Since the opening up of the Taiwan tourism market to the mainland travelers in 2008, people that were visiting the island from mainland China spent at least 15.68 billion dollars.
According to the figures released by the authorities from both the mainland and the island, it is estimated that people native to Taiwan spent about 27.7 billion US dollars in mainland China over the last five years. The leader of the Association for Tourism Exchange Across the Taiwan Strait, Shao Qiwei, advised the mainland and the island to strengthen tourism exchange and cooperation for the benefit of both sides. Shao was speaking at the conference for exchange of tourism across the strait that was recently held.
Taiwan happens to be the number three source of all people that visit the mainland as tourists while the mainland makes the largest contributor of tourists to the island. Approximately 6.2 million tourists from the mainland have visited Taiwan over the last five years. The daily mainland tourists' spending also increased from 93.75 dollars in 2008 to 163.91 US dollars in 2011.
Speaking during the conference, Shao urged the two sides of the Strait to improve the cooperation in investment in tourism and also insurance. He also urged both sides to improve the overall quality of services offered to the tourists.
In July 2008, the Taiwanese authorities gave a boost to the exchange tourism sector by lifting the total ban on travel to the island. It took time for that step to have positive results; the mainland residents could only travel to the island for business and academic trips, tightly monitored tour groups, and other trips to visit family.
Taiwan Island opened its doors to the mainland tourists on June 28, 2011. However, only Shanghai, Beijing and Xiamen city residents were allowed to visit the island at that time. 13 more cities were added to the list on April 1, 2013.