Thu, Mar 19, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Legislators criticize Amway tour group

MASSIVE MEDIA KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun said Chinese tourists were getting too much attention given that most foreign tourists come from other countries

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of an Amway China employee tour that arrived in Taiwan visit a trendy shopping district in Taipei on Monday.

PHOTO: WALLY SANTANA, AP

A Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmaker yesterday criticized the behavior of Chinese tourists and local media yesterday, calling the visitors’ behavior while shopping “arrogant,” but slamming the coverage of the tour groups as excessive.

KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) told a Transportation Committee meeting that she had been enraged by the detailed coverage of a visit by Amway China employees on an incentive trip to Taiwan. Too much coverage was being given to them, she said.

“I was particularly upset when I saw that, during this period, a Chinese fishery patrol boat was dispatched to the South China Sea and claimed one of the biggest islands in the area as Chinese territory,” she said.

“Chinese tourists seemed to think they had arrived at a wild frontier where you can do whatever you want,” Huang said, adding that she had seen footage of a Chinese woman climbing on a rock in Taroko Gorge to take a photograph despite warning signs prohibiting such behavior.

She reminded Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) that the government, in its rush to promote Chinese tourism, should not forget about tourists from other countries. As an example, she said that on one High-Speed Rail trip she took, the business class cabin was full of Japanese tourists.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuo Wen-cheng (郭玟成) was critical of what he said was the outrageous behavior of Chinese tourists. Kuo said that he wanted to curse when he saw TV footage of the Amway group.

“The way they spent was meant to show off … And taking off their shoes while visiting a national scenic area? Come on!” Kuo said, although he did not say specifically where the barefoot incident had occurred.

Noting that the Amway cruise had only stopped at Keelung, Taichung and Hualien ports, he suggested that the group visit Kaohsiung and let the Taiwanese there “teach them some manners.”

Other legislators, however, disagreed with their colleagues’ descriptions of Chinese tourists as “arrogant” or “classless.”

KMT Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said seeing the Amway employees reminded him of Taiwanese tourists 20 years ago, who did exactly the same thing when they traveled overseas.

KMT legislators Tsao Erh-chang (曹爾忠) and Chu Fong-chi (朱鳳芝), along with DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), also spoke in the visitors’ defense.

“Would we call someone who spends that much money ‘an arrogant tourist’ if they were from Europe or North America?” Chu said.

Tien said that she had attended an event in Hsinyi District celebrating the 50th anniversary of Tibet’s National Uprising Day and saw a bunch of people across the street watching the event. She said she thought the onlookers were Chinese tourists, since not too many locals had paid attention to the anniversary.

“The visit of Chinese tourists is not necessarily a bad thing,” she said. “If China is aiming to become a great nation, then it has to learn to listen to and respect those with different opinions.”

Responding to the complaints, Mao said that he hoped that the media would treat Chinese tourists like any other foreign tourists.

“The majority of our overseas tourists are from Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries. Tourists from China are only a small part,” he said.

“Some issues have occurred as they [the Amway tour] came in such a large group within a short period of time,” Mao said. “We will try to communicate about these problems with the local travel agencies and tour guides.”

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