Sun, Jul 05, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Hoteliers lash out at Chinese tourists

By Lee Ying and Lin Hsiu-tzu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Taiwan’s travel industry is being forced to deal with many negative consequences — from damaged hotel equipment to delayed payments — coming from the influx of Chinese tourists, hotel operators and travel agencies said.

One year ago yesterday, Taiwan allowed the first Chinese tourist groups to enter the country on direct cross-strait flights. However, one year later, Taiwan’s hotel and tourism operators have more to complain about than to praise regarding their guests from across the Strait.

Although Chinese tourists did increase occupancy at hotels and boarding houses, they have also caused a lot of trouble, hotel and boarding house operators said at a meeting with Taipei County Tourism and Travel Bureau Director Chin Huei-chu (秦慧珠) earlier this week.

One hotel operator in Taipei County said that after his hotel stopped providing ashtrays following the January ban on smoking indoors, Chinese tourists began smoking in their rooms and putting their cigarettes out on the carpet and wooden tables, or use its bathroom cups as ashtrays.

Another hotel operator said that although his hotel provides ironing boards in the rooms, Chinese tourists often iron their clothes directly on the floor, burning the carpets.

He said that he had even found a missing alarm clock in the electric water boiler in the room one time after guests from China left.

Other hotel operators said that while it was not news that guests often steal towels and slippers, they still found it quite shocking that Chinese tourists would take shoe brushes, shoe horns, hangers and even closet door knobs away.

Hotel and tourism operators said that some of the other complaints they often receive about Chinese tourists include littering, walking around wearing only underwear in public areas and spitting.

Chin said that hotel operators could ask Chinese tourists to leave a deposit when they check in. However, representatives from the Tourism Bureau and travel agencies were opposed to it, saying there was no legal basis for requiring deposits and that it may make Chinese tourists feel that they are targets of discrimination.

China, on the other hand, suggested that hotels should ask travel agencies to pay for damage inflicted by their customers.

Meanwhile, travel agencies complained in a separate meeting that their partner travel agencies in China often write checks payable only after three to six months, causing them tremendous financial pressure.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY LEE WEN-YI

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