TAIPAI: The number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan increased nearly 500 per cent in the first ten months of the year, the island’s tourism bureau said today, as warming ties make travel more convenient.
A total of 407,237 tourists arrived from the mainland in the period from January to October, up 479 per cent from the same period last year, according to the bureau.
A key factor in boosting the numbers was a decision by President Ma Ying-jeou’s Beijing-friendly government in July last year to treble the daily quota of Chinese tourists to 3,000.
Taiwan and China, which split in 1949 after a civil war, reportedly were planning to swap quasi-official tourism offices before the Lunar New Year next year.
Ties between Taiwan and China have improved dramatically since Ma took office last year, although Beijing still claims the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.