Fewer Chinese tours to Taiwan after new law
CNATAIPEI -- Taiwan saw a 30-percent drop in Chinese tour group travelers in the first week of October — a long holiday in mainland China — compared to the same period last year, a phenomenon the Tourism Bureau attributed yesterday to a new law restricting low cost tours.
October 9, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
Only 19,698 Chinese visitors entered Taiwan between the holiday break of Oct. 1-7 due to mainland China's new Tourism Law, which bans operators from offering low-priced or free tours and making up the profits through additional charges or commissions from particular shops, Taiwan's Tourism Bureau said.
The decrease matches industry predictions that the law could bring a 30-50 percent short-term drop in incoming mainland Chinese groups as tour prices rise dramatically. Typical eight-day packages from Southeastern China, for example, have more than doubled and now cost over 6,500 Chinese yuan (US$1,000).
It's not all bad news. Service providers and tourism officials expect that in the long-run, the law will help improve the cross-strait travel market by weeding out low-quality players.
“I think we should take it easy and give it some time,” said tourism official Lin Yen-mei.
Lin said the Tourism Bureau will examine the figures from other countries last week to get ideas on how to help tourism operators overcome the setback in the short term.
She noted that the number of Chinese free independent travelers (FIT) — or those not in a tour group — actually grew to 23,604 over the week, compared with 9,664 last year, indicating a quality-driven uptrend.
Residents of 26 Chinese cities are allowed to visit Taiwan under the FIT program, which kicked off in 2011.