Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications‘ Tourism Bureau said yesterday that it will lift the daily quota for mainland Chinese individual visitors from 3,000 to 4,000 in April at the earliest.

Back in 2011 when Taiwan first allowed individual visitors from mainland China to visit the island, the ceiling was 500 people and only allowed tourists who reside in Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen as individuals. There are no limitations set for visitors traveling in tour package groups.

Currently Taiwan welcomes people from 26 cities in China with a total of 3,000 visitors allowed to enter the country per day.

According to the National Immigration Agency‘s (NIA) latest statistics, 90 per cent of Chinese tourists come from Beijing and Shanghai.

The Tourism Bureau official Lai Ping-jung said both sides of the strait have reached a consensus on raising the daily quota ceiling for individual visitors to 4,000, noting that as for the issue of allowing people from more cities, a negotiation will be held in late February to discuss the matter. Lai added that the Taiwan government hopes to increase the number of eligible cities to 15, including Harbin, Dalian, Wuxi and Nanchang.

The bureau said that in 2013 over 520,000 Chinese tourists traveled to Taiwan, and just this January over 84,000 Chinese have arrived on the island. The bureau went on to say that between February 1 and February 5, over 26,000 Chinese individual visitors visited Taiwan.

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The NIA said between January 29 and February 4 a total of 850,323 people arrived and left Taiwan according to statistics, which marks an increase of 68,390 people compared with the same period from last year.

(c)2014 the Asia News Network (Hamburg, Germany). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Photo Credit: Tourists walk around the Taiwanese island of Formosa in November 2013. Connie Ma / Flickr