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Published on : Friday, May 19, 2017
In the first quarter of 2017, visitor numbers to Taiwan dropped considerably, slowing down by a 42 percent fall in arrivals from China. The number of Chinese tourists to the island has dropped since Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen took office last May, with speculation China is turning off the taps as a pressure tactic.
The January-March quarter saw the total number of visitors fall 10 percent to 2.54 million from last year. Increases from other areas including Southeast Asia were not sufficient to counterbalance the steep fall in Chinese visitors, which plummeted to 659,575 in the quarter from 1.14 million.
Tourism operators attribute this decline to a more negative portrayal of Taiwan in Chinese media and scaled back promotion of tours by major Chinese travel agencies.
Tsai has been aiming to expand ties with Southeast Asian countries, including tourism, for reducing dependence on China. But critics say the Southeast Asian market is too small to expect it to catch up anytime soon.
Chinese visitors accounted for about 33 percent of the total in 2016, the biggest group, while those from Southeast Asia including Malaysia and Singapore made up 15 percent.