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Chinese tourists to drop 1/3 by March: TSTA

The number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan is to be cut by about a third after March 20th, said the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (TSTA) Friday, aft...

Chinese tourists to drop 1/3 by March: TSTA

The number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan is to be cut by about a third after March 20th, said the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (TSTA) Friday, aft...

The number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan is to be cut by about a third after March 20th, said the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (TSTA) Friday, after they received reports from local travel agencies saying that they have been notified with such information from their Chinese counterparts.

Lee Chia-bin, head of the TSTA, said today that the cut in tourists number seems to be the real deal, as more and more local agencies have come to report about their Chinese counterparts’ decision to lower the number of Taiwan-bound tour groups. However, given there is no official notification from the Beijing government, the authenticity of such information remains to be verified.

It is also possible that there will be no such notification from Beijing, said Lee, since it could set a precedent when the number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan halved in the weeks before the presidential and legislative elections as Beijing discouraged such visits.

The TSTA said not only is the number of tour groups to be lowered by one third, the cities permitted to travel independently will be limited to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Xiamen, as opposed to the original plan to extend the free independent travel program to residents of 13 cities.

Beijing regulates the number of Chinese tourists traveling to Taiwan by dividing them into two categories, those traveling with tour groups and independent travelers. The bureau’s quota for each category is 5,000 people per day.

Local travel agencies have expressed their concerns over the economic impact of such decline. Lee, on the other hand, said the TSTA has sought to verify the authenticity of such information with its Chinese counterpart the Cross-Strait Tourism Association (CSTA). In the meantime, the daily quota for individual visitors from Shanghai and its peripheral cities remains as usual, so does the operation of cross-strait flights.