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Chinese visitors up 0.59% in August: Tourism Bureau

2017/09/21 18:17:07

CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 21 (CNA) Visitor arrivals from China increased 0.59 percent year-on-year in August, the first monthly growth since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) assumed office 16 months ago, according to government statistics released Thursday.

A total of 249,999 Chinese nationals visited Taiwan last month, up from 248,538 in August 2016, the Tourism Bureau said.

Of the 179,276 people who came for tourism, 78,806 were traveling in groups and 100,470 were traveling independently, the bureau said.

Lin Pei-chun (林佩君), deputy chief of the Tourism Bureau's Planning and Research Division, said the growth in August indicates that efforts by Taiwan in China to boost tourism have begun to produce results.

Chinese visitor arrivals in Taiwan have decreased since Tsai was inaugurated in May 2016, mainly due to strained cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

In 2016, the number of Chinese nationals visiting Taiwan dropped 16.2 percent from the previous year to 3.47 million, with tourists decreasing 18 percent to 2.73 million.

Despite posting growth in August, the visitor numbers remain lackluster compared with the 367,736 recorded in August 2015.

According to travel agent Lee Chi-yueh (李奇嶽), the growth was mostly the result of a low comparison base.

He noted that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan began to drop sharply after 24 Chinese nationals were killed in a tour bus fire in Taiwan in July 2016, with the figure plunging to a low of 248,538 the following month.

For the whole of 2017, the number of Chinese tourists will be significantly fewer than in 2016, he predicted.

The Tourism Bureau data shows that 909,381 foreign nationals visited Taiwan in August, up 5.31 percent from 863,540 last year.

The number of Japanese visitors decreased 7.9 percent year-on-year to 172,243.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Y.F. Low)