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Taiwan temporarily raises mainland tourist quota

Taiwan authorities have temporarily increased the daily quota of Chinese mainland tourists allowed to visit the island in response to a rise in demand ahead of the upcoming Tomb-Sweeping Day.

The island's entry and exit authority has raised the daily cap from4,311 to 6,000 from March 15 to April 2.

The traditional Tomb-Sweeping Day falls on April 5 this year. The day, also known as the Qingming Festival, is an occasion for the Chinese to remember the dead.

The Taiwan entry and exit authority adopted the same temporary adjustment for the Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, which fell in mid February, to cope with about 35,000 mainland tourists in nine days.

The number of entry applications by mainland tourists remained high and had almost hit the cap of 4,311 a day since March 1, according to the entry and exit agency.

In 2008, the government made Tomb-Sweeping Day an official holiday in response to public appeals, making it a three-day holiday together with the adjacent weekend.

About 606,000 tourists from the Chinese mainland visited the island in 2009, according to the mainland-based Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association, which estimated mainland spending could reach up to 1.3 billion U.S. dollars on the island.

Mainlanders were allowed to visit Taiwan in tour groups after an agreement was signed in June 2008 by the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the island's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), two organizations authorized to handle cross-Strait issues.