Taiwan has measures in place to deal with the precipitous fall-off in the number of Chinese tourists in the wake of increasingly strained cross-strait relations, a Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said Thursday.
Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正), deputy head of the Cabinet-level MAC, said at a news conference that the government “has prepared for the worst” and has countermeasures to deal with the likely continued low number of Chinese tourists next year.
Chiu was responding to questions about the sharp decline in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan over the year.
He reiterated that the government has not changed its position that Chinese tourists are welcome to visit Taiwan and remains committed to improving the quality of the local tourism sector.
Chiu also expressed regret at the politicization of cross-strait tourism.
In response to the decline in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan, he said the government is working to encourage local tourism by urging Taiwanese people to take holidays in Taiwan.
According to National Immigration Agency (NIA) figures, Chinese visitor arrivals in Taiwan from Dec. 1-27 were 44 percent lower than in the same period last year, with the number of group tourists dropping by 50.4 percent year-on-year.
From January to Dec. 27, Chinese tourist arrivals declined 18.5 percent year-on-year, with the number visiting in tour groups falling 29.9 percent, according to the NIA figures.
Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May, there has been a steady decline in the number of Chinese tourists, likely caused by the deterioration in cross-strait relations.
Cross-strait relations have cooled since Tsai took office on May 20, due mainly to China’s insistence that the “1992 consensus” is the sole political foundation for the development of cross-strait exchanges and the Tsai administration’s refusal to accept that precondition.
The “1992 consensus” refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which then had a Kuomintang (KMT) government, that there is only one China, with both parties free to interpret what that means.
Chiu said that the Taiwan government remains open to talks with their Chinese counterparts to improve cross-strait ties.
Since May 20, the Tsai government has said on several occasions that it respects the historical fact of the 1992 cross-strait meeting and looks forward to promoting cross-strait ties based on the existing foundation, according to Chiu.
“We hope mainland China will look squarely at our statements, try to understand and respond accordingly,” Chiu said.
Meanwhile, MAC head Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月) recently said that her agency is studying a new consensus that could replace the “1992 consensus” in an effort to break the impasse in relations with China.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel