Taiwan says politics should not affect tourism development

Tourism plays an important role in promoting normal and meaningful exchanges, and the development of tourism should not be affected by political factors, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (???) said Wednesday, amid a sharp decline in the number of visitors from China.

Issues relating to tourism should be dealt with from the perspective of tourism, he said, adding that "we welcomes all friends, including those from China, to travel to Taiwan."

His remarks came before workers and representatives in Taiwan's travel industry are scheduled to stage a protest Sept. 12 to demand a better business environment from the government after a recent slide in the number of Chinese tourists coming to the country.

Political factors should not interfere with the development of tourism, he said.

Huang added that the government is making every effort to upgrade the tourism environment and work with the local tourism industry to ensure sustainable development of the industry.

The government is trying to attract tourists to visit Taiwan, Huang said. "We welcome all friends, including those from China, to visit Taiwan," he added.

Cross-Taiwan Strait relations have cooled since President Tsai Ing-wen (???) took office May 20. This is mainly due to China's insistence that the "1992 consensus" remain the political foundation for the development of cross-strait exchanges, and the Tsai administration's reluctance to accept that.

Since the new government took office in Taiwan in May, there has been a 30 percent decline year-on-year in the number of Chinese tourists arriving in group tours to Taiwan, according to Tourism Bureau statistics.

In July alone, Chinese visitor numbers were down 15.3 percent year-on-year, after falling about 12 percent in May and June, the bureau said.

China has been Taiwan's largest source of foreign visitors since 2010, with the number of arrivals reaching a historic high of 4.18 million in 2015.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel