TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An amazing video showing the growth of visitors to Taiwan over the past 18 years by nationality was posted to the data visualization and storytelling website Flourish on Wednesday (Oct. 16).
On Wednesday, Taiwanese Flourish user Ythlev uploaded an animated bar chart showing the number of visitors to Taiwan by their country of residence from Jan. 2001 to Aug. 2019. Ythlev told Taiwan News that the data is based on statistics from Taiwan's Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC).
Ythlev said that the inspiration for the graph was a video by Animated Stats titled "Top 20 Largest Cities in The World 1500 to 2100," which shows the rise and fall of the most prominent cities over the past 500 years based on population.
The most dramatic change in terms of the nationalities of visitors is China, which starts in a distant fourth place behind the U.S., Hong Kong-Macao, and Japan. The top four remain fairly stable with Japan far ahead of the pack in the 2000s, but by the end of the decade, China suddenly jumps ahead of the U.S.
The reason for China's rapid rise at the end of the 2000s was the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in Taiwan and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), which came to an agreement in June of 2008 to allow Chinese tour groups to travel directly to Taiwan rather than having to first transit through a third country.
Travel by Chinese to Taiwan accelerated further in 2011 when individual travel across the strait was authorized by the communist country. Such individual travel was banned by Beijing in August of this year as a means of punishing the current Taiwanese government led by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for not recognizing the fictitious "1992 Consensus" when she took office and to possibly try to influence Taiwan's upcoming elections.
Another salient trend shown in the video is the race for fifth place among South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia, with the former currently in the lead. Also of note is the increasing number of tourists from the Philippines, which has risen to eighth place due in large part to the visa-free treatment offered to Filipinos starting in November of 2017.
Visitors from other New Southbound Policy nations, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam now hold the 9th, 10th, and 11th spots, with Canada rounding out the top 12.