More Taiwanese visited foreign countries than foreigners visited Taiwan in the first nine months this year, according to figures published yesterday.
From January to last month, 2.57 million foreigners visited Taiwan, up 4.4 percent year-on-year, the Central News Agency (CNA) quoted the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics as saying.
Among the foreign arrivals, 1 million were tourists, up 10 percent, and 710,000 were business visitors, up 0.7 percent.
But during the same period, 6.6 million Taiwanese went overseas on sightseeing or business trips, making Taiwan one of the few countries where more people go abroad than foreigners come to visit, the statistics office said.
Among the Taiwanese going abroad, half of them -- or 3.3 million -- visited Hong Kong and Macau to travel on to China as Taiwan bans sea and air links with China.
Taiwan has been promoting its tourism industry, but the effort has been hindered by Taipei's five-decade ban on official contacts with China, including prohibiting Chinese from entering the country except for special purposes like family reunion or as invited guests.
Some analysts have argued that Taiwan's tourism industry can never take off unless it opens its doors to tourists from China.