Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Taiwan is fighting Chinese travel bans with new plans to bring in more international tourists.
Beijing's decision to suspend individual travel permits for its citizens headed to Taiwan in July is expected to lead to a precipitous drop in Chinese tourism to Taiwan, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported Wednesday.
Taipei's Ministry of Transportation and Communications said Wednesday the government will roll out a "four-pronged plan" to make up for a loss of inbound mainland Chinese tourism.
China's travel ban could result in a decline of 400,000 travelers in the second half of 2019, according to the ministry.
In July, Hong Kong's Apple Daily estimated about 700,000 independent Chinese travelers will not be able to visit Taiwan in the second half of 2019, resulting in $125 million of lost revenue.
China began to allow Chinese to travel solo to Taiwan in 2011 as part of a program that would allow only Chinese residents of 47 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, to travel independently.
The Taiwanese government is planning to streamline the visa application process for international visitors to Taiwan and extend visa-free privileges to holders of Indonesian e-passports.
Taipei also plans to subsidize international airlines so they may operate charter flights to Taiwan. South Korean airlines, for example, will be supported in their sales of special fares for first-time independent visitors, according to CNA.
China is penalizing Taiwan at a time when Beijing has blamed Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen for worsening cross-strait relations.
Tsai's approval ratings have been improving in the wake of the protests in neighboring Hong Kong.
The South China Morning Post reported ordinary Taiwanese are concerned about the loss of freedoms for Hong Kongers.
"It is the future they are fighting for and the [Hong Kong] extradition bill just happens to be the last straw, as many Hong Kongers have perceived that they are going to lose their freedom that they have been used to for years," Aki Wu, a sports gear supplier in Taipei, told the Post.
Rallies in Taiwan are growing in support of Hong Kong protesters.