Taipei, Sept. 20 (CNA) Taiwan has seen a surge in tourism interest from China thanks to the recent territorial disputes over the Diaoyutai Islands, with many Chinese tourists deciding to cancel trips to Japan in the hope of visiting Taiwan instead, local travel agents said Thursday.
"The territorial controversy has apparently caused significant impact on the travel industry because many orders have been changed," said Chen Chin-lang, general manager of the Huanyu International Travel Service Co.
Chen said the number of Chinese clients planning to visit Taiwan in October is up by 40 percent compared with the same period of last year, which he described as a "dramatic development" that could be attributed to the Diaoyutais row.
Likewise, Taipei-based Cola Tours said it anticipates stronger performance in inbound tourism next month as the number of Chinese tourists asking about travel information has shown a 20 percent year-on-year growth.
Still other industry representatives said they expect increases in Chinese tourist arrivals to Taiwan because of the incident, but added that it is difficult to gauge the exact scope of such a tourist influx.
Roget Hsu, secretary-general of the Travel Agent Association of the Republic of China, Taiwan, said it remains unclear how much benefit Taiwan tourism will gain from the Diaoyutais dispute because orders for cross-strait travel in October are already packed.
"Even if Chinese tourists want to cancel their Japan itineraries to come to Taiwan instead, chances are low that they will be able to make bookings in time," he said.
(By Lee Hsin-Yin)