Mainland Tourists Power $1.13 Billion Tourism "Bonanza" In Taiwan

    According to latest figures, the nearly 40,000 mainland Chinese tourists who visited Taiwan during the Chinese New Year holiday spent some $63 million.
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Travel

    Visitors From Mainland China Have Surged Since Travel Ban Was Lifted In June 2008#

    Jing Daily

    The topic of outbound tourists from mainland China is a hot one on travel industry websites, and with the latest figures coming out of Taiwan it's pretty easy to see why. According to China Knowledge, since the lifting of the travel ban on mainland tourists in June 2008, more than US$1.3 billion has been spent in Taiwan by mainlanders -- some $63 million of that having been spent by the nearly 40,000 tourists who crossed the straits during this year's Lunar New Year festival.

    Though these numbers are estimates, $63 million spent by 40,000 mainland tourists would be an average of $1,575 spent by each individual -- less than the estimated $6,000 spent on average by the 1,000 or so tourists who flooded New York at the same time, but around the same amount Chinese tourists spent in Europe last year.

    Much of this disparity just boils down to a difference in demographics. While outbound travel is still a luxury in China, it's an increasingly accessible luxury, so many of the tourists who spent Lunar New Year in Taiwan were middle-class, whereas a large proportion of those who could afford the New York trip were far wealthier. Regardless of income level, as mainland tourists (and their money) become more visible in Taiwan, island-based luxury retailers (both foreign and home-grown) and tour operators are likely to increase their outreach efforts inside the mainland, hoping to attract some free-spending tourists who would otherwise go to Hong Kong or Macau to get their close-to-home tourism and shopping fix.

    The importance of mainland tourists is clear to Taiwan's government, as well as its retailers. This year, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said they hope to attract 1 million mainlanders in 2010, and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau this week announced that it plans to open reciprocal tourism offices with Beijing this April. From Taiwan Today:

    “The new offices will focus on promoting cross-strait tourism, assisting tourists and resolving emergency situations,” said bureau Director-General Lai Seh-jen.

    Lai said the two offices are solely responsible for promoting tourism across the strait. “Issues relating to politics and foreign affairs will not be involved.”

    The two offices, which are overseen by the Taipei-based Taiwan Strait Tourism Association and Beijing’s Cross-Strait Tourism Exchange Association, respectively, will open on the same day. The move is seen as a significant first step toward establishing permanent offices across the strait.
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