Taipei – Taiwan has more than doubled its quota for Chinese tourists and plans to further raise the limit to cope with the increased number of Chinese tour groups, a newspaper reported Monday.
The Taipei Times quoted Premier Liu Chao-shiuan as saying that the adjustment was necessary because the number of Chinese tourists could hit 7,000 people per day by next month.
Liu noted that the number of tourists exceeded 4,000 people per day last week so the National Immigration Agency raised the daily quota from 3,000 to 7,200 and might further raise it.
The new quota took effect Monday.
Taiwan opened its doors to Chinese tour groups on July 4 when it launched weekend charter flights with China as part of reconciliation efforts by President Ma Ying-jeou, who took office in May.
The number of Chinese tourists increased when Taipei and Beijing expanded the weekend charter flights to daily charter flights on December 15.
Taiwan put the cap of 3,000 on the daily arrivals of Chinese tourists because of a shortage of hotels and because the island, which still regards China as its political rival, screens the Chinese tourists’ backgrounds before issuing them entry permits.
When Ma approved letting Chinese tourists visit Taiwan, he hoped Taipei would gradually increase the daily quota to 10,000 in a couple of years.
Ma said he hopes the Chinese tourists would help boost Taiwan’s slow-growing tourism industry.
In 2008, Taiwan received 3.8 million foreign visitors, short of its target of 4 million.