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Fewer visit Hong Kong during holiday as more opt for Taiwan

Updated: 2014-05-24 07:27
By Wang Wen ( China Daily)

The number of travelers from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan rose during the May Day break and visits to Hong Kong fell.

The tourism authority of Taiwan said 32,000 individual trips were made from the mainland to Taiwan, a 33 percent year-on-year rise. There were 9,864 visitors who were not part of tours. That's more than double compared with the same period last year.

The number of mainland travelers to Hong Kong fell for the first time since the special administrative region opened self-guided tours to mainland residents in 2003.

 

Fewer visit Hong Kong during holiday as more opt for Taiwan

The tourism authority of Taiwan said 32,000 individual trips were made from the Chinese mainland to Taiwan during the May Day break, a 33 percent year-on-year rise. There were 9,864 visitors who were not part of tours. Tao Ming / Xinhua

"The decline of Hong Kong is not the only reason for the rise of Taiwan," Jiang Zhiduan, director of the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association's Beijing's office, said.

It is a market choice, he added.

Because of demand, Taiwan increased its quota for independent mainland tourists to the island from 3,000 to 4,000 a day from April 16.

A rise to 5,000 will be considered.

Mainland travel agencies also see business opportunities and are investing more into the market.

"It is expected that almost 100,000 self-guided travelers will visit Taiwan through Ctrip.com this year," said Xu Zhiyun, general manager of the outbound tourism department of Ctrip.com International Ltd, a Chinese online travel agent.

During the May Day holiday, Ctrip's sales of products to Taiwan grew 100 percent compared with the same period last year, he said.

"Taiwan is already one of the most popular destinations among mainland travelers," Xu said.

Some other travel agencies forecast the next peak period to Taiwan will come during the Dragon Boat Festival in June. Seasonally the price is relatively low.

The attraction of Hong Kong, the traditional destination for mainland travelers, is fading.

Statistics from the Immigration department of Hong Kong show that in the first day of the holiday in May, the number of mainland travelers was only 142,505 individual trips, down 11.88 percent compared with the same day last year.

During the whole three-day holiday, 388,070 mainland travelers visited Hong Kong, down from 394,476 the previous year. That may be due to an online video of a fight between several Hong Kong residents and a mainland couple whose child urinated in public at a crowded commercial area on April 15.

Some Hong Kong residents complained about travelers from the mainland taking over tourism areas in the city. Some mainlanders said they would boycott Hong Kong.

Hong Kong remains an important destination for mainland outbound tourism because of the convenient visa process and transport.

"Among the destinations in greater China, Hong Kong is still top," a manager from a domestic travel agency, who declined to be named, said.

The absolute number visiting Hong Kong remains much higher than other regions, he said.

Hong Kong is still one of the most popular destinations during May Day, the National Tourism Administration said.

wangwen@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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