Gatwick expands long haul network to 60 routes; adds new China Airlines service

London Gatwick, the UK’s second largest airport, has said that it has expanded its long haul network with the addition of a new China Airlines service to Taipei, providing UK businesses with key links to global markets.

The new service to Taipei, Taiwan takes Gatwick’s long haul network to 60 routes – the world’s largest long haul network for a single runway airport. Operating four times a week, the new China Airlines service will start on December 1, along with the other new long haul routes announced from Gatwick this year including Buenos Aires, Singapore, Denver, Seattle, Kigali and Vancouver.

Guy Stephenson, chief commercial officer, Gatwick Airport, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome China Airlines to Gatwick as part of our flourishing long haul network.

‘The airport is increasingly connecting the UK to more and more destinations in all four corners of the globe including in China, the wider Far East, Africa, South America and destinations across the US.

‘Given the current political climate, these global connections will provide UK businesses with vital trading links and will help them get goods to important new markets. We also stand ready to build a new runway to help drive further growth should the Government give us the green light to proceed.’

According to the UK Government, nearly 300 UK companies are currently located in Taiwan in financial and business services, ICT, telecommunications, infrastructure, environmental technology, creative industries and marine industries, with around 180 Taiwanese companies also based in the UK. Nearly 30 percent of all Taiwanese who study overseas do so in the UK, the airport noted.

In addition, Taiwanese tourism to the UK has risen sharply since the lifting of the visa regime for visits of under six months in 2009, the airport added.

Taiwan expects wave of tourists for Moon Festival

Taiwan is expecting a significant number of tourists for its Moon Festival.

Authorities are busy preparing facilities for tourists arriving for the festival, especially visitors from the mainland. It is expected that more than 200,000 mainland tourists will visit Taiwan during the festival period. The festival, which is to be held in the middle of autumn, has already received plenty of prior attention from tourists who have been booking their tickets for the event in advance.

Travel agencies have reported an increase in bookings for the festival, with a growing number of people eager to take part in the festivities, especially the barbecue events. This year, the influx of Chinese tourists is expected to be higher because the state has allowed people to travel individually to Taiwan. For many Chinese, Taiwan is high on their list of places to visit, and the relaxation of the rules has provided them with the opportunity.

In order to capitalise on the demand, many travel companies are now offering barbecue events on their itineraries. Travel companies are also offering traditional dinners, with eating-out experiences and dining events near Sun Moon Lake, a favourite pastime for Chinese travellers. Tourists are also keen to take part in activities, such as releasing sky lanterns in the Pingxi District of New Taipei City.

With the increase in demand, rates for travel and the overall cost for Taiwan-bound trips for the upcoming holiday have increased by 5 percent. The infrastructure in Taiwan is also being improved to cater for more tourists.

This year, the festival falls on September 30.


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.