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Majority of mainland tourists satisfied with Taiwan trips


An overwhelming majority of Chinese tourists were satisfied with their trips to Taiwan, a visiting official of China's quasi-official Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association said in Taiwan yesterday.


"Up to 86.4 percent of respondents to a survey of mainland visitors to Taiwan were happy with their sightseeing visits," said Li Yaying, deputy secretary-general of the association.


Li made the remarks at a seminar in Taipei held at the end of a five day tour of Taiwan along with representatives of the 113 Chinese travel agencies who recently obtained licenses from Beijing authorities to organize tours to Taiwan.


According to Li, her association has so far not received any complaints from Chinese citizens who have visited Taiwan on sightseeing trips since Taiwan and mainland agreed to expand tourism exchanges in mid-2008. Li expressed concerns, however, about reports that Taiwan is accepting low-price Chinese tour groups and that some Taiwanese travel agencies have handed over such groups once they arrive in Taiwan to local travel companies that are not authorized to handle Chinese nationals.


Responding to Li's concerns, Hsieh Wei-chun, deputy director of Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, said the bureau will never compromise on travel quality standards and will make every possible effort to ensure that all Taiwan tour packages are reasonably priced.


Wu Chao-yen, the Tourism Bureau's chief secretary, said that if any Taiwan travel agency is found to have transferred a Chinese tour group to an unauthorized local travel agency, it will be barred from hosting any Chinese tour group for one to six months.


Meanwhile, Hsieh said the number of daily Chinese tourist arrivals is expected to reach the 3,000 person-per-day cap in the near future. At the moment, he said, the bureau is not considering raising the ceiling because of quality concerns.


For quality control, he suggested that mainland provinces follow the example of Sichuan and Helongjiang provinces and set a minimum fee standard to ensure quality.


(Agencies April 7, 2009)