The magistrate of Changhua County in central Taiwan has opened his arms to Chinese travelers, saying Wednesday that he welcomes their visits.
Wei Ming-ku (???) said the recent sharp drop in the number of Chinese visitors to Taiwan has not affected the tourism sector in his county, because Changhua attracts more tourists for its cultural attractions than for its natural beauty.
Most Chinese visitors to Taiwan prefer tours to the scenic Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County and Alishan in Chiayi County, Wei said, noting that the foreigners who visit Changhua's tourist attractions, such as Lukang Township, come mostly from Japan.
"Our mountains are not as high as theirs (foreign visitors), and the sea water is not so clear as theirs. Tours in Changhua County are all culture oriented," Wei said. As a result, the decline in the number of Chinese tourists has posed relatively little impact on his county, he said.
Asked if he welcomes visits by Chinese people, Wei, a member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said that, like Minister without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (???), he shares the attitude of not treating Chinese visitors as enemies. "We can be friends," he said.
"Government business belongs to government, and civil sector business belongs to the civil sector," Wei said. "We welcome Chinese visitors, and will not discriminate against them."
Chang has recently sparked heated debate with a recent Facebook post, in which he wrote that "Chinese visitors are Taiwan's most-needed friends," in response to a slew of anti-Chinese posts by local netizens.
The post was then described by Cabinet spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (???) as purely a personal view of Chang himself.
Tung's statement, however, angered the travel and tourism sector in Taiwan, which is struggling to cope with a business slowdown resulting form the sharp drop in the number of Chinese visitors since May, when the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took the helm of the government under President Tsai Ing-wen (???).
Since the new government took office May 20, there has been a 30 percent decline year-on-year in the number of Chinese tourists arriving on group tours to Taiwan. In July alone, Chinese visitor numbers were down 15.03 percent year-on-year, after falling about 12 percent in May and June, according to Tourism Bureau data.
Members of 11 tourism-related trade associations have decided to take to the streets Sept. 12 to demand a better business environment from the government.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel