More than 50% of international visitor arrivals to Taiwan are now from mainland China.
According to the latest data from Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau, the island welcomed 3.81 million visitors in the first six months of 2013 – 6.4% more than the same period last year. And driving this growth was mainland China, which contributed 1.91m visitors to Taiwan in January-June 2013 – 12.3% more than the first half of 2012.
That means that mainland Chinese now account for 50.2% of Taiwan’s total international arrivals. Hong Kong and Macau accounted for a further 558,508 visitors, up 12.9% and 14.7% of the total.
Not including its cross-Strait neighbours, Taiwan only welcomed 1.34m arrivals in the first half. Japan (-7.6% to 660,606) and the US (-1.8% to 201,908) declined, but arrivals from Southeast Asia increased 6.9% to 572,035.
China and Taiwan opened direct tourism links in 2008, with the start of the first commercial cross-Strait flights since 1950. Since then more flights have been added and barriers to travel have gradually been removed. This month, Taiwan began issuing multiple-entry visas to independent Chinese travellers.