Premier Lin Chuan (??) reaffirmed Tuesday that all visitors to Taiwan are welcome, in the wake of a Facebook post by Minister without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (???) that Chinese visitors are Taiwan's most-needed friends.
Lin, commenting on Chang's remarks, said that "we welcome all those who come to Taiwan. We hope that they will be impressed by Taiwan's beauty and the hospitality of the people."
"We do not differentiate where our visitors come from," the premier said. "We welcome all of them, treat them with hospitality and hope that they will leave with fond memories."
Ha reiterated that the stance of the Cabinet, which is that "a policy will not be unveiled through a minister without portfolio's Facebook page or personal Facebook page.
Cabinet spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (???) said a day earlier that Chang's comment was "his personal view and did not represent the stance of the government."
Chang, who is also the convener of a Cabinet committee that promotes tourism, called on Taiwan's free-wheeling netizens in a Sunday Facebook post to stop making detrimental posts such as "Taiwan is getting fresh air again now that the mainland tourist presence is much reduced."
Chang said that last year, Taiwan saw a record of 4.18 million visitor arrivals from mainland China.
The booming business generated revenue of almost NT$200 billion (US$6.3 billion) that supported over 200 travel agencies, 4,000 tour buses, and 900 hotels, employing numerous workers, who have been taking to the streets to demand government help since Beijing began to curtail the flow of Chinese tourists to Taiwan.
But he said it is sad to see some tour guides attempting to kill themselves and bus owners being extorted by loan sharks, even though those in the tourism industry are partly to blame for the current problems.
Chang said that Taiwanese should be aware that there is a difference between the government of China and the people of China.
Visitors from China are "Taiwan's most-needed friends ... and the Taiwan public should not discriminate against them through careless words or actions," Chang wrote. "If the majority of Chinese develop an antipathy toward Taiwan, Taiwan will be in real danger, in my view."
Meanwhile, Chang Hsiao-yueh (???), minister of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), also said Tuesday that the government's long-standing policy and stance has been to welcome mainland Chinese visitors.
Such visits can enhance exchanges between the peoples on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, reduce misunderstandings, and increase friendship, she said.
"Their visits are very positive," Chang Hsiao-yueh said.
She said that Taiwan has good tourism resources, but is facing a transformation.
The MAC and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, as well as local governments, will work together to provide mainland Chinese tourists with high quality tourism, she said.
She also said that the number of Chinese visitors has indeed decreased recently, and she expressed her hope that political factors will stop being used to affect tourist arrivals.
Taiwan will continue to promote tourism, and welcome visitors from China, as well as other places, she said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel