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Taiwan set for tourists

More than 10,000 mainland tourists are expected to visit Taiwan during the Spring Festival holiday, according to the island's tourism department.


Yao Ta Kuang, a senior official of the Taiwan Travel Agent Association, said so far Taiwan tour operators had received more than 10,000 travel applications from mainland residents.


Taiwan travel agencies estimate that during Taiwan's nine-day Lunar New Year holiday, an average of more than 1,000 mainland tourists a day will visit, with the total exceeding 10,000.


Yao said if hotels near tourist attractions were full, mainland tourists might be booked into urban hotels and taken by high-speed rail to venues instead of on sight-seeing buses.


"High-speed railways will increase the cost but will save time," Yao said.


Yao said Taiwan operators had prepared some special activities, such as a Lunar New Year's Eve get-together at Taipei's famous Fisherman's Wharf. An official with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau said the bureau and travel operators will provide mainland tourists with the best possible service.


But he was concerned that with so many mainland tourists coming during the holidays, the island might run short of hotel rooms.


Hotels near major attractions, including Ali Mountain and Sun-Moon Lake, were almost fully booked, an earlier report said.


(Xinhua News Agency January 15, 2009)