Taipei, April 13 (CNA) Taiwan has decided to expand its Free Independent Traveler program for Chinese nationals with effect from late April to allow visits by individual tourists from other Chinese cities besides Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, the National Immigration Agency said Friday.
Starting April 28, Chinese tourists from Tienjin, Chongqing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Chengdu will be allowed to make independent trips to Taiwan, which means they will no longer be required to join a tour group, the agency said.
The independent traveler program for Chinese nationals was launched last year, starting with Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. By the end of this year, it is expected to extend to Jinan, Xian, Fuzhou and Shenzhen cities, according to the agency.
As part of Taiwan's broader efforts to increase tourism from China, the daily quota of independent Chinese visitors will also be doubled to 1,000 with effect from April 28, the immigration agency said.
Since the independent traveler program was launched last June, 72,878 Chinese backpackers have applied to visit Taiwan, an average of 359 per day, according to the agency's statistics.
The statistics also show a record 600 applications per day since March for individual visits to Taiwan by Chinese tourists.
(By Johnson Sun and Elizabeth Hsu)