Individual Chinese tourists expected to bring in US$40 mil.

The China Post news staff

Taiwan’s tourism business is posed to gain over US$40 million in revenue next year as mainland Chinese tourists will be allowed to Taiwan for individual visits starting Jan. 1, a local realty agency forecast. Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau will launch its individual visit scheme for business tourists from Beijing and Shanghai at the start of next year, allowing a maximum of 500 individual tourists to enter Taiwan daily on top of the current quota for visitors in tour groups. The annual increase of mainland tourists can be over 180,000. Taking into consideration an average buying power of mainland Chinese tourists of US$232 per person per day, the individual tourists can bring extra revenue of over US$40 million to the Taiwan market, said Bright Lee (李建興), communications manager of the Yung-Ching Realty Group (永慶房屋). The launch of direct flights between Taipei Songshan Airport and Hefei Luogang International Airport in China’s Anhui Province after the Taipei airport made similar links with Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and the Tokyo Haneda Airport will further increase the possible number of mainland tourists, Lee added. In terms of real estate investments, the hotel, shop and malls businesses will be the direct beneficiaries of the new policy, he said. Free from the set itinerary of tourist groups, individual visitors generally prefer in-depth tours featuring specific tourist attractions or themes, Lee pointed out. The freedom of individual movement also means these tourists will have more chances to visit shops and restaurants nearby their hotels and might thereby create a “mainland tourist businesses district” in locations surrounding hotels, Lee said while highlighting the “Zhongzheng Culture District” near the Multifunction Center for Exhibition and Performance in Taoyuan as a potential mainland tourist businesses district. A total of 135,334 mainland tourists stayed in hotels at the Zhongzheng Culture District, the most in the nation. The proximity of Taoyuan to the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and the lower hotel room prices compared to Taipei make the county’s hotels the favorite among mainland tourists and the county a potential tourism market, Lee remarked. In Taipei, the Songjiang Road area, where many of the city’s middle-priced hotels are located and easily reachable via the new MRT Luzhou Line, will become a hotspot for individual mainland tourists.

On the other hand, the Songshan District also has the potential to attract individual mainland tourists as the number of direct flights to the Songshan Airport increase, he added.