Taiwan looks to offset China’s travel curb

President Tsai Ing-wen says Beijing dreads mainlanders seeing a presidential election in a democratic society

Asia Times
Date: August 4, 2019

A mainland tourist takes pictures of Taiwanese flags in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei. Photo: Facebook

Taiwanese authorities have rushed to dole out assurance and economic aid to travel agencies, hostels and malls catering to mainland Chinese tourists, after Beijing abruptly announced a moratorium on an individual visit scheme until after the island’s presidential election in January.

China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Wednesday banned 47 mainland cities from issuing new permits for individual tourists who plan to visit Taiwan, meaning mainlanders can only join guided tours to the self-ruled island.

It is estimated that Taiwan may receive 500,000 to 700,000 less tourists from China in the next six months.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters on Thursday that she had already instructed departments in charge of tourism, transportation and economy to prepare a contingency plan for any travel ban by Beijing “months ago.” She said it was not the first time that Beijing had stopped its people from flocking to the island, out of the fear of mainlanders seeing with their own eyes the cut and thrust of a presidential election and how a genuine democracy works.    [FULL  STORY]

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