The number of mainland visitors will increase to more than 540,000 a year when immigration measures announced yesterday are introduced. Restrictions covering visitors from the mainland and Taiwan are being relaxed to boost tourism. The new measures will from Monday allow Taiwan travellers holding mainland travel permits and valid mainland entry and exit endorsements to have a stopover of up to seven days. They will no longer need to apply for a Hong Kong entry permit. From Friday, the Immigration Department will reduce from five to two the number of working days it takes to process Taiwanese applications for multiple-entry permits. From July, the daily quota for mainland residents visiting Hong Kong for sightseeing under the Hong Kong Travel Group Tour Scheme will rise 30 per cent, from 1,142 to 1,500. 'The additional mainland tourists will be handled by the China International Travel Service to introduce competition,' said Director of Immigration Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee. The current quota allows for almost 420,000 mainland visitors a year on tours operated by China Travel Service, Guangdong Tours and Hua Min Tourism. Under the new measures, the total number of mainland travellers is expected to increase to 547,500 a year. The number of mainlanders on each tour will decrease from 48 to 46 people per tour. Liberal Party legislator-elect Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said the plan would be effective but were not comprehensive enough.