Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Chinese Minister in Taiwan for Meeting on Tourism

The Financial Times reports on the visit of a Chinese Minister to Taiwan to discuss tourism.

However flowery the prose, Mr Shao is not a poet. In fact, he is tourism minister of China and his visit is all about business. He is on a 10-day trip, "inspecting" Taiwan's most famous travel destinations and its tourist infrastructure. Taiwan's government believes this means Beijing is preparing to make the island an official tourist destination for mainland citizens.

Thar's gold in them thar furriners:

But analysts believe the real economic boost would come from Chinese tourists' well-known passion for shopping for branded products. The Taiwan Economic Research Institute estimates that Chinese visitors could generate up to US$580m in annual retail sales in Taiwan.

"If the Chinese come, we will open several new retail outlets in Taipei and other cities," says Ku Kuo-hua, a tea farmer from central Taiwan who grows the Formosa Oolong variety.

It is interesting to juxtapose the dreams of wealth mentioned in this article with one earlier this week on Chinese tourists and Kinmen from the Taipei Times:

Unfortunately, the windfall of Chinese visitors originally expected from the opening of postal, transport and travel links with China's Fujian province has failed to materialize.

Politicians point to problems in policy that have hobbled the development of the island's tourism industry, but local business leaders say economic factors are also to blame.

Who will opening up links benefit? There might be a boost from Chinese tourists. But I suspect that it will be much smaller than everyone expects.

UPDATE: 11/3 The BBC notes that MAC says it "regrets" the protests....

It said the government respected freedom of speech, but noted that the delegation had been formally invited to Taiwan by a private tourism association, and this had been approved by the government.

It said the delegates were guests in Taiwan and should be treated accordingly.

Yes, well, when our "guests" stop pointing missiles at us......


Carr said...

Wasn't Taiwan blocked from entering the South Pacific Tourism Organization just few days ago by China?

Now China wants to help Taiwanese tourism? I don't quite get it

Sun Bin said...

kinmen is not a good example. it is not taiwan, it does not have any worthwhile sight points.

luxury goods, i am not so sure, it is a lot cheaper in HK than in Taiwan. but defnitely pineapple cake and dried beef.

2 major obstacles for large volume of tourists

1. how did (Or easy) the procedure for travel permit is given?
2. direct flight (so most likely it would be bundled trip, that makes luxury goods even less attractivve in taiwan)

south pacific.
-- the target is diplomatic break-in. it is 'business as usual'

Michael Chang said...

I just find the notion of sending a minister to inspect if the sights in Taiwan worthy of Chinese tourists funny. Wouldn’t the Chinese and Taiwanese be better served if the minister is here to discuss with immigration agency about issuing visa, travel documentation, boarder check and bunch other traveling procedural stuff? Now, Mr. Shao will go back to Beijing and issue travel advisory about too many ROC flags in Taipei CKS Memorial.
I have to say that tourism in Taiwan has lost its focus. In the last few years, tourism industry and officials always pin their hope on less restricted visa issuance and promotional campaign to boost tourist industry. Somehow, the expected increase in tourists failed to materialize. The number of people who visit Taiwan for pleasure remains a flat 40% of total visitors with no noticeable increase in the last year. Some of those are probably stop over with another destination. Will opening up for another group of travelers do the trick? I don’t know. But I know I will do more domestic travel if metal skin shacks is removed from Sun Moon Lake, if bus depots are built near all train stations, or if Tainan downtown area becomes more pedestrian friendly. Improving the development and management of destinations will draw crowd; making it easy to go to bad destinations won’t.

Anonymous said...

But I know I will do more domestic travel if metal skin shacks is removed from Sun Moon Lake, if bus depots are built near all train stations, or if Tainan downtown area becomes more pedestrian friendly.

Man, that is just so dead-on right. I cringed last week when I took my aunt and uncle to Sun Moon lake and the shacks were there.