• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 3:46am
BusinessChina Business

Taiwan emerges as new playground for mainland China tourists

Chinese visitors to the island tripled last year after Taipei relaxed rules

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 May, 2014, 5:38am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 May, 2014, 6:44pm

Taiwan may be quietly emerging as a substitute tourism destination for mainland visitors, particularly as the fascination for Hong Kong seems to be waning as discontent rises in the city over the influx of mainlanders.

A Nielsen survey shows that more than 95 per cent of independent Chinese tourists who visited Taiwan in the past year want to make a return trip and more than half plan to revisit in the coming year.

This might make Taiwan a new playground for China's growing army of super-rich, replacing Hong Kong. Since Beijing began to allow people from 49 mainland cities to visit Hong Kong without joining tour groups in 2003, the number of visitors to the city has risen steadily and spiked at 41 million last year. But a recent university poll shows about two-thirds of Hong Kong people want controls to slow the inflow.

An incident sparked by a mainland child urinating on a Mong Kok street last month was seen by many as a sign of growing anger at mainland tourists. Many Hongkongers have expressed concern over mainland visitors disrupting public order and straining the city's limited resources.

The individual visitor scheme adopted a decade ago has brought tens of billions of Hong Kong dollars in revenues for the city each year.

In comparison, Taiwan's tourism market was opened to individual visitors from the mainland only from June 2011. Taiwan has also put certain checks in place, such as limiting the length of stay and requiring people from smaller mainland cities to travel in tour groups.

The number of mainland visitors has soared nonetheless, with independent travellers tripling last year from a year earlier to 522,443, according to Taiwan's official data.

Mainland tourists favour sites ranging from Taipei 101 to National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and buy pineapple cakes, facial care products and local teas.

Mark Williams of Capital Economics said the burgeoning outbound tourism has caused the mainland's services trade deficit to balloon, with the number of resident departures more than doubling in the past four years.


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This article is now closed to comments

Good riddance, The economic argument (below) is fallacy - HK is all about finance, trade, tourism is only 4.5% of our GDP: ****www.gov.hk/en/about/abouthk/factsheets/docs/tourism.pdf. The quicker we move this parasitical industry to Taiwan the better for everyone in HK. Maybe other actually well-off tourists with manners would come here if they know they didn't have to wade through 40m uncouth peasants in tour-groups
In fact, Taiwanese don't welcome the mainlanders in general. For Hong Kong, we need to attract the quality (behaved and cilvilised) tourists but not those unbehaved and uncivilised tourists regardless of their place of origin. I do not discriminate the mainlanders but I do hate their manners and behaviours. I don't know why we cannot find other tourists to urinate in the streets but only the mainlanders. Most of them are not educated, I think.
Total area of Taiwan: 36 thousand km square and only 500k visitors from mainland to there in a yr. so far. While the size of hk: 1000km2 and the city is being bombarded by 40millions visitors from the mainland. If I were a mainland visitor I would definitely say I enjoy traveling Taiwan for sure since I could truly feel a sense of escape that I would not be surrounded by people from the same place after all.
Why country will replace HK for Mainland Chinese Tourism within the next 2-3 years?
You guess it - it's gonna be Taiwan!
My instinct tells me that Chinese Tourism arrival to HK during the traditional Golden week (i.e from May 1st) would have dropped precipitously!
Who should we blame? Who else.... but ourselves!
Keep playing the politics game, my fellow HK citizen!
But don't be surprised that HK will see a self-inflicted recession soon, most likely by early 2016, if not sooner!


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