Malaysian Tourists Flock to China, Taiwan

Asia’s tourism giants appear to be on the rebound, but not because of the tourists we’re used to. An impressive twenty-eight percent increase in the amount of Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia has the country’s tourism board ecstatic at its marketing efforts. Malaysia is one of several East Asian states to have invested heavily in tourism advertising over the past five years, particularly in China.

The country is also home to a large domestic Chinese population. While Malaysia remains under the control of its native Malay government, the country’s large Chinese population and consistent culture make it a simple holiday destination for Chinese citizens. With a semi-shared language and similar customs, the Southeast Asian country is becoming more popular with package tourists.

It’s an improvement that’s bilateral – China’s borders have seen an increase in Malaysian visitors over the past year, many of whom visit the giant country to see family and friends. The countries share a great deal of cultural similarities, making the somewhat lengthy journey one that’s steeped with familiar sights and customs. Arrivals between the two countries recently hit one-million.

Malaysia’s increasingly wealthy population is also taking kindly to Taiwan, with direct holidays on the island relatively inexpensive due to low-cost fares and package deals. While businesses fear the relationship between Taipei and Kuala Lumpur could worsen economic development with mainland China, most economists are sceptical that increased tourism could affect Chinese investment.

As the two country’s have both experienced rapid economic growth over the last two decades, the increase in tourism spending could pave the way for further investment and development. China has previously voiced its interest in cooperating with ASEAN countries on tourism and infrastructure projects – a potential multi-billion dollar partnership between the high-growth nations.

PRC Supports Travel to Taiwan, Needs Time to Prepare Official Policy

Relations between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan have typically been tense. The large communist country – the world’s largest by population – has generally grouped Taiwan inside of its own borders, claiming that the country’s territory belongs to China and its government is operating within the country illegally. Taiwan, on the other hand, has kept its independence from the PRC.

Surprisingly, a new policy supporting individual travel to the island nation has emerged, granting residents of mainland China the opportunity to travel to Taiwan alone. While the Chinese national government is not supportive of Taiwan’s efforts to remain independent, it wishes to bridge gaps in the two countries’ cultures by encouraging travel to the island.

Chinese citizens are currently banned from travelling to Taiwan alone, due to government fears that they may remain on the island illegally. Group tours are available for Chinese citizens, giving those from the country’s eastern regions the opportunity to visit Taiwan on a limited visa. Taipei recently held a travel fair encouraging Chinese tourism, which attracted over 100,000 mainland visitors.

A new policy for Sino-Taiwan travel is on the way, although government officials believe it could be some time before anything resembling a complete bill is passed. Due to China’s rapid economic development, more citizens than ever are gaining an interest in international travel. Tours to Hong Kong and Macau, the country’s two Special Economic Regions, is increasing every year.

For Taiwan, the link in tourism reflects an increasingly friendly turn in relations between the two countries. Cross-strait tourism operators are positive that the change will bring benefits to Taiwan and China, claiming that an increase in cultural understanding will pave the wave for cross-strait economic partnerships and an increase in tourism revenues.