Wed, May 13, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Kaohsiung protests over flood of Chinese tourists

By Ko Yo-hao  /  Staff reporter

Chinese tourists exit tour buses to visit Siziwan at the gate of National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung on May 3.

Photo: Chang Chung-i, Taipei Times

Residents of the Hamasen area (哈瑪星) in Kaohsiung yesterday protested at a public hearing with city officials over Chinese tourists to the Sizihwan Scenic Area (西子灣), saying the surge of visitors has disrupted traffic, while business at local stores continues to suffer.

Chinese tourists are like “locusts,” because they arrive in swarms, Hamasen resident Lin King-li (林金利) said, adding that many litter, urinate and defecate on the streets.

He criticized the city government’s tourism policy, which focuses on boosting the number of Chinese visitors, saying that local businesses are not making any more profit from the increased tourism.

If the situation continues, Taiwan could become the next Hong Kong, he said.

Tourists do not necessarily bring revenue to a business, National Sun Yat-sen University educator Yu Chien-yuan (余建源) said.

He said the situation in Sizihwan is evidence that Chinese travel agencies that offer bargain packages do not boost tourism income, as the agencies take their clients dining and shopping only at stores they are affiliated with.

As a result, not only are people not receiving the revenues they were promised, the city has to use taxpayers’ money to clean up the mess caused by Chinese tourists, while Chinese businessesprofit.

Members from the Hamasen Vision Alliance and several other self-help groups said that Chinese visitors have degraded residents’ quality of life.

Meanwhile, the Kaohsiung City Government said that it would limit tour buses from 3pm to 7pm, starting on Sunday.

Bus access to the Sizihwan Scenic Area is to be capped at 15 vehicles every 20 minutes, it said.

Residents at the hearing called the move a “band-aid.”

Kaohsiung City Councilor Lee Chiao-ju (李喬如) said that Sizihwan is better without Chinese tourists if all they do is “pee and litter,” while Kaohsiung City Councilor Chien Huan-tsung (簡煥宗) called on the city’s Tourism Bureau to prepare a report on tourist-related problems.

He urged the city government to establish a committee of residents and academics to work out a long-term mitigation plan.

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