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Tourism Bureau has no intention to raise quota for China tour groups

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said yesterday that the Tourism Bureau will not lift the daily quota for mainland Chinese group tourists, which is currently 5,000 individuals, to visit Taiwan each day since it is more important to advance the quality of tourism at the present stage.

As the Tourism Bureau has decided to retain the quota for only 5,000 mainland Chinese group travelers a day, the supply of the travel certificates is not meeting the demand from those who wish to visit Taiwan. As a result, many tour agencies have been demanding that the Tourism Bureau increase the number of visitors allowed.

Yeh pointed out that although the Tourism Bureau does want to encourage more high-quality mainland Chinese tour groups to visit Taiwan, the bureau currently has no intention of raising the quota.

The reason for the bureau's stance, according to Yeh, is to deal with the issue of tour agencies launching “zero-charged shopping tours,” which may negatively impact the local tourist industry. Yeh also said that it is hard for the bureau to investigate these unlawful acts as there are 400 tour agencies in Taiwan that receive mainland Chinese travelers.

Although it may be hard for the bureau to deal with the issue, Yeh also suggested a possible solution whereby the bureau will consider issuing travel certificates for high-quality tour groups as a reward for their quality and adherence to regulations, hoping to attract tour agencies to launch better tourist packages. The high-quality packages including less shopping plans and more stays in starred hotels.

Yeh also pointed out that most of the tours in Taiwan focus on traveling around the island in eight days. However, he thinks that there should be a greater variety of options. For example, in-depth tours could allow people to spend more time in one place.

In addition, Yeh also said that the bureau may increase the quota for individual mainland Chinese visitors in the future, which is currently 4,000 people a day.

Tourists Reach 4.82 million

According to statistics from the Tourism Bureau, the total number of visitors for the first half of this year has already reached 4.82 million people, an increase of 26 percent compared to last year.

Over half of the visitors who came to Taiwan from January to June are from Asia. Among them, tourists from South Korea, the Philippines and mainland China have increased the most since last year. In addition, there are also more tourists from mainland China than the bureau had anticipated last year.

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