Two major Chinese travel websites, (同程旅遊) and Lvmama Tourism (驢媽媽旅遊), recently released separate research into the travel trends of Chinese tourists.

Taiwan, which last year ranked 7th most popular destination for Chinese tourists, does not appear in the latest lists of the 10 hottest destinations, according to the Chinese-language United Daily News.

According to research by Skyscanner (天巡網), in 2015 Taiwan was the most popular travel destination for Chinese tourists.

Taiwanese travel agencies say it is unusual for Taiwan, long a hot spot for Chinese tourists, not to be in the top 10 tourism attractions. They say Taiwan’s removal may be a warning sign of increased difficulties in cross-Strait tourism.

The Taiwan Strait Tourism Association’s Beijing office says rumors of a ban on Chinese people traveling to Taiwan are untrue. However, the rumors have lowered Chinese people’s willingness to travel across the Strait, the office says.

An employee at one travel agency familiar with cross-Strait tourism reportedly claimed that the Taiwanese government should take the Chinese website rankings seriously.

Lai Chang-yi (賴正鎰), director of the General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China, says the number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan has fallen 20% since June. The reduction is having a serious impact on local businesses, he says, and he suggests the government should take action.

In related news, a Facebook page has sparked controversy after posting a satirical series of scenic photos from Taiwan, with the accompanying text "Welcome to Taiwan, without Chinese!" The photos, which are similar to images used in tourism marketing material, include slogans written in Chinese, English and Japanese, saying Taiwan’s top tourist locations are better without Chinese tourists. Many Chinese netizens left comments under the photos, saying the images are discriminatory, and that they are no longer willing to travel to Taiwan.

Wayne Liu (劉喜臨), deputy director-general of Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, said in response that while he welcomes most unofficial promotion of Taiwan, he did not support derogatory or discriminatory material.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole