TAIPEI, Taiwan – Tourists from mainland China have created more than NT$200 billion (US$6.94 billion) in foreign exchange reserves for Taiwan over the past three years, the Tourism Bureau said Friday.
Since Taiwan opened its borders to tour groups from China in 2008, local tourism has surged significantly, said bureau official Tsai Ming-ling.
According to Tsai, the retail industry has been the largest beneficiary because of the unique behavior patterns of the Chinese tour groups.
Unlike Western tourists, who generally prefer sightseeing to shopping when they come to Taiwan, she said, Chinese tourists spend around 60 percent of their budgets on shopping for items such as souvenirs.
“Pineapple cakes and tea are among the most popular items,” Tsai said.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the business opportunities brought by the Free Independent Traveler program that allows individual Chinese tourists to enter Taiwan without having to be part of a tour group, 47 new hotels will be completed by 2015, with an estimated total investment of NT$97.8 billion, according to the bureau.