Thursday, July 21, 2016

The politics of delusion: Tourism Gains from China

Getting an oil change.

Tourists from China fell month to month and year on year again in June...

May 327,254
June 271,478

Hong Kong and Macao tourists rose, however...

May 125,302
June 143,276

Overall tourists fell as well, from 882K in May to 817K in June. That's more serious, than the always political and always transient flow of territorial imperatives from China. Note that the fall in Chinese tourists has made Hong Kong tourism equal to more than half of all China.

The dramatic news of a bus fire that killed 24 tourists from China and two Taiwanese overshadowed another reminder that Chinese tourism is a massive loser for Taiwan. The Taipei Times reported that one Kenting restaurant has banned Chinese tour groups:
As a growing number of travel agencies that cater to Chinese tourists find themselves in debt, restaurant owner Wu Po-min (吳柏旻) said he hopes to draw individual foreign and Taiwanese tourists, rather than undercutting offerings for tour groups and lowering standards.

“Bringing annual losses of nearly NT$1 million [US$31,260], Chinese tourists are poison wrapped in honey,” Wu said. “When Taiwan was first opened up to Chinese tourists, business appeared to be great. Every day there would be bus after bus of tourists parked outside. It was an endless stream of traffic and, for a time, lots of money was made.”

“However, in recent years travel agencies have been settling bills on a monthly basis — the nightmare has begun for many restaurants that depend on tourism,” he added.

Large travel agencies often transport busloads of tourists to restaurants for a commission, but in the past couple of years, as these agencies have started going bankrupt, they have been leaving as much as NT$1 million in unpaid restaurant bills, Wu said.

Bankruptcies have been occurring all over Taiwan, with proprietors generally forced to absorb unpaid bills themselves, he said.
This problem has been ongoing for years, with the media reporting that Chinese travel firms are not remanding monies to local firms. The "gains" that the media reports come from the Ma government's surveys of tourists at airports, asking them what they spent. Not reliable data, as the media has shown many times over the years. The numbers are inflated, and even the lower and more rational numbers were still too high, because of the unpaid debts to local businesses: the alleged money never actually arrives. Chinese tourists also do not pay their medical debts -- up to US$31 million worth.

Luckily some netizens gave us some comic relief, posting mocking ads that said that advertized that Taiwan's famous tourism sites were once again enjoyable as Chinese tour groups were no longer visiting...
The online ads, with Mandarin, English and Japanese headlines, say that the quality of tourism at popular scenic spots such as Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) in Nantou County and Alishan (阿里山) in Chiayi County has improved as a result of a decline in the number of Chinese tourists.
The drop in Chinese tourists will benefit Taiwan in the long run.

Beijing's cut in tourists is a tactic that benefits Beijing, since outbound tourism is an import. Beijing could be hurting Taiwan businessmen in China, or refusing to trade, or doing something serious. Instead, it has chosen harmless symbolic actions that are good for China -- and probably for Taiwan as well.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's why Shanghai Disneyland is so awesome. Now PRC tourists can stay home.