Since Taiwan further opened to mainland Chinese tourism July 2008, more than 5.71 million visitors have arrived in the country, generating NT$209 billion (US$7.2 billion) in revenue, according to the Tourism Bureau Aug. 12.
“The number of arrivals is expected to increase further since the commencement of solo mainland Chinese travel in late June,” bureau officials said.
Up to 500 mainland Chinese are permitted to enter Taiwan per diem for trips of up to 15 days under an agreement inked by Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation and its mainland Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits.
Mainland Chinese made over NT$12 billion in purchases during their Taiwan visits in 2010, bureau officials said, citing statistics provided by a mainland Chinese credit card company. For the same period, government data indicates that foreign exchange revenue from tourism was over NT$270 billion, they added.
Bureau officials said the number of mainland Chinese group tourists arriving Aug. 1 to 9 averaged 3,228 per day; this represents an 18-percent increase from July and a rise of 744 year on year.
The influx of visitors from across the strait has prompted greater investment in the hospitality industry. Last year, Taiwan opened and refurbished 286 and 367 hotels, respectively, requiring NT$181 billion in capital, bureau officials said.
Mainland Chinese opinions concerning Taiwan may also be undergoing shift due to the government’s tourism initiative.
In a story published by The New York Times Aug. 10, journalist Andrew Jacobs observed the experiences of mainland Chinese group tourists in Taiwan. “For many on the tour, the biggest surprise was learning that, contrary to what they had heard, most of the island’s 23 million residents are not exactly eager to merge with the mainland.”
Jacobs also reported on a change in attitude toward Taiwan on the part of many mainland Chinese. “Independence or no independence? To be honest, who cares?” he quoted a Beijing woman stating at the end of her trip.