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PRC tourists not welcome in southern Taiwan town

PRC tourists not welcome in southern Taiwan town

Residents of Sizihwan Bay in Kaohsiung have had enough and are ready to blockade their own city to save it from being overrun by mainland Chinese tourists. The small town, which occasionally sees visits by up to 4000 tourist in convoys of buses, is a highlight on the itinerary of many Chinese tours, but residents say that can’t take much more of the traffic congestion and disorder that the crowds bring.

The local government has already proposed a number of measures designed to improve the situation such as limits on the number of tour buses and improved public transport, but residents complain that the measure are insufficient. They say that unless officials come up with better ways to keep out the hordes of tourists, they will take action themselves, including blocking off the streets if necessary to keep the crowds out
Sizihwan’s uneasiness comes just as the national government is planning to increase the number of Chinese tourists allowed to enter Taiwan. Beginning April 15 residents of an additional eleven cities in China including Haikou, Hohhot and Lanzhou will be allowed to apply for individual permits to visit the island.

The Kaohsiung Municipal Government in Kaoshiung has tried to discourage the residents of Sizihwan from taking any action unilaterally, saying that such actions could impact tourism throughout all of southern Taiwan. Hearing that warning, spokesmen for local residents say such a result is precisely what locals would like to achieve.

A total of 1.18 million Chinese tourists visited Taiwan last year on individual travel permits last year, more than double the number recorded in 2013 and the highest since the restriction were removed in June 2011.

The Sizihwan controversy is just one of a number of signs that nerves in areas across Taiwan are wearing thin under the onslaught of increasing busloads of noisy and often pushy tourists from China. Recent reports have suggested that crime rates are up along with highest levels of tourists, there have been many reports of traffic incidents and run-ins with Taiwanese, complaints about tourists carving messages into green leaves and the like, and in 2013 a group of Chinese tourists beat and kicked a Taiwanese man who asked them not to litter while they were visiting Alishan National Park.

Updated : 2021-05-16 22:45 GMT+08:00