Taiwan urges China to lift travel ban after election

Beijing implemented solo travel ban targeting Taiwan after cross-strait relations soured

  3355
Salt fields in Taiwan (Tourism Bureau Facebook photo)

Salt fields in Taiwan (Tourism Bureau Facebook photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has urged Beijing to relax travel restrictions on Chinese who plan to visit the island country after the presidential and legislative elections on Saturday (Jan. 11).

Taiwan has implemented a host of incentives to prop up the tourism industry and limit fallout from China’s ban on solo travel to Taiwan, effective Aug. 1, 2019. The measure has dealt a blow to island’s leisure industry as Chinese tourists constitute a major share of visitors.

Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), Minister of Transportation and Communications, admitted short-term stimulus measures are not a solution. He called on Beijing to lift the ban on independent travel to Taiwan as the elections draw to a close, wrote China Times on Tuesday (Jan. 7).

The Tourism Bureau first rolled out cash subsidies to promote domestic tourism in eastern and southern parts of the island, in November of 2018, with similar incentives implemented the following year. This helped lure tourists but also sparked concerns about waning interest among travelers if such schemes are no longer available.

According to UDN, Taiwan saw the number of Chinese tourists decrease to around 650 to 1,300 a day in November and December last year, a decade low. Travel agencies expected the downward trend to continue until the new president is sworn in, in May, 2020.