The Tourism Bureau on Monday said it opposes a series of online advertisements that appear to discriminate against Chinese tourists.
A series of advertisements entitled Taiwan without Chinese tourists that have been circulating on social media have triggered anger from Chinese netizens, who say they are discriminatory against travelers from China.
The online ads, with Mandarin, English and Japanese headlines, say that the quality of tourism at popular scenic spots such as Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) in Nantou County and Alishan (阿里山) in Chiayi County has improved as a result of a decline in the number of Chinese tourists.
Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Wayne Liu (劉喜臨) said the ads are not official and that his bureau would be more than happy to see the public promote tourism in a different, but not discriminatory, way.
He said that the bureau had instructed its Shanghai office to make a clarification and to extend a welcome to tourists from “all countries” around the globe.
“Tourism is a happy industry, and it should use positive ways to promote Taiwan. Otherwise, it would only harm Taiwan,” Liu said.
Figures released by the Mainland Affairs Council showed that the number of Chinese tourists visiting as members of tour groups dropped 30 percent in May and last month compared with the same period last year, but independent Chinese travelers increased by 10 percent and 20 percent respectively over the two month period.
In recent years, China has become the biggest source of inbound travelers.
Last year, 4.18 million out of a total of 10.4 million visitors to Taiwan came from China, and most of them came in groups organized by state-run travel agencies.
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