TAIPEI–A record high of nearly 30 million people traveled to or from Taiwan last year, 19.5 percent more than in 2009, government statistics showed yesterday.
According to the latest statistics made public by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), inbound passengers to Taiwan totaled 14,980,936 in 2010, a 19.72 percent increase from 2009, while outbound passengers totaled 14,909,299, an annual increase of 19.27 percent. Both the arrival and departure figures set record highs in Taiwan’s history.
The combined 29,890,235 arrivals and departures were 19.5 percent more than a year earlier.
MOI officials attributed the increase to an economic recovery and a jump in cross-Taiwan Strait travel following Taiwan’s broader opening to Chinese tourists in mid 2008.
Since Taiwan conditionally opened its doors to certain kinds of Chinese tourists in 2002, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan has grown steadily.
In terms of travelers’ nationalities, Taiwanese citizens accounted for 63 percent of the total outbound and inbound travel, while Chinese nationals (including from Hong Kong and Macau) made up 15.4 percent. Individuals from other countries accounted for the remaining 21.5 percent.
Some 5.57 million foreign passengers entered Taiwan last year, with 43.6 percent of them coming from China (including Hong Kong and Macau), 19.4 percent coming from Japan, 7.1 percent coming from the United States and 5.1 percent coming from Malaysia, according to MOI figures.
About 57 percent of the 9.42 million outbound trips made by Taiwanese citizens started with travel to China, while 14.6 percent went to Japan on the first leg of their trips.
Some 4.6 percent flew to the United States, and 4.3 percent traveled to South Korea.