Fri, Jun 20, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Taipei 101 eager to welcome Chinese tourists next month

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

With Taiwan set to receive an influx of Chinese tourists next month, Taipei 101 is making preparations to cash in on Chinese “big spenders” expected to join cross-strait tours.

Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait sealed a deal last Friday to launch direct weekend charter flights and allow Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan from July 18.

In an interview with CNA yesterday, Laser Liu (劉道禎), vice president of the Taipei Financial Center Corp (台北金融大樓公司), the owner of Taipei 101, said the landmark building is looking forward to the arrival of Chinese tourists.

“Nearly all tourists consider Taipei 101 … a must-visit place,” Liu said. “I believe we stand at a more favorable position than other department stores to attract more Chinese tourists.”

He said the shopping mall at Taipei 101 has started printing pamphlets in simplified Chinese characters and training employees to recognize the characters, as well as learning idioms and phrases that Chinese people use.

Some analysts believe that, as with Hong Kong, Chinese tourists will express a special interest in buying luxury goods as they are cheaper in Taiwan because of higher tariffs in China.

Liu said the skyscraper draws 3,000 tourists to its observatory platform every day. He estimated the number would double from next month.

“Visiting the top of the world is our best selling point and it also separates Taipei 101 from other department stores, as tourists are drawn specifically to that,” he said. “This is an all-in-one place to satisfy every expectation of the Chinese tourist.”

Taipei 101 estimates that its revenue will increase by 20 percent with the arrival of Chinese tourists.

“This is a conservative estimate,” Liu said.

Taipei 101 was named as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World by Newsweek magazine in 2006 and one of the Seven Wonders of Engineering by the Discovery Channel in 2005.

The building was overtaken in terms of height in July last year by the Burj Dubai in the United Arab Emirates upon the completion of that building’s 141st floor. The title of “world’s tallest building” still rests with Taipei 101, though, as international architectural standards define a building as a structure capable of being fully occupied. The Burj Dubai will claim the title when construction finishes next year.

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