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2013 brings half-million solo mainland travelers

TAIPEI--More than 500,000 Chinese visitors traveled to Taiwan outside of tour groups in 2013, immigration statistics show, making up the bulk of total “individual” tourists from China since they were allowed to enter Taiwan for the first time in June 2011.

Individual visitors broke the half-million mark earlier this month — a 176 percent growth from the 181,000 who came during the same period last year.

In total, Taiwan has welcomed 722,000 individual Chinese visitors since it opened its doors to them on June 28, 2011.

Immigration officials attributed the growth this year to China's decision to allow residents of 13 more cities to travel independently to Taiwan, bringing the total to 26 cities, as well as Taiwan's upping of the ceiling for daily entries from China.

As of the most recent figures from the end of October, 1,445,842 visitors had visited Taiwan in tour groups from China this year. Last year saw 1,772,492 visitors in groups over the whole year.

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