Mainland tourists to Taiwan down 44 pct in October

Updated 2016-11-25 11:30:21 Xinhua

Taiwan saw substantially fewer visitors from the Chinese mainland in October, official data showed Thursday.

The number of mainland visitors slumped 44.3 percent in October from a year ago after plummeting 37 percent in September.

The sharp decline did not change the fact that the Chinese mainland remains Taiwan's largest source of inbound visitors.

The number of mainland tourists has plummeted since Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen took office in May.

Mainland visitors are also wary of traveling to the island after a fatal bus fire accident near Taipei in July, which killed 24 mainland tourists.

The business owners who rely on tourism have been struggling to make ends meet as mainland visitors were a major source of income.

The island's transportation authority also said the occupancy rate of cross-Strait flights has fallen to its lowest level since April last year, as a result of fewer mainland visitors.

Despite the decline, the average occupancy rate of cross-Strait flights is higher than other routes.

Authorities estimated that if the number of mainland tourists to Taiwan declines 10 percent this year, the island's service revenue would shrink by 17.8 billion new Taiwan dollars (560 million U.S. dollars), which represents 0.1 percentage point fall in the island's annual economic output.

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