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Taiwan sees surge in mainland visitor

Taiwan has seen tourism from the mainland soar, with visitor arrivals expected to exceed 10,000 for the first time this week, and maybe 12,000 next week, a member of Taiwan's tourism authority told Xinhua Wednesday.


At present, the employee added, up to 1,500 mainland visitors arrive in Taiwan every day.


As of this year, the mainland allowed 25 provincial regions, up from previous 13, to send group tours across the Taiwan Straits, and the number of agencies running Taiwan-bound journeys expanded to 146 from 33.


At the end of last month, Shao Qiwei, chief of the National Tourism Administration, visited Taiwan as chairman of the mainland's Cross-strait Tourism Exchange Association. Shao was accompanied by 500 mainland tourism operators.


According to the Taiwan authorities, 91,274 mainland tourists visited Taiwan between July 2008 and February this year. During that period, daily arrivals of mainland tourists increased from 274 to 1,000.


Taiwan is working on new measures to increase mainland tourism. Those measures could include cutting tour prices and increasing the number of Taiwan hotels that accept mainland visitors, according to Yao Da-guang, director-general of Taiwan's Travel Agent Association.


(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2009)