New law not keeping Chinese away: experts
CNATAIPEI -- A new travel law China launched on Tuesday should have only a limited impact on the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan over its weeklong National Day holiday that kicked off the same day, tourism insiders said.
October 2, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
“Statistics showed that interested Chinese tourists are not put off by higher travel fees under the new law,” said Chen Chiung-hua, deputy chief of the Tourism Bureau's hotel, travel and training division.
Between 5,000 and 7,000 Chinese tourists have arrived in Taiwan per day during the first few days of the holiday week, about the same level as last year, according to bureau data.
Under China's Tourism Law, travel groups are prohibited from luring tourists with low-priced tours and then making money by receiving commissions from shops to which they bring their tour groups or by requiring additional fees for certain services.
The law has already resulted in significant price hikes. A typical eight-day-seven-night tour package for tourists from southeastern China, for example, has risen to between 6,500 Chinese yuan (US$1,000) and 7,000 yuan from the previous 3,000 yuan during the peak travel season.
China's overall tourist numbers arriving in Taiwan over the next week could fall 10 percent from the record 33,748 Chinese group tourists who visited Taiwan between Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 last year, the Travel Agent Association of the Republic of China predicted.
“The price factor is not a major concern for those determined to take advantage of the long holiday break to travel,” said association secretary-general Roget Hsu.
Once the peak travel period ends, however, the new law could take a much harsher toll, Hsu said, predicting that the local tourism sector could suffer a 30 to 50 percent decLINE in sales from the inbound Chinese tourist market by the end of the year.
The transitional period could last until Chinese New Year, when travel demand surges again, but both Chen and Hsu agreed that the new law will eventually benefit the cross-Taiwan Strait travel market. “The law will help weed out rogue players in the tourism sector,” Chen said.
Taiwan attracted a record 2.6 million visitors from China in 2012. During the first eight months of this year, about 1.9 million Chinese visitors came to Taiwan.