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DPP candidate: Quotas for Chinese tourists won't be cut if elected

2015/09/10 17:16:25

Taipei, Sept. 10 (CNA) Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), chairwoman and presidential candidate of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said Thursday that she will not lower the quotas for Chinese tourists allowed to enter Taiwan if she is elected in the 2016 presidential election.

She pledged to increase the number of Chinese free independent travelers and high-quality tour groups allowed into the country as a replacment for low-cost tours, as a way to improve the quality of the travel experience.

"Many people think the DPP does not welcome Chinese tourists. This is definitely not true," Tsai told reporters while attending a tourism industry summit held in Taipei.

She pointed out that the foundation for the "mini-three links" was laid when she was chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council under the DPP administration, and it was also when the DPP was in power that Taiwan began the policy of opening to Chinese tourists.

Besides numbers, Tsai said she cares more about the quality of travel experienced by Chinese nationals who come to Taiwan.

Other important issues also include whether Taiwanese travel agents and businesses can make reasonable profits and whether the quality of life of local people is affected, she said.

She said that because many Chinese nationals who arrive in Taiwan as part of low-cost tour groups that use the same routes and visit the same attractions, popular tourist sites are often very crowded and the tourists are not able to explore the places in depth.

The government's poor management and planning is largely to blame for the chaotic situation in the tourism market in recent years, she went on.

To maintain the quality of travel, the tourist routes should be properly adjusted to ease crowding, and the government should also conduct analysis and evaluation as a way to improve its tourism policy, she said.

Meanwhile that day, the ruling Kuomintang's presidential candidate, Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), took part in a discussion with representatives of the tourism industry in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan.

Hung said it would not be a problem to increase the number of Chinese tourists allowed into Taiwan, but she said it is important to upgrade the quality of accommodation, tour bus safety and other services.

Over the past seven years, visitor arrivals to Taiwan increased by 2.5 times, reaching 9.91 million people in 2014, with tourism revenue rising from NT$187.1 billion (US$5.77 billion) to NT$437 billion, Hung said.

Also that day, Yang Ruey-tzhong (楊瑞宗), director of the Beijing Office of the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association, predicted that the number of Chinese nationals traveling to Taiwan will peak during China's upcoming National Day holiday, which runs Oct. 1-7.

This is because the daily limit of free independent Chinese travelers allowed into Taiwan will be increased from 4,000 people to 5,000 people from Sept. 21, he said.

The daily quota of Chinese tourists entering Taiwan via the outlying islands of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu has already been increased from 500 people to 1,000 from Sept. 1.

(By Sophia Yeh, Tseng Ying-yu, Lawrence Chiu and Y.F. Low)