Travel retail looks on as Beijing moves to suspend solo travel to Taiwan

By Luke Barras-hill |

Taiwan-visitors-tensionThe Chinese government has announced it is halting solo travel permits to Taiwan in a move that could have consequences for duty free operators in the self-governing island territory.

China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced on Wednesday it was restricting a pilot programme permitting travel by residents from 47 mainland cities, effective today.

Heightened cross-strait relations appear to have influenced the travel curb, a statement implies, with multiple national media outlets suggesting the timing is a political move linked to the Republic of China’s election in January 2020.


The famed Taipei 101 skyscraper is a notable tourist attraction.


It is understood the ban applies only to solo travel, with details of ‘preferential treatment’ covering group and individual visitors (from other countries) due to be announced soon, according to the South China Morning Post quoting Taiwanese Transport Minister Lin Chia-lung.

In the meantime, media speculation on the unfolding situation remains rife and TRBusiness has reached out to travel retail sources in Taiwan to clarify positions and will aim to bring you industry reaction to the news in due course.

The suspension of individual travel comes at a time of bubbling trade tensions between the US and China. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been vocal on its public support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, a situation that has resulted in protracted violence in recent weeks.


According to the latest available May statistics from Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau (MOTC), mainland Chinese visitors accounted for 30.4% (316,168) of Taiwan’s 1,039,758 total visitors. The number of mainland Chinese visitors increased by 65% year-on-year.


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