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Taiwan's silence devastates tourism

By Luo Wangshu | China Daily | Updated: 2016-09-15 08:14

Taiwan authorities' apparent unwillingness to endorse the 1992 Consensus has seriously affected the island's tourism and hospitality industry, the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office said on Wednesday.

At a recent rally, tourism workers in Taiwan "clearly voiced their hopes and desires", said Ma Xiaoguang, from the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, at a news conference. "Taiwan's government has refused to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus since taking office in May. This has damaged all the hard work toward peaceful relations across the Taiwan Straits," he said. "Whoever started the trouble should end it."

More than 15,000 hospitality and tourism workers in Taiwan took to the streets in downtown Taipei on Monday, demanding the island's authorities do something about the failing industry.

The decline in tourism is having critical consequences on Taiwan's economy and people's livelihoods, said Zhu Songling, director of Beijing Union University's Institute of Cross-Straits Relations.

"Now they are protesting, and if the situation continues, more people will lose their jobs. Authorities have to do something to turn around the unemployment. In addition, many people took out loans to invest in their business. If they cannot continuously earn money, they cannot pay off their debt. To solve the problem, the authorities may print more money, which will create a more critical problem - inflation disrupting Taiwan's economic system," Zhu added.

"Authorities in Taiwan poorly handled the recent bus fire incident that killed 24 tourists from the mainland, which has discouraged many mainlanders from visiting the island," said Liu Xiangping, head of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at Nanjing University.

The number of mainland visitors has plummeted since Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen took office in May. According to the island's authorities, the number of mainland tourists visiting the island in group tours has declined by about 30 percent year-on-year in the period from May through July.

Xinhua contributed to the story.

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