Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau said on Jan. 20 that the daily quota for Chinese visitors under the Free Independent Traveler (FIT) program will likely be raised to 5,000 from the current 4,000 before the Lantern Festival that will fall on March 5 this year.
“The bureau has urged authorities across the Taiwan Strait to increase the quote because of greater demand from Chinese visitors as independent individuals, instead of following a tour group,” said David Hsieh (謝謂君),director-general for the bureau.
The Taiwan Tourism Association (TTA) quoted its latest statistics and said that approximately 1.17 million of more than 3 million Chinese visitors who came to Taiwan last year carried out their trips under the FIT program. TTA Chairwoman Janice Lai (賴瑟珍) said she was hoping that more foreign tourists, Chinese visitors especially, could have the opportunity to visit this year’s Lantern Festival.
In response, Hsieh said that the government would be glad to see more Chinese visitors in Taiwan via the FIT program. Hsieh said that the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association and China’s Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange, government bodies across the Strait that negotiate tourism issues that concerns Chinese visitors, will continue to discuss the possibility of raising the quota.
Statistics compiled by the Tourism Bureau showed that the total daily amount of Chinese individual visitors averaged between 3,700 and 3,900 last year, and even exceeded 4,000 in November and December.
“The figure for January could also top 4,000,” Hsieh said.
The FIT program was launched in June 2011. Those Chinese citizens from 36 cities can visit Taiwan under the program. Hsieh said that Taiwan and China are also likely to organize talks around the Lunar New Year holidays regarding potential proposals to add another 10 cities to the FIT program.