Wed, Mar 02, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Chang denies fall in Chinese tourist numbers

NUMBERS GAME:While the past two months saw a drop in the number of Chinese group travelers, the number of independent travelers increased, the premier said

By Chang Hsiao-ti  /  Staff reporter

Premier Simon Chang (張善政) yesterday dismissed speculation that the number of Chinese visitors would drop by 30 percent from March 20, saying that tourist numbers have actually increased.

Speaking at a question-and-

answer session in the legislature, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said that during a recent visit to Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), he noticed that about one-third of the shops were empty and he was concerned that a sharp drop in Chinese tourist numbers would have a serious impact on the tourism industry.

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) said he had not heard anything about a Chinese government plan to limit the number of tourists from his Chinese counterpart.

The number of Chinese tourists “depends on market demand and progress in cross-strait relations,” Hsia said, adding that the Tourism Bureau is working on a raft of measures should a drop occur, such as a project to attract more visitors from Southeast Asia.

Statistics showed that the number of Chinese visiting as members of tour groups fell slightly in January and last month, but the number of Chinese traveling independently surged, so the total number actually grew by more than 10 percent over the period, Chang said.

The premier said he agreed with Lai that political and economic interactions between China and Taiwan were different spheres and should be kept separate.

In Beijing, when asked whether China plans to cut the number of tourists allowed to visit Taiwan, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) said that he was not aware of any developments about that “situation now.”

However, “Chinese are concerned about the development of cross-strait relations, especially after May 20,” he said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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