Fewer Mainland Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan before Taiwan election

Less than two weeks before Taiwan’s presidential and legislator election, there is a notable decline in the number of tourists from Mainland China, while the number of Japanese and Hong Kong visitors increased. Owners of hotels, restaurants and guesthouses on major tourism routes told in a recent survey that they have seen a considerable decline in the number of Mainland Chinese tourists.

Earlier reports cited Chinese official’s remark that before January 16th’s election, China would significantly reduce the number of visitors to Taiwan. Mr You, a hotel owner in the city of Taichung says to the reporter that there indeed has been a “notable change” in the number of mainland Chinese tourists, but he thinks there might be more than one reason behind this change.

Mr Zhang, who runs a guesthouse for backpackers, said in the report that although the number of Mainland Chinese tourists declined, his business is not affected since very few Mainland Chinese tourists who come to Taiwan are backpackers. An owner of Bed&Breakfast in the city of Kaohsiung says that fewer Mainland Chinese tourists are staying in his business recently than before, and most of the current Mainland Chinese guests are exchange students who study in Taiwan.

Taiwanese media outlets report that due to the significant decline in the number of Mainland Chinese tourists in Eastern city of Hualien, handicrafts businesses that rely on their consumption have been severely impacted. The United Daily News cited the remarks of the chair of Hualien city’s tourism committee that the Chinese government “does not wish to let too many Chinese come to Taiwan to witness the election and to be influenced by democracy, therefore there would be a 50% decrease at least in the number of mainland Chinese tourists “ and this would impact Taiwan businesses which rely on tourism from mainland China.

However, those business owners being interviewed told BBC Chinese that although they receive fewer customers from Mainland China, the number of tourists from other parts of the world increased remarkably in recent days, especially tourists from Hong Kong and Malaysian Chinese, therefore their income remains balanced and steady.

Observation on tourists’ consumption

In the first three quarters of 2015, Mainland Chinese tourists spend on an average 232.15 US dollars per day, surpasses Japanese visitors. Experts in tourism suggest that Mainland Chinese tourists’ consumption patterns are more reliable, giving hope to many Taiwanese businesses for greater profits.

However, there is remarkably less bulk buying in supermarkets and drug stores by Mainland Chinese tourists recently. In popular restaurants and bookstore, visitors with Cantonese accent appear to be increasing, and many visitors from Hong Kong gather in Taipei’s shopping malls.

Many have commented on the poor manners of some Mainland Chinese tourists, which caused heated controversies in Taiwan, some Taiwanese citizens even demand the government cutting down the number of Mainland Chinese tourists allowed in Taiwan. On the other hand, tourists from Mainland China have also complained against a few unscrupulous Taiwanese businesses that force visitors to shop or compel stores to give discounts and commit other unlawful deeds.

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