Chinese FITS May Start Visiting Taiwan in Early June

Chinese free independent travelers (FITs)with proper guarantee will be able to start visiting Taiwan from early June, or July 1 at the latest, said Premier Wu Den-yih yesterday (April 7).

The remark shows that Taiwan has abandoned the original requirement of collecting deposit from Chinese FITs, thereby removing a major difference between Taiwan and mainland China on the issue.

Wu made the revelation during a meeting with representatives of small and medium enterprises, saying that Taiwan and mainland China can complete the talk on the opening of Chinese FITs to visit Taiwan in the first half this year, thanks to utmost sincerity manifested by both sides. “The policy may hit the road on July 1 or even earlier,” said Wu.

The premier also pointed out that daily quota for Chinese group travelers has been raised to 4,000, from 3,000 previously, starting this year. In addition, he already instructed Mao Chi-kuo, minister of transportation and communications, to raise the target for foreign tourist arrivals this year to 7 million person/trips, instead of the original target of 6.5 million, which he deemed to be too conservative. That compares with 5.56 million of foreign tourist arrivals last year.

For Chinese FITs, Taiwan and mainland China are reportedly scheduled to settle the contents of their agreement in mid-April. According to the preliminary plan of the National Immigration Agency, under the Ministry of Interior, in the case of overstay on the part of Chinese FITs, guarantors will be liable to the payment of repatriation and other related costs.

Visits by Chinese FITs will be opened in a gradual manner. Initially, they will be limited to residents of Shanghai, Beijing, and a number of other first-tier Chinese cities, with daily quota set at 500. They will be allowed a maximum stay of 15 days.

(by Philip Liu)

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