Average credit card spending on domestic travel in Taiwan in the first half of this year halved from a year earlier to NT$5,343 (US$181.20) per transaction amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Credit Card Center said in a report.
Average credit card spending on travel and hotels in January fell 17 percent annually to NT$9,607 and plunged 40 percent annually to NT$5,606 in February, when COVID-19 began to spread, the report said.
The decline accelerated to 70 percent in March, when Taiwan reported 330 new COVID-19 infections, with average spending falling to NT$3,352, it said.
The fall in spending bottomed out in April, with a 75 percent annual drop to NT$2,807, the report said.
Average spending improved to NT$3,347 and NT$3,989 in May and June respectively in light of a slowing outbreak in Taiwan, although the figures were still down 72 percent and 63 percent annually respectively, it said.
The tourism industry in the six special municipalities sustained a more severe blow from the pandemic, as the average credit card spending there fell more than the national average.
This could be attributed to people refraining from traveling to crowded cities to avoid the novel coronavirus, the report said.
Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung, the cities with the three highest levels of credit card spending on travel, saw annual spending retreat 53 percent, 67 percent and 52 percent respectively in the first half, the report added.
Meanwhile, average spending in Yilan, Hualien and Taitung counties registered milder drops in the first five months before regaining momentum in June, which could be attributed to people preferring wide spaces amid the outbreak, the report said.
Taitung was the only city where the number of credit card transactions on travel grew year-on-year for six months in a row, the report said.
“Overall, it seems that demand for local travel has recovered starting from June, but people have changed their appetite, favoring outdoor places,” the report said.
The center in a separate report said that people aged 40 to 45 in June spent a combined NT$1.84 billion on local travel using their credit cards, the highest of all age groups, followed by people aged 35 to 40 with NT$1.76 billion and people aged 45 to 50 with NT$1.59 billion.
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