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The Government Should Pay Greater Attention to the Negative Impact of Chinese Tourism in Taiwan

July 20, 2009

In response to the one-year anniversary of the government’s decision to welcome  Chinese tourists to Taiwan, Democratic Progressive Party acting spokesperson Chuang Sou-Han said on July 3rd that Taiwan’s tourist industry is now almost completely open to Chinese investment. In return, China should uphold the principles of reciprocity and open up to Taiwanese investment. In regards to our government’s appraisal of the benefits of opening Taiwan up to Chinese tourism, we believe that an overly pro-China approach may cause tourists from other countries to feel discriminated against, or have the effect of discouraging them from coming to Taiwan.

Chuang Sou-Han said that until now, approximately thirty-six hundred thousand Chinese tourists have visited Taiwan. However, recently the number of Taiwanese tourists visiting China  has reached around 3.5 million – a near ten-fold difference. The series of problems that Chinese tourists have caused during their travels to Taiwan –  including disputes over tickets, reception, transportation, food, and accommodation, as well as more serious issues regarding the debt triangle (ticket purchase debt, group travel debt, and visa debt) – have caused a great deal of trouble in Taiwan. Many travel agencies have noted that these travelers often delay payments for more than three months.

Chuang Sou-Han points out that according to figures published in May by the Taiwanese Tourism Bureau, countries such as Japan, Korea, the USA, Malaysia, and Singapore remain the biggest sources of tourists to Taiwan. Yet nowadays, the  number of tourists from each of these countries has decreased between 10% to 40%. This implies that the opening of Taiwan to Chinese tourists has had a negative impact on not only domestic tourism, but also tourism from other countries.

He further expressed that although the Ministry of Economic Affairs made the tourism industry almost completely open to cross-Strait investment, China’s travel industry, tourism industry, domestic transportation, and other tourist-related industries have shown no signs of opening up to Taiwanese investors.

The acting spokesperson also reminded the Ma government about the importance of engaging in complete and holistic planning, rather than focusing on and over-exaggerating the benefits brought by Chinese tourists. As it welcomes Chinese tourists to Taiwan, the government should also be increasingly cautious about the possible negative impact of these new policies.

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