Mainland tourists to Taiwan to exceed 30,000 during holidays

Updated: 2010-09-30 15:48
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TAIPEI - More than 30,000 Chinese mainland tourists are expected to travel to Taiwan from Sept 29 to Oct 8, which covers the week-long National Day holidays ending on Oct 7.

This almost doubles the figure of the same period of last year, said the Taiwan's Travel Agent Association Thursday.

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However, the association's secretary-general Hsu Kao-ching said the numbers fell well short of expectations.

Hsu said some mainlanders who ordinarily would have taken a holiday to the island were going to the Shanghai World Expo instead.

In addition, tight demand for flights across the Taiwan Strait had squeezed some tourists out, he said.

Fan Liqing, spokeswoman of Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said at a press conference on Wednesday that the mainland's aviation authority had approved 36 new cross-Straits flights of Taiwan airlines to meet the growing demand from both sides of the strait, including 14 flights to Shanghai, four to Beijing, four to Shenzhen, 11 to Xiamen and Fuzhou in Fujian province, two to Qingdao and one to Changsha.

About 12,000 mainland tourists traveled to Taiwan during the National Day holiday last year, with an estimated spending of about 760 million New Taiwan dollars ($24.32 million), figures from the local tourism bureau showed.

In July 2008, Taiwan allowed mainland tourists to visit the island on package tours with a stay of up to 15 days. A total of 600,000 mainlanders visited Taiwan last year, and this year's figure is expected to hit 1.5 million.