Beijing’s ban on solo travellers visiting Taiwan could result in 700,000 fewer arrivals over the next six months and cost the self-ruled island NT$28 billion (US$900.5 million) in lost revenue, an industry insider said.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that from Thursday it would stop issuing individual travel permits to people in 47 mainland Chinese cities because of the poor state of relations with Taiwan.
“In view of the current cross-strait situation, such visits will be temporarily restricted until further notice,” it said in an online statement on Wednesday.
Tourism-related government websites confirmed the ban would apply only to individuals.
In response to the announcement, Taiwanese Transport Minister Lin Chai-lung said his government would spend an additional NT$3.6 billion in the fourth quarter of the year on promoting tourism.
“Details, including preferential treatments for group and individual visitors [from other countries], will be announced soon,” he said in a Facebook post on Wednesday evening.
According to Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency, 1.07 million individual travellers from the Chinese mainland visited the island last year, up about 2 per cent from 2017.
In the first half of this year, the total was 633,000 and the tourism authority forecast the full-year figure to reach 1.3 million.
Based on an average spend of NT$40,000 per solo traveller per visit, that would amount to about NT$28 billion in lost revenue, according to official figures.
Representatives of several van and taxi service companies, as well as hotel operators said the restriction could result in a 40 per cent drop in revenue.
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