number showed a remarkable surge Sept. 19 after relevant officials from the two sides increased communications on the matter, related procedures were simplified and barriers were reduced.

Meanwhile, according to the MOTC, since the first direct weekend cross-Taiwan Strait charter flights were inaugurated July 4, carriers from the two sides had offered 177,000 seats as of Sept. 15, around 150,000 of which were sold, representing 85 percent capacity.

The ministry said that further programs, including increased numbers of passenger charter flights, the opening of direct cross-strait cargo charter flights and the arrangement of new flight routes, are expected to be put into force after officials, carrier representatives and travel agency operators from the two sides conduct further rounds of negotiations.

The Friday-to-Monday passenger charter flights are part of thawing cross-strait relations since President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) May 20 inauguration. Prior to his inauguration, direct cross-strait air travel had been barred for decades out of security concerns.