Taipei – The number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan will increase substantially during their Oct.1 National Day holiday, an Tourism Bureau official said Sunday.
Citing preliminary statistics offered by local travel agencies, the official said about 3,153 Chinese tourists are scheduled to arrive Oct.1, far exceeding the daily average of 1,200 recorded in September.
“The number of Chinese tourist arrivals on Oct.2 will also reach about 2,727,” said the official who requested anonymity.
Those figures do not include Chinese professionals who will travel to Taiwan during the same period to attend meetings or other activities for cultural or academic exchanges, the official said.
During China’s National Day break last year, the daily average of Chinese tourist arrivals was about 450. At that time, only weekend charter flights across the Taiwan Strait were available. “The limited number of flights restricted the number of Chinese tourist arrivals,” she argued.
Nowadays, the number of direct cross-strait flights has increased significantly. According to the official, the occupancy rate of those flights will exceed 80 percent during China’s National Day holiday.
The passengers include both Chinese tourists and Taiwanese expatriates in China, she added.
Taiwan expects to attract at least 1 million Chinese tourists a year, but the actual number still falls short of the target.
The official said the devastation wrought by Typhoon Morakot in early August has affected Chinese people’s interest in visiting Taiwan.
For instance, she said, many Chinese citizens have keen interest in visiting Alishan, but access to the scenic mountain resort has been denied due to typhoon damage. “This sad fact has discouraged their Taiwan travel plan,” she noted.
On reports that a number of Chinese tourists have canceled their schedule to visit the southern Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung after its city government invited the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan Aug.30-Sept.4 and screened a documentary on Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer recently, the official refrained from giving any comments.
She instead said the Tourism Bureau has on many occasions asked its Chinese counterpart to help encourage Chinese tourists to visit the Kaohsiung area after Morakot wreaked havoc in southern Taiwan.