TAIPEI, Taiwan – A recent survey conducted by the Tourism Bureau shows that while Chinese tourists spend less on accommodation than they did three years ago, they are spending more on shopping and other expenses.
Statistics from the bureau showed that the accommodation cost for each Chinese tourist has dropped from US$71.43 per day in 2009 to US$44.51 last year. However, the amount that they spent on shopping has risen from US$117.50 daily per person in 2009 to US$159.9 last year.
The total daily expenditure of each Chinese tourist has increased to an average of US$270.31 last year, up from US$234.26 in 2009, the bureau said. It added that Chinese tourists are also spending more on dining, transportation and miscellaneous other costs.
Cheng Ying-huei (鄭瑛惠), deputy director of the bureau’s international affairs division, said that the survey did not differentiate between Chinese tourists who arrive with tour groups and those who arrived as free independent travelers (FITs).
The number of Chinese FITs was under scrutiny recently as media reported that only about 90,000 Chinese FITs have entered Taiwan since June last year, which has generated about NT$4.2 billion (US$140 million) in revenue. The returns did not even meet half of the target estimated by the bureau last year.
In response, Cheng said the bureau suggests that both Taiwan and China lift restrictions set for Chinese FITs, such as the minimum-income requirement.
To attract more FITs, Cheng said that the bureau is working with China Central Television (CCTV) to produce a travel program introducing some of the non-traditional tour arrangements available throughout Taiwan to the Chinese public.
In related news, actor-comedian Rob Schneider is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan with his wife today to promote local tourism.
Schneider is best known among Taiwanese for his movie Deuce Bigalow. He and his wife visited Taiwan last year for their honeymoon, during which the couple ate at Ding Tai Fong and several night markets.
Prior to his marriage, Schneider had also visited Taiwan twice to promote his films.
The bureau said that the couple is scheduled to visit Longshan Temple in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華) to pray for the safe delivery of their baby, due in November.
The couple plans to have their wedding portraits taken in scenic spots along the nation’s northern and northeastern coasts — two of the popular areas to take wedding photographs.
They will also visit Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County, where Schneider is scheduled to ride a bicycle along the bike route around the lake.
“We are glad that our friends [Schneider and his wife] love Taiwan and choose to have their second honeymoon here,” Tourism Bureau Director-General David Hsieh (謝謂君) said.
“We believe more international tourists would be drawn to visit Taiwan after a recommendation by a Hollywood star,” he added.