Taipei (Taiwan News)—Ideological differences between communist China and the Taiwanese government resulted in a 38-year travel ban on visits the other side of the strait that was not lifted till 1987.
Travel remained restricted, though, even after the ban was lifted.
It was not until the two sides' deepened economic ties in 2008 that Taiwan embraced open tourism for Chinese visitors, and saw 3.4 million Chinese tourists visiting the island in 2015,.
Despite declining group tourism caused by political tension between Taipei and Beijing in May, individual travelers continue to flock Taiwan out of curiosity sparked by the folk song The Girl of Ali Mountain about the scenic spot in central Taiwan, and tales of national treasure collections in The National Palace Museum in Taipei.
Here is a summary of what Chinese tourists think about Taiwan, according to a Forbes report:
1. People are extremely courteous
Chinese tourists report Taiwanese pedestrians usually will kindly stop in their tracks to offer directions and shopkeepers respond professionally to inquiries. This treatment contrasts with annoying number of strangers who are surly or vague when interrupted by a question in China. The level courtesy found in Taiwan generates a feeling of appreciation of the location and reminder to ethnic Chinese of exhibiting politeness.
2. Not as modern
Taiwan began industrialization and modernization some three decades earlier than China, so tourists expect to bedazzled by opulence here, especially in Taipei. Taiwan did not invest the wealth in architecture, so the cities are full of decaying apartment blocks. A traveler from Shanghai commented after a trip in 2016: “I used to think Taipei was more modern than Shanghai, but I've found out it is not, because the housing is not as good.”
3. Living costs are cheaper
Taiwan's inflation is less than those afflicting consumers residing in large Chinese cities. Luxury brands and sit-down dinners cost more in China, for example. Consumer prices in China climbed up 1.4 percent in 2015, but were down 0.3 percent in Taiwan. Taiwan is a good bargain, which explains the glut of self-guided tourists from China that voluntarily go shopping in Taipei. Some tourists speculate that the prices reflect Taiwan's overall waning economy.