Tai­wan elec­tions could hurt tourism

But no mat­ter the out­come of Jan­uary’s vote, pos­i­tive ‘ex­ist­ing ex­changes won’t stop’

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - By PENG YINING pengyin­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Tourism from the main­land to Tai­wan could slow, as Tai­wan is in a “spe­cial and sen­si­tive time” ahead of Jan­uary’s elec­tions, a spokesman for the Tai­wan Af­fairs Of­fice of the State Coun­cil said at Wed­nes­day’s reg­u­lar news brief­ing.

Main­land tour groups will con­sider their own in­ter­ests, and tourists to Tai­wan will con­sider the cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment, spokesman An Feng­shan said. Re­fer­ring to sim­i­lar oc­ca­sions in the past, An said pol­i­tics can have var­ied ef­fects upon the de­sire of main­land tourists to visit Tai­wan.

“The at­mos­phere in so­ci­ety has been highly politi­cized,” said An, who made his de­but as the of­fice’s spokesman, its sixth since reg­u­lar brief­ings be­gan in 2000. Hu added that the main­land hoped for the sta­ble de­vel­op­ment of tourism to Tai­wan and de­sired that tourists’ rights can be “paid at­ten­tion to and guar­an­teed”.

On Oct 17, Tai­wan’s rul­ing Kuom­intang re­placed deputy leg­isla­tive speak­erHung Hsi­uchu with KMT Chair­man Eric Chu in the is­land’s lead­er­ship elec­tion. Hung was nom­i­nated on July 19 as the KMT can­di­date but has been lag­ging be­hind Tsai Ing-wen, chair­woman of the op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party in polls.

The change rip­pled the is­land’s po­lit­i­cal wa­ters and made both the elec­tion and cross-Straits re­la­tions af­ter­ward more un­pre­dictable, ac­cord­ing to Zhu Songling, a pro­fes­sor at the In­sti­tute of Tai­wan Stud­ies at Bei­jing Union Univer­sity.

“No mat­ter who is elected even­tu­ally, the ex­ist­ing ex­changes across the straits won’t stop,” said Zhu, re­fer­ring to the cur­rent co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two sides in­many fields, in­clud­ing tourism, cul­ture and econ­omy.

“Once the door is open and peo­ple are ben­e­fit­ing from ex­changes, it is very hard to close it,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the Tai­wan Af­fairs Of­fice, more than 9.4 mil­lion peo­ple made trips be­tween the main­land and Tai­wan last year — a record high and a year-on-year in­crease of 16.5 per­cent.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the num­ber of tourists from the main­land who vis­ited Tai­wan soared to 3.22 mil­lion last year, a yearon-year in­crease of 47 per­cent, it said.

By the end of this year, Chen Dem­ing, pres­i­dent of the main­land-based As­so­ci­a­tion for Re­la­tions Across the Tai­wan Straits, will visit Tai­wan for sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy ex­changes, ac­cord­ing to the of­fice. He will visit Tai­wan’s ma­jor sci­ence parks, com­pa­nies and busi­ness in­cu­ba­tors.

“The main­land and Tai­wan have be­come an in­te­gral whole with a com­mon destiny,” Zhang Zhi­jun, the main­land’s Tai­wan af­fairs chief, said at a meet­ing with An­drew Hsia, his coun­ter­part from Tai­wan, in Guangzhou on Oct 15.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.