Dilemma of Chinese tourist tourism: a political economy business model

By J.Fan

Many experts and the public are concerned over the boost in the number of Chinese tourists would only benefits large tourism companies and the monopoly in one-stop service offers by restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops that are invested by mainland Chinese.

The nongovernmental organization Citizen of the Earth pointed out that the Bureau of Tourism needs to face the problem of monopoly, crowding out effect, zero tour group fees, affects on local communities and the environmental impacts. The increased population of Chinese tourists might strain the local environment, raise national security concerns and augmented the exploitation of the labor force in the tourism industry, which in turns affect the local communities and decrease the quality of tourism.

In recent years, there are more protests in the local communities regarding the increase in the number of Chinese tourists. A famous tourism location in Hualien, Mukumugi was shut down by the local community for almost a year as the traffic, pollution and large crowd of tourists have seriously affected their living quality. Citizen of the Earth said there should be policies to control the tourist number and to raise the average spending credit instead of allowing an unlimited number of Chinese tourists. Tourism resources are not completely public goods. It will create crowding out effect when the market is saturated.

Furthermore, the opening of solo Chinese travelers could also create more national security concerns. A military base of National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) expressed their difficulties in combating Chinese tourists who use drones and digital cameras to snoop around the military base. The staff at the military base said there were a case that a Chinese tourist took pictures of the staffs who were wearing the NCSIST‘s uniform while they were dining around the base, reported the Liberty Times. The incidents of Chinese tourists spying the military bases in Taiwan are not uncommon.

Quantity and quality are both fundamental to the well-being and development of tourism. Taiwan is a beautiful island country but ill-constructed and short-sighted tourism policies that focus only on the quantity and neglects the impacts of overcrowding could hinder the future of Taiwan’s tourism.

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