Thu, Oct 06, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Chinese tourist numbers down by 19%

LIMITS:Chinese visitors to Japan or South Korea do not face the same restrictions as those coming to Taiwan, a legislator said, adding that it is a show of malicious intentions

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Transportation and Communications Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) said the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan is estimated to have dropped by about 19 percent this year, adding that the number of international tourists increased by 6.4 percent between January and August, compared with the same period last year.

Hochen gave the estimate during a briefing at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said the nation had about 7.14 million international visitors between January and August this year, up 6.4 percent compared with the same time last year.

Although the nation has had double-digit growth in tourist numbers from Japan and South Korea, and a steady increase in the number of tourists from ASEAN members, Lin asked if the ministry had estimated the decrease in the number of Chinese tourists this year.

“We estimate that the nation has received about 19 percent fewer Chinese tourists this year, which translates to about 800,000 people” Hochen said.

Lin cited “political reasons” for Chinese tourists having stopped coming to Taiwan.

Lin asked if Hochen he had seen an advertisement shown in China that encourages people to visit counties or cities in Taiwan governed by pan-blue camp commissioners or city mayors.

Hochen said that he had heard about the advertisement and was told it has been taken down.

DPP Legislator Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) said China does not impose restrictions on tourists going to Japan or South Korea which is evidence of malicious intentions.

Cheng said that the advertisement featured mainly low-cost tours with questionable service quality, in which a person spends about NT$20,000 to visit attractions in these counties over six days.

Meanwhile, Cheng and People First Party Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) voiced concerns over Tigerair Taiwan’s financial losses over the past three years.

They said that China Airlines (CAL) owns 90 percent of Tigerair Taiwan in a joint venue with Singapore Airlines, but does not have a say about terminating its operations.

CAL management who signed the contract with Singapore Airlines should be held accountable for such unfair terms of agreement, Lin said.

Legislators also discussed EVA Air’s decision to land dozens of flights at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport during Typhoon Megi on Tuesday last week.

Lee said it is the pilots who make the decision if they can land the airplane safely in any given situation, but in this case EVA’s higher management overrode the decisions of the pilots.

Civil Aeronautics Administration Director-General Lin Kuo-shian (林國顯) said that air traffic controllers provide pilots with information so that they can decide if they want to land, including ground wind speed, lateral wind speed, runway and distance buffering between their flights and previous flights on the runway.

“EVA apparently held a positive assessment of the landing conditions,” Lin Kuo-shian said, adding that other airlines held conservative views of the conditions on the same day.

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