Thu, Dec 03, 2009 - Page 11 News List

China tourism revenue far less than expected: survey

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Tourism revenue from Chinese visitors over the past months have been far below the expectations of the Tourism Bureau, with the number of visitors and their level of spending in Taiwan falling short of estimates, a survey conducted by the Institute for Business Development (IBD, 商業發展研究院) said.

IBD vice president Tu Tze-chen (杜紫宸) said at a press briefing yesterday that based on the monthly average of between 70,000 and 80,000 arrivals from China, it was estimated that the total for this year would be about 900,000, way below the Tourism Bureau’s forecast of 1.6 million visitors.

Through interviews with 28 experienced tour guides and the observations of IBD researchers who posed as tour guides to collect information on tourists’ consumption behavior, the institute drafted an analysis on the benefits to the tourism sector from the opening to Chinese visitors.

The report indicates that, to the disappointment of the travel sector, Chinese tourists each spend an average of NT$35,244 for an eight-day, seven-night stay in Taiwan, which means that revenues from Chinese tourists this year may not reach the Tourism Bureau’s projected NT$30 billion, which is based on an estimated average spending figure of NT$62,601 per person.

IBD researcher Lee Chu-yuan (李竺姮) said the average expenditure of Chinese tourists was far less than expected, partly because of cutthroat competition among travel agencies.

With the itineraries of low-­budget tour groups mostly confined to night markets and cursory tours of scenic spots such as Alishan and Sun Moon Lake, Chinese tourists have hardly had the opportunity to appreciate Taiwan’s attractions and culture and therefore might not come again, Lee said.

The IBD analysis shows that 70 percent of the Chinese tourists to Taiwan over the past few months were people from rural areas, over 40 years of age, looking forward to fulfilling a dream of “going to Taiwan,” and expecting intensive tours during which they would see a wide variety of places.

Tu said Taiwan’s tourism sector should help Chinese tourists develop an appreciation for delicacies like Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) dumplings and for music stores, coffee shops, wineries and the tea houses of the Eslite (誠品) bookstore chain.

He said that both the government and the tourism sector should target white-collar workers and young people in China and design theme tours of special interest to them.

As many Taiwanese corporations are now preparing to hold year-end parties for their employees, Tu said, corporations with branches in China should consider inviting their Chinese employees to attend the celebrations in Taiwan. Such a gesture of company unity can also serve as a type of tourism promotion, he said.

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