Friday, May 13, 2016

The Tourism Numbers: Do they tell Reuters' story?

Cyclists on the ocean in Miaoli.

Reuters, currently vying with BBC and AFP for the top spot in the Xinhua 2.0 sweepstakes, says ZOMG TOURISTS ARE BEING CUT:
Now the Chinese tourists who visit Taiwan - 4.2 million last year - have become the focus of discord.

The number fell 10 percent on month to 363,878 in March, according to Taiwan's Tourism Bureau.

That is still up on a year ago, but those who service the visitors, including the bus companies that shuttle tour groups around, say they are feeling the pinch.

"Chinese tourists took about 4,000 tour buses a month this time around last year, but now it's only 2,800," said Lu Shiao-ya, chief of the National Joint Association of Tourist Buses.

"China is using its tourists as a bargaining chip against Taiwan's new government," he added.
I wondered about this, because I checked the numbers the other day. Here are the numbers for Jan-Mar from the English site (Chinese here, says same thing 中國大陸36萬3,878人次(30.09%)):
MAR: 1. Mainland China accounted for 363,878 or 35.17% of the total, up 30.09%, consisting of 3,552 foreign visitors, up 13.99%, and 360,326 Overseas Chinese, up 30.28%.
FEB: 1. Mainland China accounted for 405,307 or 44.05% of the total, down 0.23%, consisting of 3,385 foreign visitors, down 12.89%, and 401,922 Overseas Chinese, down 0.11%.
JAN 1. Mainland China accounted for 366,409 or 42.31% of the total, up 13.98%, consisting of 2,731 foreign visitors, up 6.72%, and 363,678 Overseas Chinese, up 14.04%.
Note that after the election of the horrible tension inducing democracy supporting Tsai Ing-wen,  who provokes poor helpless China by her mere existence, tourist numbers rose more than 10% from Jan to Feb of 2016.  Moreover, compared to last year, the tourist masses from China continue unabated, with a 30% rise YOY.

Oh yeah, Hong Kong and Macao:
MARCH 2016 3.Hong Kong and Macao, 164,894 or 15.94%, up 44.05%, consisting of 12,191 foreign visitors, up 28.08%, and 152,703 Overseas Chinese, up 45.49%.

FEB 2016: 3. Hong Kong and Macao, 114,431 or 12.44%, up 17.71%, consisting of 8,560 foreign visitors, down 8.5%, and 105,871 Overseas Chinese, up 20.5%.

JAN 2016: 3.Hong Kong and Macao, 93,448 or 10.79%, up 25.77%, consisting of 8,198 foreign visitors, down 4.44%, and 85,250 Overseas Chinese, up 29.71%.
Yup: Hong Kong and Macao tourism rise actually offset the China proper fall. That fact didn't fit Reuters' narrative, I guess...

Moreover, it's not difficult to find similar variation in last year's numbers:
APR 2015: 1.Mainland China accounted for 358,798 or 40.4% of the total, down 4.88%, consisting of 3,351 foreign visitors, down 6.79%, and 355,447 Overseas Chinese, down 4.86%.

MAY 2015: 1. Mainland China accounted for 372,766 or 43.03% of the total, up 11.66%, consisting of 3,091 foreign visitors, down 2.37%, and 369,675 Overseas Chinese, up 11.79%.

JUN: 2015: Mainland China accounted for 308,087 or 38.5% of the total, down 2.25%, consisting of 3,497 foreign visitors, up 2.01%, and 304,590 Overseas Chinese, down 2.29%.

JUL 2015: 1. Mainland China accounted for 352,625 or 42.32% of the total, up 2.59%, consisting of 3,092 foreign visitors, up 2.86%, and 349,533 Overseas Chinese, up 2.59%.

AUG 2015: Mainland China accounted for 367,736 or 41.12% of the total, up 17.66%, consisting of 3,438 foreign visitors, down 0.2%, and 364,298 Overseas Chinese, up 17.86%.

SEPT 2015: 1.Mainland China accounted for 345,243 or 41.23% of the total, up 1.03%, consisting of 3,252 foreign visitors, up 4.06%, and 341,991 Overseas Chinese, up 1%.

OCT 2015: 1. Mainland China accounted for 386,663 or 41.71% of the total, up 11.18%, consisting of 3,078 foreign visitors, up 1.89%, and 383,585 Overseas Chinese, up 11.26%.

NOV 2015: 1. Mainland China accounted for 357,655 or 38.07% of the total, up 7.56%, consisting of 3,035 foreign visitors, up 4.51%, and 354,620 Overseas Chinese, up 7.59%.
There was a huge drop from May to June, and a nearly 10% fall from October to November. Despite the quotes, this may simply be seasonal/market variation.

Note that while Reuters has this quote:
"The National Tourism Administration told us in February and March to cut the number of tourists we send to Taiwan," an agent in the coastal city of Xiamen, which lies across the strait from Taiwan, told Reuters. reality, the number of tourists rose from Jan to Feb and fell only 0.23% YOY.

As always, it should be noted that (1) Taiwan loses money on stingy Chinese tourists; (2) most people would be delighted to see a drop in their numbers; and (3) overall tourism is rising, something Reuters omits. For Jan-Mar the Tourism Bureau observes:
I. A total of 2,820,815 visitors arrived in the Republic of China from January through March this year, up 389,769 or 16.03% from the 2,431,046 in the same period last year. The arrivals included 1,345,993 foreign visitors and 1,474,822 Overseas Chinese. Compared with last year, the number of foreign visitors increased by 176,207 or 15.06%, and the number of Overseas Chinese visitors increased by 213,562 or 16.93%.
We don't even need those Chinese tourists, and the only people suffering are the fools who geared themselves to service that market.
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Anonymous said...

Just say "China" instead of "Mainland China". So, seems the only way to reduce the number of tourists from China is to restrict the monthly visas step by step.

Anonymous said...

Many Chinese your groups in the past were certainly low budget but according to this report average daily spending by Chinese tourists is now greater than Japanese tourist spending.

Michael Turton said...

Haha. Those numbers are bullshit government numbers from surveys of tourists. An AP report year ago, along with other data, shows that real spending by Chinese tourists is less than half that figure.

Everything from China is a cheat. The whole nation should simply be blacklisted.

Meursault said...

I was in Alishan during April. Judging from the hordes of people screaming in my hotel corridor at 2am in the morning and again at 5am, I can safely say there still seems to be plenty of Mainland tourists.

I never even ended up going up the mountain after the amount of loutish behaviour I saw in my hotel in Fenqihu. Rather than get annoyed with no escape, I decided to stay in my room with 6 cans of Taiwan Gold Label instead. It was delightfully quiet while they were all out.

stanluca said...

Thank you for publishing this. I hope more people analyze the data like you do instead of just reading sensationalized newspaper headlines.