Uptick in China-Taiwan travel gives little signal on cross-Strait relations

Financial Times
22 September 2017

“Comparing inbound tourism from August 2016 to August 2017 is too small a sample to draw broader conclusions about changing trends in cross-Strait relations or China’s state management of outbound tourism,” said Ian Rowen, a professor at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and an expert in cross-Strait tourism. He noted that the numbers for August 2016 may have been pushed lower because of a bus crash a month earlier, which killed 24 Chinese tourists…
… Mr Rowen said Chinese tourist arrival numbers are “extremely difficult to confirm with any certainty”. “Some of the ‘independent tourists’ may be group tourists whose China-based travel agents found it easier to apply for independent tourist passes after China’s government implemented widely-reported cuts to group tourism,” he said. Still, growth in independent tourism is “probably a good thing for Taiwan, as its financial benefits are likelier to be more widely distributed and social impacts on particular destinations more easily absorbed,” Mr Rowen said.

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