Cabinet to help operators hit hard by declining Chinese tourist numbers

The Executive Yuan said Monday that it will pool resources to help operators and areas seriously affected by the rapid decline in Chinese tourist numbers in recent months.

In response to a massive march by tourism workers calling for "survival and a job" that day, Cabinet spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (???) noted that Premier Lin Chuan (??) has agreed to four measures broached by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications last week to deal with the impact of the declining numbers.

The measures include tapping multiple sources of tourists, expanding the tourism market for local people, unveiling new packages to stabilize the Chinese market, and bailing out affected industries and helping them transform.

Tung said Lin has instructed that tangible measures be taken to help tide operators and areas over their difficulties.

The cities and counties most affected include Chiayi, Taitung and Hualien counties, and Chiayi, Taoyuan, Kaohsiung and New Taipei cites. The affected sectors include travel agencies, hotels, shops, tour bus operators, tour guides, car rentals and taxis, and private B&Bs.

Meanwhile, amid worries that the number of Chinese tourist arrivals could set a new low during an upcoming Oct. 1-7 holiday in China, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said Monday that the actual figure will only become clear in early October.

Many Chinese people take the opportunity of the weeklong holiday to travel to Taiwan, and the agency used to be very busy handling applications from Chinese tour groups, with a waiting period of about one month.

This year, however, no waiting is needed, and applications can be approved the same day.

According to NIA data, the number of Chinese independent tourists and group tourists between Sept. 1-9 reached 29,824 and 16,435, respectively, compared with last year's figures of 14,512 and 31,197.

The number of independent Chinese tourist rose by 34.5 percent, while the group tourists dropped by 30.9 percent compared with the same period of last year, the NIA said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel