Fewer tourists an opportunity
China’s new policy limiting the number of visitors to Taiwan intends to punish the newly elected pan-green government. The rationale is that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) did not recognize outright the “one China” policy that her predecessor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) so happily endorsed. Undoubtedly, it will affect the economy in the short term, but in the long run it is a great opportunity for the tourism industry.
In recent years, cheap group tours from China have swarmed every significant, beautiful site in Taiwan to the degree that local residents now avoid them — places like the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101, YeHliu Geological Park, Sun Moon Lake, Taroko Gorge and Kenting.
Local residents used to proudly take their families for day trips and show off these places to their guests from abroad. No longer. They are put off by the disobedient, rude and disorderly conduct they see there from the crowds of Chinese.
Some visitors even relieve themselves wherever they like.
In fact, these places have become so packed and chaotic that tourists are fighting among themselves for toilets and viewing spots, in souvenir shops and in restaurants.
In recent years, this has occurred not only in Taiwan, but wherever Chinese tour groups go, such as Japan, Europe and Hong Kong.
In Japan, some hotels and businesses post signs such as “Chinese not welcome.”
Hotel Wo in Kaohsiung has taken this exact approach as reported recently in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper.
To be fair I should say that individual tourists from China are as good as ones from other nations.
It is apparent that Chinese visitors overwhelm the capacity of scenic areas, turning them into mob scenes. The slowdown is a blessing in disguise. This is a golden opportunity for the tourism industry to upgrade and seek quality tourists rather than quantity.
Two years ago, I took my family on a tour of central Taiwan, traveling from the west coast to the east coast, as we have done two previous times. We were saddened to see several huge hotels in serious rundown condition.
Since business is so good, but the profit margins small, they have let maintenance slide. It is time to rebuild and upgrade these facilities. This opportunity should not be missed.
Sawyer analysis masterful
Kudos to Wayne Pajunen for an insightful and beautifully articulated analysis of where we are (“CCP’s Tom Sawyer ploy nears end,” July 20, page 8).
He made the argument at exactly the right time, masterfully using Tom Sawyer as an analogy to make his statement simple and compelling.
Now the rest of us must do our part by giving maximum circulation of links to copies of Pajunen’s article among our friends and correspondents.
For the times they are a-changin’.
New Taipei City
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