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Chinese tourists spend over NT$200 billion in Taiwan

The China Post news staff--Mainland Chinese tourists coming to Taiwan have brought foreign exchange incomes amounting to an equivalent of more than NT$200 billion to people and companies in a period of four years as of end-June.

Lu Chang-shui, an official in charge of liaison affairs at the Mainland Affairs Council of the Cabinet, brought up the figure in a dialogue with residents in Tantze of central Taichung City yesterday.

Lu said that the government first opened doors to mainland Chinese tourists interested in visiting Taiwan in groups in mid-July of 2008.

The visitors from designated mainland areas took a total of 3.98 million trips to Taiwan while spending an estimated NT$202.3 billion during their stays here, he said.

The number of mainland Chinese taking individual tours has also been steadily increasing since the measure was first implemented on June 28 last year.

Such individual visitors reached 29,187 in the second half of 2011 in the initial stage, averaging about less than 160 people per day.

But the number quickly doubled to 58,341 people, or 326 each day, in the first six months of this year, said Lu.

People in four more mainland cities will be added before the end of the year to enhance tourism exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Attractions

Lu said he expects more of the individual tourists to include Taichung in their itineraries due to the attractions of creative culinary, rich cultural heritage, and innovations of people in the central Taiwan region.

The extra lures include the convenient transport facilities like Taichung Harbor and the Chingchuangang Airport with the shortest distances and traveling time between Taichung and many coastal cities in the mainland.

These were among the major factors for the establishment of regular passenger shipping services between Taichung and Xiamen as well as Pingtan of China's Fujian Province, Lu pointed out.

This gave the Greater Taichung area, created newly from the integration of Taichung City and Taichung County, extra competitive edge in attracting an even larger number of mainland Chinese travelers.

Foreign Investments

Citing statistics compiled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Lu said the ECFA has prompted more Taiwanese investors operating in mainland China to increase their investments back home in Taiwan.

In addition, more foreign investors have now realized that the cross-strait ECFA will enable them to boost sales to mainland China by increasing investments in Taiwan.

Lu said he learned that Taiwanese enterprises with investments in the mainland pledged to allocate investment funds totaling NT$31.85 billion for various projects in Taiwan in September of 2011 alone.

For multinational corporations, they plan to inject capital investments amounting to NT$150 billion and to use Taiwan as the operating base to take advantage of the tax incentives offered by the mainland to companies in Taiwan.

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