Taiwan’s pro-Beijing mayors spur hopes of Chinese tourist boom

Tsai’s re-election bid at risk as new local leaders seek closer mainland ties

Nikkei Asian Review
Date: January 13, 2019
By: Cheng Ting Fang and Lauly Li, Nikkei staff writers

A tourist in the southern Taiwan city of Kaohsiung (photo by Cheng Ting-fang)

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan — Hotelier PK Yang Cheng-chen rode a tourism boom for nearly a decade, thanks to a stream of wealthy Chinese visitors. But his business plans began to unravel after President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016.

“Demand fell off a cliff over the past two years,” Yang told the Nikkei Asian Review. “Most of my local hotel peers are losing money and are even considering exiting the business.”

Beijing responded to the election of Tsai — from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party — by taking measures such as withholding visas to hurt Taiwan’s economy. Chinese visitors to the island have almost halved, forcing Yang to put up for sale two of his three hotels in Taiwan’s south.

But another political twist has put the entrepreneur’s selling plans on hold.

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