22 Jan '17, 3am

Playing politics? Chinese tourism under scrutiny as Lunar New Year nears

Playing politics? Chinese tourism under scrutiny as Lunar New Year nears

SHANGHAI/BEIJING: With 6 million Chinese tourists expected to travel abroad over the Lunar New Year break, China's Jan. 27 to Feb. 2 holiday is crucial for Taiwan tour agency operator Li Chi-yueh, who relies on mainland visitors for a third of his revenue. But Li's hopes are not high this year, after the number of mainland tourists plummeted 36 percent since President Tsai Ing-wen took power in May. Though Tsai says Taiwan wants peace with China, Beijing suspects she seeks formal independence. "China uses its sightseeing tourists as a diplomatic weapon," said Li, owner of Taipei-based Chung Shin Travel Service, who has been representing Taiwan's tour operators to lobby Tsai to improve ties with Beijing. "There's a lot of concern that the industry won't survive if we carry on like this." The concern is not confined to Taiwan - tour operators and government officials elsewhe...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/playing-p...

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