Taipei 101 seeks alternative revenue to offset fall in China visitors

Taipei--Taipei 101, Taiwan's tallest skyscraper and one of the country's major tourist attractions, is seeking new revenue sources at a time when the number of Chinese tourists is on the decline.

Chou Te-yu (???), chairman of Taipei Financial Center Corp., which owns the Taipei 101 building, said the company has launched a series of initiatives since 2015 in a bid to broaden revenue sources and offset the fall in Chinese tourists, who invariably visit the high rise's Observatory which overlooks the capital city.

Chou said that such initiatives include launching a cafe business and cooperative ventures with skyscrapers in other countries, which are expected to pay off in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

According to Taipei 101, the number of Chinese tourists visiting building's Observatory in the first two months of this year fell 52 percent from a year earlier to 145,000, while the total number of visitors fell 24 percent to 372,000 in the same period.

Chou said the number of Chinese visitors to Taiwan is likely to fall even further, but Taipei 101 is determined to counter the impact of the down trend by looking for new sources of business revenue.

Cross-strait ties have cooled since the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016. Last year, the number of Chinese visitors to Taiwan fell from 4.18 million in 2015 to 3.51 million and market analysts are predicting the figure for 2017 could fall to about 2.1 million.

To counter such unfavorable developments, Chou said, Taipei 101 launched its own 101 Cafe brand at the beginning of the year and is looking to open branches around the island.

To attract more foreign tourists outside China, Chou said Taipei 101 has also signed agreements with the owners of landmark buildings or resorts in other countries to promote bilateral tourism.

Earlier this week, Taipei 101 signed an accord with the owners of Japan's tallest building, the 300-meter Abeno Harukas in Osaka, and the two buildings will host a series of joint tourism activities later this year.

In February, Taipei 101 signed a cooperation agreement with Lotte World Seoul Sky, the tallest building in South Korea, to forge closer business ties.

Before the two recent cooperation agreements, similar accords were inked with the Tokyo Skytree in 2013 and Tobu World Square, a renowned tourist spot in eastern Japan, in 2015.

Chou said the company is targeting Tokyo Tower for its next agreement and tourism alliance.

In 2016, Taipei 101 was awarded the top honor available from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an international green building certification program, achieving the highest level of Platinum in the Operation and Maintenance of an Existing Building, after receiving a similar award in 2011.

Chou said the LEED awards have encouraged other building owners in Taiwan to want to learn from Taipei 101 how to build an energy efficient building and related consulting services are expected to bring in more revenue.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel