Taipei (Taiwan)—The number of Taiwanese tourists traveling to Macau returned to the 1 million mark in 2016, up nearly 9 percent from the previous year, according to statistics compiled by the Macao Government Tourist Office (MGTO).
Taiwan has consistently ranked as Macau's third largest source of visitors, after China and Hong Kong.
According to the MGTO, 1,074,525 Taiwanese visited Macau last year, an increase of 8.8 percent, while the number of tourists staying overnight was up 20.6 percent to 540,000.
Despite seeing a nearly 20 percent drop in tour groups, with steepest decline reported from China and Taiwan in 2016, the total number of tourists from Taiwan returned to the 1 million mark last year, Director of MGTO Maria Helena de Senna Fernande told Macao Daily News reporters.
The drop in tour groups to Macau reflects tourists' preference to travel independently as information about tourism in Macau becomes more readily available, she added.
The office cited the opening of new tourist attractions at the Parisian Macao and Wynn Palace resorts as helping attract more visitors.
Aside from its famous casinos and cuisine, the MGTO is turning to online celebrities, websites and bloggers to help promote Macau tourism to target female visitors and families with children.
Visits by Taiwanese women and children under the age of 15 years old grew by 3.06 percent and 1.69 percent respectively from the previous year.
The abrupt shutdown of TransAsia Airways last November had an initial impact on Taiwanese visitor volume, but the opening of new flight routes from Taiwan to Macau by Far Eastern Air Transport and budget airline Tigerair later offered passengers more options when visiting.