Taiwan still attracting Chinese businesspeople

Staff Writer, with CNA  / 

Thu, Mar 09, 2017 - Page 4

Although fewer Chinese tourists have visited Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) assumed office in May last year, the nation is emerging as an attractive destination for Chinese business travelers as the Chinese economy undergoes a structural transition, a travel agent in Shanghai said on Tuesday.

Statistics show that this year the number of Chinese tourists fell by 671,000, or 18 percent, from the previous year. From May to December last year there were 739,925 fewer Chinese tourists, a drop of 33 percent.

According to travel agents in China, many of their customers have been discouraged from visiting Taiwan by government officials.

The decline in numbers initially affected tour groups, but the number of independent travelers has also declined after 24 Chinese were killed in a tour bus fire, allegedly deliberately started by the bus driver, in September last year, said Lin Yihui (林怡慧), general manager of Shanghai-based Tian Hui Tour.

Another tour bus crash in Taipei last month which killed 33 Taiwanese has raised serious doubts about the safety of traveling in Taiwan, she said.

Despite the unfavorable atmosphere, the skills demonstrated by traditional craftspeople in Taiwan remain a draw for Chinese businesspeople on fact-finding tours, she said.

Among some of the most popular destinations are Wood Sculpture Street in Miaoli County’s Sanyi Township (三義) and Snake Kiln in Nantou County’s Shueili Township (水里), she said.