Taipei Agreed To Allow Individual Tourists From Beijing, Shanghai And Xiamen
This week, 282 individual mainland Chinese tourists, allowed under an agreement finalized earlier this month, arrived in Taiwan in a development that has been eagerly awaited by Taiwanese tourism officials and retailers alike. With Taiwan’s tourist mainstays, the Japanese, cutting back on outbound travel this year in the wake of the recent earthquake and tsunami, officials hope a predicted 29 percent increase in Chinese tourists this year will buoy the industry. Last year, some 1.6 million mainland Chinese visited Taiwan, pumping an estimated US$2 billion into the island’s economy, and travel agencies have projected that the new rule allowing individual travelers from Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen will augment this year’s total by $172 million.
As many as 500 tourists will be allowed to visit each day, pushing arrivals from the mainland to as high as 2.1 million this year from 1.63 million in 2010, Chen estimates.
“Cross-strait tourism economic benefits are more directly reflected in retail sales and the service industry, unlike trade agreements which may take longer for the effects to be felt,” Cheng Cheng-mount, chief economist at Citibank Taiwan Ltd., said yesterday.
Luxury products, including jewelry, watches and bags, sold at the mall are sought after by Chinese visitors as they cost about an average 30 percent less in Taiwan, Daphne Lee, marketing director for Taipei Financial, said in an interview yesterday.
Mainland visitors accounted for about 12 percent of Taipei 101’s shopping center revenue last year, Lee said. She expects independent visitors to buy more at the shopping center than group visitors as they have more time to browse. Tour groups typically spend about 1.5 hours at the mall, and mainly at the 89th-floor observatory deck, she said.
Luxury retailers won’t be the only ones set to benefit from individual Chinese tourist-shoppers. As Jing Daily noted last year, specialty service providers and boutique hotel owners also anticipate a boost from this increasingly coveted group.